Zion Lutheran Church 1899 - 

 Soon after the opening of Oklahoma Territory, the Lutheran families of William Backhaus and F. Helberg settled near Guthrie. Upon the request of Mr. Backhaus, the Rev. J. Kauffeld of Kansas, who had first come to the area in July 1890 to preach at Orlando at the request of former parishioners who had settled there, came to Guthrie to conduct the first Lutheran service in this vicinity in the summer of 1891 in the Backhaus home. A second service was also conducted there two years later on August 30, 1893. Rev. Kauffeld was convinced that resident mission work should be done in this area.

In 1893, the Kansas District, Lutheran Church ‚Äď Missouri Synod (LCMS), appointed the first resident missionary to Oklahoma Territory ‚Äď the Rev. M. J. Von der Au. He was based at Okarche and served adjacent areas. An assistant, the Rev. Claus Pape, was soon assigned to the Territory. Guthrie was one of his preaching stations. Rev. Von der Au moved to Iowa in 1895 and was succeeded by the Rev. Julius Hamm and candidate Joseph Timken, the latter serving some 190 families scattered from Pauls Valley to Blackwell, including Guthrie, where he conducted services once in six or seven weeks.

During the pastorate of the young graduate Rev. Timken, three or more families of the Lutheran faith came to Guthrie. More frequent services were demanded, so together with the mission in Antelope Township east of Guthrie, they called student Eisele, who labored at both places for one year. The missions in Guthrie and in Antelope Township now felt they could do even more and called the Rev. Richard Neitzel in the year 1899. The Rev. Neitzel, whose primary station was at Anna / Langston some twelve miles east of Guthrie where Immanuel congregation was organized with sixteen families, served both places in an earnest, self-sacrificing way for two years. He also guided the formation of the Zion congregation in 1899. In 1901 he was reassigned to Kansas City, Kansas.

A long vacancy then ensued, during which the pastors J. Holtzen and M. Graebner alternated in serving the congregation. In April 1902 the Rev. G. Theiss from Iowa was called to take charge here. He first resided in Guthrie, but later when the congregation in Antelope Township erected a parsonage, he moved there in November. The Rev. Theiss was instrumental in having the Guthrie congregation incorporated under the laws of the State of Oklahoma [December 1, 1902]. To support a large family and provide himself with a means of transportation, the Rev. Theiss found his meager salary insufficient, and he accepted a call to Iowa on May 2, 1903.

The Guthrie congregation then decided to call a candidate of its own, separating from Immanuel Lutheran Church since the entire services of one pastor were required there. The call was extended to the Rev. J. Reiniga, who was to serve as vacancy pastor until the new candidate could arrive.

*Historical information on Zion is a result of the research and recording done by the Rev. J. Reiniga, the Rev. Louis Ulmer, Dr. Herbert E. Kaiser, and Helen Holmes.

During all these years the congregation had no definite place of worship. Services were conducted at the courthouse, but difficulties were encountered and the Methodist church was rented. From there the Lutherans went to the Episcopal Church. Again circumstances made a change imperative, and services were conducted in Mr. Wilkie’s Store until an upper room in the Hirzel Bros. Grocery Store could be secured. This location became unsatisfactory when it was converted into a ballroom and lodge hall during the week, so the members again sought refuge in the Episcopal Church.

The Lutherans of Guthrie yearned for a church of their own where they could serve God as they wished, and in 1903 with the aid of a $500 loan from the Kansas District, the Guthrie congregation built a church at 806 E. Springer. The congregation held its first worship in the newly constructed church on July 19, 1903. Rev. H. Halle was called to serve as pastor in the new church. The Rev. Halle resided in Guthrie and was especially active in mission work there.

The Rev. Theo Iben succeeded the Rev. Halle in 1906, serving again both Immanuel in Pleasant Valley and Guthrie. In 1908 the Rev. Iben received a call to another field and accepted. In the fall of 1908 Candidate P. J. Danker arrived, and during his pastorate a Christian Day School began to flourish, and confirmation classes were instituted. He was a tireless missionary but was sought by another field, and in January 1914 he accepted a call to Illinois. From January to September of that year the congregation was without a regular pastor, and the ministers H. Mueller and the retired Rev. Maehr conducted services intermittently.

