Our Story

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in Appleton, WI, in 1883 in the spirit of reformation by a group of seven people.

The congregation was incorporated officially on September 17, 1883.  The new congregation moved quickly to construct its first building by purchasing two lots for $700, on the corner of Oneida and Winnebago Streets.  On May 25, 1884, eight months after the cornerstone was laid, the wooden frame building was dedicated with visitors from neighboring congregations attending to celebrate this event.  The present stone and brick structure was dedicated on February 22, 1903, and was listed on the National Registry of Historical Places on June 13, 1986.

Zion's history has been blessed by many faithful pastors.  In January of 1944 Zion chose to become a member of the American Lutheran Church, having previously been an independent congregation since its incorporation.  In January of 1988, Zion became a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, (ELCA), as part of the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin.

Lutheran's have a strong history of education, and Zion was no different.  In November of 1885, Zion opened its school which functioned until it closed in June of 1967.

Along with education and youth ministry, ministry for the elderly has been a strong emphasis at Zion.  The development of condominiums for seniors, both Zion members and people of the community, was a goal of the congregation.  Properties across from the church were aquired and groundbreaking for Zion Place, then Zion Mutual Homes, took place in November of 1985.

The congregation of Zion has always had a heart of mission work and has provided assistance for people in need.  Beginning with German immigrants, continuing through the Great Depression, assisting Hmong families following the Vietnamese War, Zion continues to reach out to people through Disciples' Closet, LEAVEN, and other local social ministries in congregational partnerships and in supporting service groups of the ELCA.

Zion has a rich tradition of worship with complementing choirs and music.  During the first years of Zion's existence, a brass band accompanied the singing.  In 1889 a second hand pipe organ was purchased.  There have been upgrades to those organs culminating with the installation and completion of a new pipe organ in October of 2016.

"Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers, consider well its ramparts; go through its citadesl, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever.  He will be our guide forever."
Psalm 48

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