Our Story – “Little White Church on the Hill”

The beginnings of Zion Lutheran Church can be traced to June of 1910 in what was then called Meramec, later to be incorporated in 1917 as Valley Park.  The people of Zion first met in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located at 5th and Benton.  Later they met in the Methodist Church, before conducting services in the home of Mr. Frank Mosbach on Forest Avenue.  His grandson Karl and his family are still members of Zion.

On April 21, 1912, eight families formed Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.  These members had a progressive outlook and so formed a Building Committee on November 3, 1912, and on June 14, 1913 contracted with Henry Seibel & Sons of Manchester to begin building Zion’s first church at a cost of $1,536.00.

1913 was a year of many firsts for Zion.  Among these were the dedication of the new church, and the first English service was held on the first Sunday of each month.  In 1915 a dozen English hymnals were purchased in order to facilitate the transition from the German language to English.

On Sunday, September 8, 1929, Zion installed its first resident pastor, Rev. Frederick Kissel.  Since Zion had no parsonage, Rev. Kissel stayed at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Fred Stoecker.  In April of 1930 the Voters decided to build a parsonage on the lot adjoining the church property to the north, at a cost of $4,400.00.

The church building as it stands today experienced several changes through the years.  In 1942 the basement was dug under the church by the members with shovel, wheel barrow, and manpower. 

In 1953 Zion underwent the addition of a choir loft, office, sacristy, stained glass windows, and central heating, and the interior of the sanctuary was remodeled.  A new pulpit, lectern, and baptismal font were built by Mr. George Ruck.  The original altar was used in the newly remodeled church.

After a building fund was started by Mrs. Freida Kraus, the next major change in the physical structure of the property was the groundbreaking for the Educational Building on September 29, 1963.  This building consists of 8 classrooms, a kitchen and a large fellowship hall.

In the years to come several improvements were made to Zion.  Many additional pieces of adjoining property were purchased to make additional parking available.  In 1986, two octaves of choir hand bells were purchased for use in our worship services.  1989 saw vinyl siding installed on the parsonage, church and educational building.  In 1992 the Kraus family donated the eternal light hanging in the sanctuary in memory of Rev. W. C. Lochmann. Through a generous donation from a member, Zion’s first computer for the church was purchased in April of 1993. 

With the installation of Rev. Steven Hasenstein in 1997, several more changes evolved.  A new roof was installed on the church.  A new electric organ was purchased with a grant from Lutheran Charities Foundation.  The kitchen in the Educational building was remodeled.  New banners were purchased.  In 2012 a handicap accessible ramp to our church was installed.  Also a new furnace and air-conditioner were installed in the parsonage. 

A lot has happened at the “Little White Church on the Hill”.  On April 15, 2012, Zion celebrated its 100th Anniversary, and is still going strong today.