Capital Region Scrapbook: Zion Lutheran celebrating 140 years, continued growth (with photo gallery)
Faith and fellowship have been part of Schenectady’s Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church for 140 years now.
The church on Nott Terrace put down roots on March 17, 1872. That was the day members of the Schenectady German Methodist Church met on Jay Street to hear a service by Pastor J.C. Severinghaus, a Lutheran minster from Oswego. The story goes that the group, wishing to re-establish its Lutheran identity, thought the time had come to form their own church — separate from the German Methodist.
Their church became Evangelical Lutheran Zion Church of Schenectady and was first situated on Jay Street. The parish moved to its current location on Nott Terrace in 1887.
Church officials changed the name to Zion Evangelical in 1941.
Pastors have come and stayed, parishioners have come and stayed. The church, which still has many Germans among its 1,200 members, has expanded and undergone renovations over the years.
‘Strong and healthy’
Ceremonies and events to mark Zion’s anniversary are ongoing.
Bishop David Benke of New York City, current president of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) said the homily for Zion’s 140th anniversary service on March 18. Zion members participated in a dinner-dance Friday night at the Waters Edge Lighthouse in Glenville. Church members are also collecting pictures of members’ weddings, baptisms and confirmations this year.
Senior Pastor Shawn Dugan, who arrived at Zion as assistant pastor with emphasis on youth work in 1995, said the church plans to increase its presence in the Schenectady community. One project will happen soon — Zion men, women and children will do landscaping work at the City Mission.
“We’re strong and we’re healthy and we see a great future,” Dugan said. “We’re solid.”