On the second Sunday in September, 1914, Candidate F. J. Schoen was ordained and installed at Guthrie and Pleasant Valley. He served the congregations faithfully during his pastorate, living in Pleasant Valley where the Anna / Langston congregation had moved after the railroad came through in 1902. A parsonage adjoined the frame church of Immanuel there. During the pastorate of the Rev. Schoen, Immanuel became a self-supporting congregation, and Zion purchased lots and a parish on the corner of Oak and Warner in Guthrie. The Rev. Schoen was present for the organizing convention of the Oklahoma District at Okarche in May 1924. Sunday School classes were instituted in the early 1920’s after improved automobiles and better roads came into being, enabling parishioners to bring their children for Christian instruction. Graded instructional materials were by then available from the Missouri Synod to assist in the work.

Since the Guthrie congregation, like almost all other Lutheran congregations in Oklahoma, consisted primarily of German immigrant families and their descendants, divine services were conducted in the German language. World War I, with its militant anti-German campaigns, changed that practice. Public meetings of all kinds conducted in German, including church services, were forbidden. Emphasis on German in parochial school work was discontinued. Also, members of the congregation, which had been identified in city directories as ‚ÄúGerman Lutheran Church,‚ÄĚ met and overcame some difficulties in convincing their neighbors of their loyalty to the United States.

In 1924, Zion called its own minister, the Rev. E. J. Otto, who remained until 1927. Under his leadership a new church edifice at Oak and Warner was built in 1925. A

Christian Day School was started with twelve pupils in a wing of the building in 1927. It was during his ministry that the first adult class was received into membership: Mrs. George (Louise) Lester, Mrs. Otto (Sophia) Bohot, and Mrs. H. W. (Beulah) Bohot.

Late in 1927 Pastor Otto was succeeded by the Rev. Waldo Heitzebert, who endeared himself to his congregation. His ministry came to a sudden end when he was stricken with a heart attack while at the home of members Fred and Olga Flasch.

The Rev. I. E. Mencke was ordained as pastor of the congregation in 1932. During his pastorate the Christian Day School received much attention. Four teachers served the congregation during his stay: R. H. Nehrig, 1931-1936; E. J. Diers, 1936-1937; Herbert E. Kaiser, 1937-1944; and Ralph Wetzstein, 1941-1942. Under the able leadership of Pastor Mencke and Herbert Kaiser, who served as principal and teacher, the school expanded into a two-room school, reaching an enrollment of 46. Teachers serving during the World War II years were G. P. Uecker, 1944-1945; Mrs. R. Mills, 1945-1946; and Mrs. A. F. Traugott, 1945-1946. A number of the students enrolled were from non-Lutheran families who wanted a Christian-oriented education for their children. Pastor Mencke served until 1941, when he accepted a call to Cushing.

The Rev. Arthur F. Traugott served Zion as pastor from 1941 to 1947. These were years of war and hardship. Thirty-three members of Zion were called into the Armed Service. Two of them ‚Äď Karl Hetzel and Albert Backhaus ‚Äď paid the supreme sacrifice. The Christian Day School was discontinued after 1946 because of wartime hardships of tire and gasoline rationing. However, they were also years of energetic work. The congregation purchased a parsonage in 1946 at the corner of Park and Warner. A site for a church edifice was purchased near the new parsonage in 1948 but was sold after the decision was made to retain and remodel the present church.

In 1947 the pastor of Immanuel in Pleasant Valley, the Rev. F. L. Scheibe, resigned. At this time the property of Immanuel Lutheran Church at Pleasant Valley was sold, and the church and parsonage moved. The Pleasant Valley church building still stands in Coyle. Immanuel and Zion congregations voted to merge, which enabled Zion to move from a District-supported congregation to one of self-support. In the summer of 1947 Pastor Traugott accepted a call to Ellinwood, Kansas.

In October 1947 the Rev. Louis Ulmer was installed as pastor of Zion. An additional outreach in the field of Christian education, the Vacation Bible School (VBS), was begun in 1948 with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) as assisting sponsor. In May 1951 a contract was signed with Lippert Bros. Construction Company for the remodeling and enlarging of the church. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Pentecost Sunday, which was also Mothers Day, May 13, 1951. The remodeled building was finished with brick veneer. [The cornerstone was set October 11, 1951.] The Rev. Ulmer guided the congregation in a period of unprecedented growth. During his final years of service he also enjoyed serving St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Orlando. The Rev. Ulmer suffered a heart attack during a Sunday morning church service at Zion in the spring of 1961 and died on April 29, 1961.

