“Grounded in faith. Growing to serve”
Download a gift form here
Make an electronic donation here
Capital Campaign brochure

Dave Fetterman: “Commitment to mission”

Deb Davies: “What can I do?”

Ernie Henritz: “An important part of my family.”

Marlin Tirpak: “We have a place for you”

Sandy Mehalko: “With God’s help, we can do it”

Pastor Cindy White: ‘Be a part of this excellent project”

Jim Edwards: “What do you want to be remembered for?”

Pastor Cindy White & Jim Edwards sing a duet on Commitment Weekend

Vision Sunday sermon, February 24, 2019

Capital Campaign Trunk or Treat

A capital campaign of Zion Lutheran Church 2017-2027
(April 21, 2019)
Good news! We’ve reached the half-way point of our capital campaign: $500,000 in gifts and pledges have been received.
Phase II of the project – restoration of the chime tower-began the week of April 8. Louvered panels will also be installed in the tower windows limiting eliminating the rain water that typically blows into the structure. Phase II cost is approximately $228,000.
(March 27, 2019)

COMMITMENT WEEKEND (March 23-24, 2019) The following contributions to the Capital Campaign were made during Commitment Weekend Based on a total of 62 responses; this is what Zion can expect to receive from its members over the next 5-year period.

  • 19 new pledges for $42,150.00
  • 17 members increased their pledge amounts by $72,450
  • Sunday School Dimes: $184.10
  • 22 members who said that they would continue with their previous commitment (no increase) 
  • 4 members said they were not able to contribute at this time

Request letters and Campaign Commitment Forms have been mailed to all members of Zion who have not already made a commitment to the campaign.  Additional brochures and commitment forms are available on tables in the Gather Room and in Fellowship Hall and online. Upon completion, forms can be returned to Melody in the church office. Individuals can also make an online contribution through the EGIVING.

(April, 1, 2018)

We have almost reached the one year marker of our capital campaign drive. We celebrate your generosity and sacrifice with the good news that we have paid back one half of our loan from the endowment fund. In one year, we have returned $64,000.00 to the fund, having originally borrowed $128,000.00. Thank you for your continued giving and support to maintain and repair our church building.
Please know that the committee continues its work to prepare grant requests from outside sources. Those grant requests need to see that we are dedicated to helping ourselves as well, and with this milestone repayment, we can show our commitment to the project.
About onequarter of the exterior restoration has been completed. The Greenwood Street side of the church from the corner tower to the parsonage was completed at a cost of $158,000. The MauchChunk Street side of the church from the chime (second) tower to the end of the front will cost approximately $149,000. Restoring the towers will cost $500,000.
Our giving tree in the Gathering Room, now has the first set of engraved leaves in place. If you have given or pledged $1,000.00 or more, please be sure you have returned the paper to the office or to Sandy Mehalko, so your leaf can be engraved as well.
Finally, did you know that by giving only $2.00 a week over ten years, you can make a $1,000.00 pledge?

In this Easter season, when we know we have been given eternal life by the sacrifice that our Lord made for us, will you please prayerfully consider making a pledge to enable Zion to continue its ministry? Thank you.

God’s help, we can do it”


Zion proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament as Gospel messengers in the community.  We seek to be instruments through which God transforms lives and strengthens relationships.



Zion believes God’s word from Matthew, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…… order to let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven”, we  must  ensure the safety of our building to serve all people. 



 Since its birth in 1876, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church has been a vital part of the Tamaqua community, providing valuable services to the spiritual and social needs of our area and beyond.  Located on Dutch Hill, adjacent to one of Tamaqua’s historic districts, Zion presents a beautiful, imposing building which can be seen from every section of the community.  However, Zion needs to correct a building materials flaw.  Molded “stone” trim around windows and doors and a cornice for the entire building has been deteriorating for many years.  The crumbling concrete is unsightly, dangerous from falling debris, and causing deterioration to interior walls.  The Church borrowed from its endowment to repair the west wall.  The two towers and the south wall are in very serious need of the same repair.  The cost of the repairs is very expensive but the improved quality of repair/restoration materials available today makes the investment a prudent one.  Without the repairs, the building will become useless and will need to be abandoned and demolished.  If that happens, Tamaqua will lose one of its most beautiful buildings as well as an institution which is moving the community forward.

The church building was built at a time when most members were able to walk to services and events.  That is not the case today.  Most people who attend services and events drive to the church.  Therefore, we need to develop improved parking for both members and guests.  Money is being requested in our campaign to improve parking for Zion.  Also, we believe that external lighting on the towers would enable the beauty of the structures to be seen at night and serve as a useful landmark.
Download the Capital Campaign Powerpoint presentation.



In 1875, following a split with the German speaking church, the Zion congregation moved to a structure on Dutch Hill that Lutherans had shared earlier with a Reform congregation. In 1901 the congregation purchased and renovated a building at the corner of Schuylkill Avenue and Mauch Chunk Street.

In 1916, plans began for the current structure at Greenwood and Mauch Chunk streets. Excavation began in 1925 under the watchful eyes of the Rev. Dr. George A. Gebert.  Three years later, the new church was dedicated in the midst of the Great Depression. “This is his [Gebert’s] dream fulfilled,” said a speaker at the dedication.

Poor economic times and World War II hindered the completion of the building. The congregation worshiped in the social hall in the ground floor for the next 20 years. By 1940, deterioration in the building’s cast stone had begun.

In 1944, Rev. Charles Schlitzer came to Zion and work resumed on completing the upstairs area of the church. In 1948 the magnificent sanctuary was dedicated. By 1960, debt on the structure had been liquidated.


