The Foundations of Zion Lutheran                       Church - ELCA

The Little Church in the Bush
The Eickschen Church


December 1877: Zion was born in the open country nestled among many farms southwest of Arlington, Minnesota and was the home of many German immigrants. Zion became a church when 25 people signed a constitution. The church was first called "The Evangelical Lutheran Zion's Congregation", and was built on land given by Mr. Eickschen. The church was a little white building that was called the "church in the bush".


1884: John Schumm was the first baby to be baptized and John Diehn and Louise Mielke were the first to be united in marriage.


1885: The first confirmation class was established and it was made up of four students.

For 90 years men sat on the left side of the church and women on the right. Those children who were old enough to be in the Christmas program sat in the front pews in the same manner. The very young children sat with the women. Norma Michaelis was the first lady to go sit with her husband on the left side of the church, and other couples soon followed.


1903: A pump organ was purchased for $79. Mrs. Weise was the organist.

The congregation voted to build a new church and construction began late 1927. A special collection was taken for a bell and steeple. The little white church and the old school house were sold to a church member. The church was made into a cow barn and the school house was made into a granary.


1927: The new brick church was known as the "Eickschen's Church", and the baptismal font we still use today was the dedication gift.


1948: Services were conducted in both English and German on alternating Sunday's. An electric organ was given to the church by Henry Bergs in memory of Delores Bergs.


December 14, 1964: Zion voted to relocate to the town of Arlington. Land for the new church site, where it sits now, was purchased by Herman Trocke and Ernie Nieland from the Franzel family.


1965: Rev. Striepe painted three large oil paintings that were displayed in the Eickschen Church and when it was decided to move into town the church was buried along with the paintings since they were too large to fit in anyone's house. 


May 1965: The night of the constitutional reading seven tornadoes passed through south of Glencoe, Hamburg, and on to the Twin Cities. There were no lights in church so the constitution was read by candlelight. It was planned to reuse the alter, pulpit, lectern, and stained glass windows but because of the golf-sized hail that damaged the windows it was decided to build all new furnishings. Because of this, padded pews were purchased that cost $100 each.

The property that was purchased in town needed a lot of work, and the weather didn't cooperate since there was a lot of snow and some flooding in spring, but construction finally started. In fall, the inside work began. Under Henry Menzel's direction the alter, pulpit, and lectern were made. The women helped install the carpet.


November 7, 1965: The first chuch service was held in the basement of the new church, since the windows were broken in the country church from the hail and it was much too cold to gather there.


December 12, 1965: A dedication service for the new church was held.


1965-1969: A new Allen organ was purchased and installed.


1971: Zion, St. Mary's, and Methodist churches from Arlington held Ecumenical services in the hospital park each summer. Children's sermons also became part of the services.


1973: The first church bazaar was held. A piano was purchased from the proceeds.


1975: The balcony was remodeled and carpeted to add extra seating.


1976: Ecumenical Good Friday services were held at Zion.  The congregation voted to sell the parsonage and allow the pastor a housing allowance and choose his own house.



Past Pastors from Zion:


1877-1884: Rev. Lorenz Zeigler (Pastor of St. Paul's, Gaylord MN)
1885: Rev. Mueller
1886-1888: Rev. A Kuehn (1st Resident Pastor)
1888-1895: Pastor Aug. Schmidt
1896-1899: Rev. Carl Hoph
1899-1901: Rev. Alex Moench
1902-1904: Rev. G Weise
1905-1911: Rev. Rick
1911-1925: Rev. A Hoyer
1926-1929: Rev. Waldemar Schlactenhaufen
1930-1942: Rev. Wm Striepe
1943-1957: Rev. W.F. Mueller
1958-1963: Rev. Eugene Roester, Rev. Lehne, Rev. G. Matthiae (supply Pastors)
1964: Rev. Duane Peterson
1965-1969: Robert Boda (Resident Pastor), Pastor Peterson, Rev. W. Heitke (Interim Pastor)
1970: Albert Guetzlaff, Richard Smith, Duane Peterson, Paul Hesterberg (Intern Pastors)
1970-1974: Rev. Duane Salness
1975-1979: Pastor Chris Stein, Tom Herbranson (Interim Pastor)

1979-1988: Pastor Paul Martinson

1988-12/31/1988 (date of death): Pastor Karl Hansen; Pastor Deb Ortman, interim

1989: Pastor Ray Tange, interim

1989-6/1/2014: Pastor James Carlson

7/1/2014 to September, 2015:  Pastor Daniel Hermanson (Interim Pastor)

10/1/2015-6/10/2022:  Pastor Deborah Dawson

11/13/2022-5/14/2023: Pastor Evelyn Dahlke (Interim Pastor)

5/21/2023 - Present: Pastor Gretchen Pierskalla