The Rev. Norbert R. Wodtke was called as pastor later in 1961 and served until 1966. He, like those before him, labored at his duties conscientiously. The Rev. Alan Holtz of Stillwater served as primary vacancy pastor from 1966 to 1971 when the Rev. Vernon Betterman, a recent seminary graduate, came to serve the congregation, and who served the congregation well. He accepted a call to Illinois in the closing months of 1971. It was during the Rev. Betterman’s ministry that an Education Building was constructed west of the church. It was dedicated May 11, 1970. The Rev. Leslie Ulrich of Stillwater served as primary vacancy pastor in 1972.

In July 1972, a recent seminary graduate, the Rev. Richard Drews, was installed as pastor and worked diligently serving the congregation. He accepted a call to Illinois in December 1975. The Rev. Michael Holsten and the Rev. Robert Hausman of Stillwater served as primary vacancy pastors until in the summer of 1977, The Rev. Rufus L. Young was installed. He served until 1985.

During this time the parsonage was sold and a housing allowance made to the pastor. In 1982 additional parking facilities were added on the street east of the church, and a concrete ramp installed in front, ensuring access to all. In 1984, member Hazel Henke designed and constructed beautiful stained glass windows in the window apertures of the church nave. These were primarily underwritten as memorials by various members.

A significant change was made in the constitution on June 20, 1985, which allowed women of the congregation to vote in the voters assembly. Women were admitted equally with men at nineteen years of age. They were, however, restricted from holding offices involved with functions of the pastoral office, i.e., president, vice president, and elder. The Rev. Young resigned in 1985. The Rev. Rick Mensing served as primary vacancy pastor.

The Rev. Patrick Erickson, a recent seminary graduate, was called and installed in 1986, serving until 1989. A parking lot north of the church was paved in 1986. This project was made possible by the generous bequest of the Berk brothers and sisters of Pleasant Valley ‚Äď Max, Martha, Selma, and Herman Berk. The bequest also enabled the congregation to establish in 1987 a scholarship fund for deserving students entering the service of the church. When Pastor Erickson accepted a call to Uvalde, Texas, the Rev. Glen Kollmeyer of Enid served as primary vacancy pastor.

The Rev. David May was installed and served from 1990 until the spring of 1994. In the months following his resignation, unsuccessful attempts were made to reconcile differences among members, and in October 1994 over twenty members, several of whom had family roots dating back to the establishment of the church, requested a release from Zion. Shortly thereafter a number of the former members established Our Savior Lutheran Church, now located west of Guthrie on Hwy. 33. Both Lutheran churches are dedicated to serving God, and members in each church are supportive of activities in the other. The Rev. Walter Wehmeier of Stillwater served Zion as primary vacancy pastor in 1994-1995. The Rev. Martin Mohn served as interim pastor from 1995-1997.

On August 10, 1997, the Rev. Merlyn Lohrke was installed as pastor. His focus was on Bible study. During his ministry the church celebrated its Centennial with three services, one honoring each of the three churches who had merged or combined forces at various times during the past 100 years. On April 11, 1999, the Rev. Barrie Henke was guest speaker at the service honoring his home church, St. Paul‚Äôs of Orlando. On June 27, 1999, the Rev. Roy Karner was guest speaker at the service honoring Immanuel Lutheran Church of Pleasant Valley. On October 30-31, the Rev. Lohrke and the Rev. Leroy Biesenthal were speakers at the worship services honoring Zion, and the Rev. Norbert R. Wodtke served as moderator of the ‚ÄúDown Memory Lane‚ÄĚ program.

Projects of the Centennial Committee included the publication of a Zion Lutheran Church Cookbook and the typing and binding of copies of the church records of each of the three Lutheran churches. All of these were made available to members and other interested persons at cost. One major project in the centennial year was the purchase of 1 and 1/3 lots northwest of the church, the removal of a house from these lots, and the groundbreaking for Berk Fellowship Hall, named for the family whose bequest funded much of the construction cost.

Through the years Zion has maintained the two Lutheran cemeteries originally kept by Immanuel Lutheran Church of Pleasant Valley, and, in recent years, the Lutheran cemetery in Orlando. The older, smaller cemetery, which is located near the original site of Immanuel two miles west of Langston and one-fourth mile north of the Coop, is no longer used. The cemetery one-half mile south of the former Pleasant Valley church site is still used for interment of Lutherans on a family plot basis. Land for this cemetery was donated by Eddie and Bertha Flasch Nobbe, and recent improvements were made by Jacob Beck as an Eagle Scout project.

