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. Zion’s current facility, located on Dutch Hill in Tamaqua’s historic district, 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 serious need of the same repair. The cost of the repairs is expensive but the improved quality of repair/restoration materials available today makes the investment a prudent one.
Without the repairs, the building will continue to deteriorate and eventually become useless. If that were to happen, Tamaqua would 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 was originally budgeted in our campaign to improve Zion parking, but building restoration has become the focus of the campaign.
The Church borrowed $128,000 from the Zion Endowment Fund in September 2016 to begin 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 which was repaid in 18 months through pledge contributions.
Work on the chime tower was completed in the summer of 2019 at a cost of $175,000. Again funds were borrowed from the Endowment Fund and repaid in December 2022.
The next phase of the project involves the bell tower and stained glass window area between the two towers at an estimated cost of $388,000.
The final phase of this project involves the upper area on Mauch Chunk Street beyond the chime tower at an estimated cost of $177,000.
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 structurally sound but must be repaired/restored now in order to remain sound.
The Church can borrow money from the Zion Endowment Fund provided that members and the Tamaqua community are willing to make financial commitments to the project.
You can help by making a financial pledge to the Capital Campaign. Also, you can help by making cash contributions to the Campaign as one-time gifts or in honor or memory of loved ones.
One-time gifts of $1,000 or more and those pledging to the campaign will have their names engraved on leaves on a giving tree located permanently in Zion’s Gathering Room.
We have been given a magnificent building which provides the space for Zion’s ministries to impact its members, the neighborhood and the community. We are repairing the most beautiful building in Tamaqua so we can continue to expand our ability to be God’s hands and feet in our ever changing 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.