Organization of Zion Lutheran continued
In 1924, the congregation was saddened and honored when its pastor received a call to become Director of Concordia Teachers College, Seward, Nebraska. Pastor Brommer accepted the call after serving Zion faithfully for some thirteen years.
His successor was the Rev. Hugo Degner of Palmer, Nebraska. He was installed as Zion’s pastor July 20, 1924. During his pastorate many changes were made at Zion. This was the time when drought hit the members of Zion and hard times were experienced by all. Yet the Lord was with His people and protected and preserved them through this hour of suffering. During his pastorate Rev. Degner began the transition from German to English. A new teacherage was built in 1925 for the North school. Teacher Lueders took a call to Pomeroy, Iowa and in his place Teacher Heidtbrink was called and installed in 1925. The first church building which had been used as the South school up to this time was replaced with a new school building in 1928.
Zion congregation tried for the fourth time to begin a new congregation in 1931. Rev. Degner held services in Bradshaw in that year, but the attempt this time met with failure. In 1933, the 60th anniversary of Zion was celebrated with Dr. C.F. Brommer as the principal speaker. Teacher Heidtbrink resigned in 1934 and his place was filled first by Miss Ida Wolter and later by Miss Nora Meyer. A replacement finally arrived in 1935 in the person of Teacher Henry Wittmershaus. Rev. Degner ended a lengthy pastorate at Zion when he accepted a call to Lewisville, Minnesota in 1943. In the same year Teacher Suhr ended a long teaching ministry at Zion by taking a call to Elk Creek, Nebraska.
There followed a lengthy vacancy at Zion during which time Rev. E. Frese served as vacancy pastor. The North school was closed in 1943 and the members were encouraged to send all their children to the South school. A house at Kronburg was purchased and moved to the west side of the cemetery and has served as the parsonage since then. Finally, in 1944 Rev. John Feiertag accepted the call to Zion. During his short pastorate the transition to the English language was completed. He accepted a call to Chinook, Montan in 1947. Mrs. Werner Driewer served as second teacher at Zion in 1945. The congregation celebrated the safe return of all twenty-four of its servicemen from World War II with appropriate services in 1945. The north school teacherage was moved to the south property and has served as the teacherage since 1946.
Rev. Albert Cholcher was the next pastor of Zion. He came in 1947. In the following year Teacher Witmershaus tendered his resignation. At the same time the congregation celebrated its 75th anniversary with a number of activities. The church was completely redecorated and renovated. A large amount of clothing was donated for European relief. Anniversary services were held with Dr. Brommer, Pastors Degner, Herman Moellering and Heinicke as the speakers. Since the attempts to call a teacher were not successful,k Teacher Meyer agreed to come out of retirement and teach temporarily until a new teacher could be found. Finally in 1949, Teacher Marion Bohlen accepted the call to Zion. However, he had to resign due to ill health the following year. Candidate Ralph Dinger was the next called man teacher, arriving in 1951. He accepted a call the following year to St. Stephen’s, St. Louis Missouri. A ready replacement was found in the person of Teacher Ernst Riekenberg who was installed as teacher in September, 1952.
Teacher Riekenberg tendered his resignation in 1973, as he wished to retire. His 45th anniversary of teaching was observed by the congregation.
On November 2, 1997 the congregation honored Mr. Riekenberg for 69 years of teaching and service in various areas of his calling to the Lord.
Since 1952 a succession of teachers served our congregation as second teacher. They were Miss Vivian Walter, Mr. Stanley Goldfish, Mr. Waldemar Bartsch, Miss Linda Nierman, Miss Betty Gehring, Mrs. Roland Anderson, Mrs. Ronald Tonniges, Mr. George Rabey, Mr. Ron Cornett, Mrs. Judy Klute, Carolyn Crouch, and Sheila Maseman. They served ably and will be remembered by those whom they taught and trained in Christian living.
Pastor Cholcher accepted a call to Trinity, Persia, Iowa in January of 1956. The vacancy did not last long as the Lord brought to Zion’s midst the Rev. Earl Finnigsmier in May of that same year. At this time an office was added to the parsonage and other changes were made in it at the same time. They are mentioned in the chronology at the back of the centennial book. The 85th and 90th anniversaries of the congregation were observed with appropriate services in 1958 and 1963.
May 5, 1964 was a terrible day for some of Zion’s members. A tornado destroyed the homes of Walter Klute and Herman Brackhan and damaged the homes of Harold Klawonn and Wallace Pohl. Again God was good in the midst of tragedy and none lost their lives.
Dr. Henry Vogt of Anaheim, California donated $20,000 to Zion as a memorial in 1967. Part of this memorial was used to repair and rebuild the organ. It was dedicated to the Lord’s service in 1968. The remainder of the memorial was used to help defray the cost of the addition to the front of the church.
Rev. Finnigsmier accepted a call to Bethlehem, Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1969. His pastorate, as most of the pastorates at Zion, was lengthy and marked by faithful and able service. Also in 1969, Zion’s parochial school was consolidated with that of St. Peter’s, Hampton and this school is now known as Hampton Lutheran School. In the following year a dual parish was organized with Immanuel, Polk. Thus Zion’s has retained close ties with its daughter congregations. A declining farm population coupled with a decline in school age children was the major reasons for these changes.
The congregation again suffered at the hands of nature in 1971. This time it was a severe wind and snowstorm which brought about 60 feet of the steeple and the bell crashing down. A few months later, August 25th, early in the morning with many members looking on, a new steeple was hoisted back up. It had been rebuilt on the round on the lines of the old steeple. It was an impressive and joyful sight to watch as the new steeple was lifted into its proper position.
The rev. Dr. Stephen C. Stohlmann became the first pastor of the dual parish and was installed August 8, 1971. Miss Karen Krause served the congregation as teacher in Hampton Lutheran School.
In 1972, work was begun on the new entrance to the church and this work was completed in time for our centennial year. Improvements were also made to the nursery and new carpeting was laid in the hall and nursery. Our church building was rededicated in 1973.