Pastor Lohrke concluded his service in the ministry in May 2004, when he retired. A special service celebrating his forty years in the ministry and his almost seven years as pastor of Zion was held by the church, concluding with a banquet in Berk Fellowship Hall. Following retirement, he and his wife moved to Cunningham, Kansas.

The Rev. Velmer Goebel of Enid served as interim pastor in 2004-2005. During that time a large bequest of Wamon and Mildred (Mickey) Bohot Waller enabled significant improvements to the church and Education Building and the purchase of furnishings for Berk Fellowship Hall, as well as a considerable contribution to Camp Lutherhoma.

The Rev. Ryan Mills, a recent seminary graduate, was ordained and installed as pastor in July 2005. He served until June 2007, when he accepted a call to Cheyenne, Wyoming. During his pastorate, the legacy of Otto and Margaret Freudenberger Flasch made possible the completion of payments on Berk Fellowship Hall.

The Rev. W. R. Rains, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City, served as interim pastor from June 2007 until he was called and installed as pastor of Zion on November 9, 2008. Rev. Rains brings energy and enthusiasm to his call as an ordained servant of God as well as a love of the service he provides as pastor to the members of Zion. His focus is on spreading the Word of God to the Guthrie community and beyond. He is also active in circuit, district, and synod matters and currently serves as secretary of the Oklahoma District. 

Pastors Serving Zion Lutheran Church

 Early Traveling Missionaries:

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend J. V. Kauffeld, 1891 ‚Äď 1893

     Reverend M. J. Van der Au, 1893 -

     Reverend Claus Pape, 1893 -       

¬†¬†¬†¬† Reverend J. Timken, 1894 ‚Äď

Pastors Shared by Zion and Immanuel of Pleasant Valley

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Student Eisele, 1896 ‚Äď 1898

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Richard Neitzel, 1899 ‚Äď 1901

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend J. Holtzen, Vacancy Pastor, 1901 ‚Äď

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend M. Graebner, Vacancy Pastor, 1901 ‚Äď

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Rev. G. Theiss, 1902 ‚Äď 1903

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Rev. Theo Iben, 1906 ‚Äď 1908

     Rev. F. J. Schoen, 1914 - 1924

Zion Lutheran Church Pastors and Vacancy/Interim Pastors

     Reverend Johann U. Reiniga, Vacancy Pastor, 1903

     Reverend H. Halle, 1903 - 1905    

¬†¬†¬†¬† Candidate P. J. Danker, 1908 ‚Äď1914

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend H. Mueller, Vacancy Pastor ‚Äď 1914 ‚Äď

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Maehr, Vacancy Pastor ‚Äď 1914

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Edgar J. Otto, 1924 ‚Äď 1927

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend W. F. Heitzeberg, 1928 ‚Äď 1931

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend I. E. Mencke, 1932 ‚Äď 1941

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Arthur F. Traugott, 1941 ‚Äď 1947

     Reverend Louis Ulmer, 1948 - 1961

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Norbert R. Wodtke, 1961 ‚Äď 1966

     Reverend Alan Holtz, Vacancy Pastor, 1967

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Vernon Betterman, 1967 ‚Äď 1971

     Reverend Leslie Ulrich, Vacancy Pastor, 1972

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Richard Drews, 1972 ‚Äď 1975

     Reverend Michael Holsten, Vacancy Pastor, 1976

     Reverend Robert Hausman, Vacancy Pastor, 1977

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Rufus L. Young, 1977 ‚Äď 1985

     Reverend Rick Mensing, Vacancy Pastor, 1986

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Patrick Erickson, 1986 ‚Äď 1989

     Reverend Glen Kollmeyer, Vacancy Pastor, 1989

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend David May, 1990 ‚Äď 1994

     Reverend Walter Wehmeier, Vacancy Pastor, 1995

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Martin Mohn, Interim Pastor, 1995 ‚Äď 1997

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Merlyn Lohrke, 1997 ‚Äď 2004

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Velmer Goebel, Interim Pastor, 2004 ‚Äď 2005

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend Ryan Mills, 2005 ‚Äď 2007

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend W. R. Rains, Interim Pastor, 2007 ‚Äď 2008

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Reverend W. R. Rains, 2008 ‚Äď

According to the registers of Zion Lutheran Church spanning the past 110 years, 535 baptisms, 443 confirmations, 164 weddings, and 241 funerals have been conducted. 

Christian Education

Christian Education has always been an important part of the effort of Zion Lutheran Church.  As early as 1907 the Guthrie city directory listed a parochial school in connection with the Lutheran church at 806 E. Springer.  The school apparently was held intermittently in the church itself, as was common for the period, and was conducted by the pastor as teacher.

