GROUNDED IN FAITH – GROWING TO SERVE
A capital campaign of Zion Lutheran Church 2017-2027

MISSION

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.

 

VISION:  SHEPHERDING THE SPIRITUAL WELL BEING              OF THE COMMUNITY

Zion believes God’s word from Matthew, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden……..in 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. 

 

OUR NEED

 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.

EPSON MFP image

OUR HISTORY 

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.

SERVING THE COMMUNITY
 

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.

GOVERNANCE

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.

 

ENDOWMENT

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.

OUR GOALS

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

 

BUDGET FOR THE CAMPAIGN

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

HOW YOU CAN HELP

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 p[ledage form here.
 

IN RECOGNITION OF YOUR SUPPORT

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

IN SUMMARY

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.