History of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

St. George, located one and one-half miles northwest of Edgeley, was only a trading center when the first German Lutherans came by ox carts to settle in this area.


A short time later the town of Edgeley was established and the railroad came through the town.  Growth, for a time, was rapid and St. George was abandoned.

As early as 1886, work among the Lutheran people was started by Pastor E.A. Bartling, who came to serve with word and sacrament.  Pastor Bartling journeyed from the near present Litchville to Edgeley. His time here was a short duration, as he left to serve another parish after two years of work.

Pastor A.F. Mundt of Albion Township worked among the Lutheran people of Edgeley and the church was officially organized as the Zion Luther Congregation on October 7, 1888.  This first congregation held their services in halls, homes, and schools.

The first resident pastor, W.H. Roerig, came to Edgeley in the year of 1894.  The following year, the first parsonage was built.  Pastor Roerig served the Edgeley congregation for two years.

It was in July 1901, the Rev. H.E. Vomhof was installed as pastor and several years later on July 11, 1904, the first church was dedicated to the Triune God.  Pastor Vomhof served the congregation for seventeen years.  All the services were in the German language so the children had to be taught to read and write in German before they could be confirmed.  These classes were held in the parsonage before the church was built.  His sister, Mrs. Gurney, assisted in teaching the classes.

In 1918 under Rev. W. Hilgendorf was pastor for a short time.  The Lord took him home before the year ended.  It was under his guidance that the Lutheran Ladies Aid was organized on August 19, 1918.

Pastor Paul Lueders came to the church during the spring of 1919.  Often at times, he would help on the farms to make his lving.  In 1920, on Pentecost Sunday, the present church bell was dedicated and the envelope system was introduced.  The Pastor's salary was $50.00 per month.

In 1924 Pastor Paul Ernst came to the church.  In 1926 regular morning English services were instituted and the Young People's Society was organized to later become affiliated with the Walther League.  The church also celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

In 1930 Pastor O.G. Tiemann came to Edgeley.  The Sunday School which had been a hit and miss affair, was reorganized in 1930 to be held every Sunday morning.  Under the leadership of the Sunday School superintendent and a willing and efficient teaching staff, the Sunday School soon outgrew its facilities.  In 1932 a basement was excavated under the first church to make room for the Sunday School and a church parlor.  The ladies borrowed $500 for this project.  Hoping to improve the music of the church, Pastor Tiemann organized the first Senior Choir of Zion Lutheran.

Pastor William Rueter came to serve the Zion Lutheran during the fall of 1937.  A year later, just as the congregation was about to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, the Lord took this young pastor to his eternal reward.

It was late in 1938 when Pastor M.J. Haerther began his seven year ministry in Edgeley, Jud, and LaMoure.  Under his leadership, the congregation made a forward stride in membership.  The average attendance in Sunday School that year was 117.

In 1941, a very large project was undertaken in the addition to the west side of the church and enlarging the basement.  Much of the labor was donated by the members.  Remodeling costs were $5200.00. Pastor's salary was raised to $100 per month. A regular Vacation Bible School was instructed in June and a parsonage building fund was started and grew to $4500.00. In 1944 the Ladies Aid joined the the Lutheran Women's Missionary League of the Missouri Synod.

The next pastor to serve the Edgeley-Jud parish was Rev. Edmund A. Zapf in September, 1946.  Two months later, the Erickson house was purchased for a fine parsonage at a cost of $9000.00.  A men's club was organized as a member of the ND District Lutheran Laymen's League.  In memory of the young men who served our country during World War II, a neon cross was installed in the remodeled church tower as a nightly reminder of those who had given their lives to save us all. 

In 1953, Pastor Norman Spomer came from Canada to serve.  The membership at this time was 551 souls and 383 communicants.  Sunday School classes had an enrollment of 123.  The congregation realized better facilities were needed.  After discussion, a building committee was elected and began to gather information on plans and estimates. The result is the present structure that met the needs of each organization of the church to the fullest.

Dedication of the new church was on January 8, 1961, with Pastor Spomer in the pulpit.  On the 10th anniversary of Rev. Spomer's stay in Edgeley, the congregations of Edgeley and Kulm presented Pastor and Mrs. Spomer with a new Chevrolet car.    In 1966 Pastor Spomer accepted a call to Park Falls, WI.

On April 24, 1966, Pastor Arnold Lueker was installed.  In 1966 the interior and exterior of the church was painted and a new tape playing chime system was installed to replace the old one.

In November 1973, Pastor Paul Bunkowske became the 14th pastor to serve Zion Lutheran.  In 1974, a beautiful new 32x70 foot, three bedroom, two and one-half bath parsonage was built at a cost of $55,000.  The mortgage to the parsonage was burned in the fall of 1978.  The church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1988.

Rev. Toby Heller served the church from 1990-1997.

Currently Rev. Allan D. Eppen came in 1998 and currently serves the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Zion Lutheran has always accepted the Bible as God's inspired Word and with St. Paul, preaches "Christ and Him Crucified," as man's only way and hope for salvation.

"This be the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118 v. 24.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church