Sunday School classes were instituted in the early 1920’s, and a Christian Day School begun in 1927.  World War II hardships caused its closing after 1946.  Since that time special weekly instruction classes have been offered to children.  At first they were held on Saturday mornings but are now held after school on Wednesday afternoons, leading to intensive instruction for confirmation.  Adult confirmation classes are scheduled by the pastor as needed.  The first adult confirmation class was held in 1923.

Vacation Bible School was instituted by the Rev. Louis Ulmer in 1948 and has been held since that time.  It is taught by volunteers in the congregation, several of whom are public school teachers.

Through the years Zion has maintained a strong Sunday School program for children and Bible classes for teenagers and adults.  A Sunday School Rally Day or Education Sunday is held in September.  Recognition is given at this time for faithful attendance and promotions are announced.  A luncheon or picnic follows, complete with sports activities and fellowship.  This event, like the Easter egg hunt on Easter afternoon, is open to the entire congregation and guests.  At times former members return with their families for these events.

In this 110th year, the Sunday School staff members are Brenda Nivens, superintendent; Cynthia Taylor, kindergarten; Kay Williams / Betty Crooks, pre-teen; Linda Anderson, junior high; Ada Schneider, high school; Mary Beck / Karen and Carl Williams, substitute  teachers.  Pastor Rains teaches the Adult Bible Class.  Joy Flasch is substitute teacher.

Mid-Week School teachers are Craig Miller, pre-teen, and Pastor Rains, confirmation class.  Shurlyn Maltz and Joy Flasch are substitute teachers.  During Mid-Week School, Joy Flasch teaches music to the children’s choir. Linda Fruendt is accompanist. 

Vacation Bible School staff members in 2009 were Kay Williams, superintendent; Cynthia Taylor, arts and crafts; Nancy Mudd and Linda Fruendt, music; Mary Beck, Linda Anderson, Phyllis Zachary, and Kay Williams, teachers; Craig Miller, recreation; Brenda Nivens, food; Cale Williams, aide.

Women’s Groups

 As a service and mission group, the Ladies Aid Society of Zion was organized in 1925 with Mrs. E. J. Otto serving as the first president.  The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) was organized May 2, 1945 with thirteen members present.  Hester Wegner was the first president.  Some years later the Ladies Aid became the second group of the LWML.  The two groups worked together in all phases of congregation and mission duties.  In 1994 the two groups merged.  LWML now meets monthly on Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

The LWML combines regular Bible study lessons with monthly business sessions.  LWML is affiliated with the Oklahoma District and with the international organizations of Women’s Missionary Leagues.  Through these, the LWML makes contributions to Synod-approved missionary projects state and worldwide.

Regular projects have been preparation of dinners for families of the bereaved in the congregation, sponsorship of the Vacation Bible School, furnishing refreshments for VBS and mid-week school classes, sponsorship of soup and sandwich suppers before evening Lenten and Advent services, and serving of various congregational dinners.¬† Regular contributions of ‚Äúmites‚ÄĚ donations are forwarded for district and international projects, and contributions of money, clothing, and quilts are sent to Lutheran World Relief.

Some special projects through the years have allowed for the purchase of equipment for the church kitchen, contributions to ‚ÄúThis Is the Life‚ÄĚ program, collection of wash cloths for the Good Samaritan Home, making of quiet books for the nursery, construction of Chrismon ornaments for the church Christmas tree, and sending used Sunday School materials and Bibles to missionaries in foreign countries.

Current officers of the Zion LWML are Mary Beck, president; Kaye Freudenberger, vice president; Ada Schneider, secretary, and Cynthia Taylor, treasurer.

Youth Fellowship

 Youth work in Zion began with the organization of the Walther League in 1922 under the ministry of the Rev. Fred T. Schoen.  Assisting in establishing the youth group were Louis Tisher, Fred Backhaus, and Ernest Bohot. 

The local society participated in zone and district events as well as congregational activities.  Meetings were held weekly for business, Bible and topic study, and social pur-poses and were open to confirmed youth.  The name Walther League honored the Rev. C. F. Walther, one of the founding fathers of Missouri Synod Lutheranism.

The Walther League remained active until 1980, when a new youth organization, Lutheran Youth Fellowship (LYF), replaced it.  The present LYF was formed January 16, 1982.  An annual project of the organization for many years has been providing Christmas treats for all children of the congregation and others present for the children’s Christmas Eve program.  The group sings carols for shut-ins during the holidays.  A favorite summer activity has been taking float trips down the Illinois River near Camp Lutherhoma in northeastern Oklahoma.