Throughout the congregation’s history, its members have provided strong leadership in a wide variety of community and neighborhood organizations such as:

  • fire companies,
  • playground associations,
  • sports booster clubs,
  • civic and service clubs including the Lions, Elks, Rotary, Business and Profession Women and the Historical Society.
  • school board and library board.
  • provided government leaders
  • six members became Citizens of the Year in Tamaqua

We have established community outreach activities as the need arose, such as: 

  • the Meals on Wheels program in Tamaqua
  • the community’s first youth soccer program.
  • the Tamaqua Area Faith Fellowship Network, (TAFFN) a group of lay leaders from community congregations which sponsors the annual Community Advent Breakfast and the annual Hunger Walk. Recently it initiated Step-Up Tamaqua, citizens concerned about the local addiction issue.
  • hosts Baccalaureate services regularly
  • hosts Schuylkill County firemen’s memorial services regularly

Free meals are provided after Saturday evening communion services once a month and a free New Year’s Day pork and sauerkraut dinner is well-attended by the community. Twice-a-year Goods N Stuff rummage sales provide gently used, low-cost items for sale. Food collected several times a year is distributed to member families in need as well as food banks.  Events held for all the children in the community include Trunk or Treat Safe Halloween, Polar Express Family Pajama Party, an Easter Egg Hunt, and Vacation Bible School.


In addition to Zion’s commitment to community service, the congregation continues to provide an open, welcoming environment to members and non-member alike. Baptisms, weddings and burials have been performed without regard to membership status.


Zion Evangelical Lutheran is related to The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America through the Northeast Pennsylvania Synod.  The congregation holds annual meetings to approve budgets and major expenditures and to elect members to serve on a Church Council and an Endowment Committee.  The Council is composed of twelve members who meet monthly to conduct the business of the congregation in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Congregation.  The officers include: Frank Rudy, President, Jim McRoberts, Vice President, Dave Gensure, Treasure, Darlene Fetterman, Secretary, and Ann Marie Hadesty, Financial Secretary.  Other Council members are: Sam Caley, Paul Fegley, Ernie Henritzy, Bob Maue, Bonnie Painter, Tiffany Warden, and Gerry Zeigler.



The Church has an endowment Fund of $376,103 as of 12/31/16.  The fund is managed primarily by Oppenheimer under the direction of an Endowment Committee elected by the congregation.  The Church borrowed $128,000 from the Endowment Fund in September 2016 to fund restoration/repair of the west wall which was at that time desperately needed.  The total cost of that initial phase of construction was $158,000.  Except for earnings on the endowment investments, the principal may not be spent, except in case of financial exigency.


Currently we are in the process of conducting much needed renovations on our church.  Work has recently been completed on the Greenwood Street side to repair crumbling walls.  Repairs of the building structure need to continue to ensure the safety of the church and the people.

Cost of external building repair                                          $632,000

Cost of improved parking                                                      100,000

Cost of external lighting of towers                                           5,000

     Cost of loan amortization                                                       139,000

     Total Cost of Restoration and Improvements                    $876,000

Depending on the success of the campaign and the specifications and guidelines of some of the sources of funds, the project may need to be segmented or divided into phases.  They may be as follows:

  Phase 1 – Greenwood Street side (west wall) from parsonage to corner tower – $158,000 (completed)

            Phase 2 – Towers and gable area between towers – $500,000

            Phase 3 – Mauch Chunk Street from upper tower to end of façade – $100,000

            Parking lot – Purchase property, demolition, site preparation – $100,000



The Church plans to borrow $600,000 from the E.L.C.A Mission Investment Fund to pay back the money borrowed from our endowment.  The loan also would cover the remaining exterior work on the towers and the south wall of the building.  The Capital Campaign will cover the amortization of the MIF loan, parking improvements, and exterior lighting of the towers.  The Campaign Committee set the goal of the Campaign at $876,000.  The breakdown of the sources of the money is:

            Member gifts and memorials                                         $582,000

            Non-member gifts and memorials                                     54,000

            Foundations and external organizations                          200,000

            Zion organizations                                                               40,000       

 Ten Year Campaign Goal                                                   $876,000


The members of Zion have decided to rededicate its ministry and to stay in the building which is both beautiful and functional in support of the active ministry Zion provides for its members, the community of Tamaqua and beyond.  The building is very structurally sound but MUST be repaired/restored NOW in order to remain sound.  The Church can borrow money from the ELCA Mission Investment Fund provided that the members and the Tamaqua community are willing to make financial commitments to the project which are sufficient to repay the loan.

You can help by making a financial pledge to the Capital Campaign for ten years.  Also, you can help by making cash contributions to the Campaign as one-time gifts or in honor or memory of loved ones.

Please help.  Our future depends on it.
Download a pledge form here.
How to make pledges and gifts.


For a gift of:

  • $100,000 – Tower A
  • 100,000 – Tower B
  • 100,000 – Parking Lot
  • 50,000 – Founders Hall
  • 5,000 – Pews (each)
  • 5,000 – Giving Tree
One-time gifts of $1,000 or more and those pledging to the campaign for ten years will have their names engraved on leaves on a giving tree located permanently in the Gathering Room.

Capital Campaign Dinner – April 30, 2017


We have been given a building with the room for services of Word and Sacrament and rooms to hold mission and community events. We must repair the most beautiful building in Tamaqua in order to expand our ability to be God’s hands and feet in our ever changing community and world. In the words of the hymn by Samuel John Stone, “The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord”, our faith drives our commitment to repair, renew and grow to serve.