In 1984 the LYF raised funds for a mini-vacation trip of Christian fellowship to Six Flags Over Texas in Dallas.  In 1986 fifteen members and two sponsors attended the national Lutheran Fellowship Conference in Washington, D. C.  In 1998 four LYF members and two sponsors attended the national LYF conference.  The groups engaged in a year-long fund-raising effort in order to underwrite their expenses.

Church Music

 Early records do not reveal the names of those who contributed to the music for worship services.  Beginning in the late 1920’s the teachers of the Day School, during their terms, assisted as organists and choir directors, a volunteer activity.

Some of the organists who have served Zion Lutheran Church are Herbert E. Kaiser, Bernice Fruendt Flasch, Emma Hetzel Snipes, Lorena Ochs, Selma Henke Williams, Phyllis Freudenberger Pults, Mauritta Deahl Helberg, Jeanne Freudenberger Card, Rosalie Flasch Weber, Ann Williams Benson, Marcella Backhaus Meador, Helen Mae Gillett, Ruby Young, and Loetta Lohrke.  Linda Fruendt and Nancy Mudd have served as church organists for the past several years.

Since the 1950’s, Lois Backhaus, Joy Flasch, and Loetta Lohrke have served as directors of the adult and children’s choirs.  Both choirs sing at intervals for church services.  Both participate in the Christmas Eve program, which is presented primarily by the children.  Linda Fruendt is accompanist for the choirs.

Several of the adult choir members have participated at various times in the Christmas cantatas presented by a mass choir of singers from congregations in the Oklahoma City area.  In 1983, the Zion choir and congregation hosted this event when Handel’s Messiah was presented in Guthrie.  In 1994, the cantata was again hosted by Zion and was directed by Joy Flasch, Zion choir director.  In 1998 Loetta Lohrke coordinated and accompanied the presentation of music by combined choirs of Zion Lutheran Church, Stillwater, and Zion of Guthrie in a Reformation Day service.

Current members of the senior choir are Nancy Mudd, Agnes Schneider, Charlotte Corn, Nelda Campbell, Debbie Craft, Betty Crooks, Kaye Freudenberger, Ralph Fruendt, Leon Anderson, Leroy Corn, Mike Campbell, and James Freudenberger.  Joy Flasch is director and Linda Fruendt is accompanist.

Current members of the children’s choir are Ben Beck, Cale Williams, Conan Maltz, Ryan Weathers, Chely McDonough, Zane Maltz, Jared Weathers, Kenzie Williams, and Krysta Kruschik.                                             

A.A.L. Branch 1554 and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Group

The local branch of Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL) won a Gold Star Branch designation numerous years in the past based on service record. The branch co-spon-sored many congregational activities, including Sunday School picnics, VBS, LYF float trips, the annual Easter breakfast, and provided refreshments for various church dinners and activities. The branch also presented each new confirmand with a cross plaque and a baptismal cross to baptized infants in the congregation. Service activities included the purchase of a wheelchair for a handicapped member of the congregation and purchase of educational materials for Sunday School and VBS and music for the choir. Funds were raised and disbursed by the branch to aid families in the community who were victims of illness and natural disasters, including flood and tornado victims.

A.A.L. was replaced several years ago by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, which provides matching funds for Care in Congregations and Care in Communities projects.

These projects have ranged from assisting tornado victims to giving a financial lift to Logan County’s only arts museum, the Owens Arts Place Museum, hosting fund-raisers to help purchase school-ground equipment for the Coyle School, and assisting victims of a Texas hurricane. Funds have also helped purchase paint for the Education Building, paid for youth to go to Camp Lutherhoma, and purchased equipment and furnishings for the fellowship hall. On October 24 a Sausage and Pancake Supper will be held in Mulhall to help purchase fire-fighting equipment for the Mulhall Fire Department.

Whereas A. A. L. held local meetings, Thrivent officers meet with the Chapter, composed of members of six other Lutheran churches from Cushing, Wellston, Stillwater, and Guthrie. Zion members who have served as Chapter officers of Thrivent Financial are Leroy Corn, president; Charlotte Corn, president; Joy Flasch, records director, and Harold Flasch, community service director. Zion Coordinators of the Thrivent Financial local group are Mary Beck, John W. Schneider, and Fred Schneider.