Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 7146 Golden Ring Road. The church, according to their website began around 1865, however, there are some indications it was founded in pre-civil war times. It would appear it began in October 1865 when a Constitution was adopted and the church was known as the “Free and Independent Evangelical Howard Congregation," named after a Mr. Howard who was part owner of the Locust Grove Iron Furnace. The church was built to service the workers of the Company. The area was an open canvas for many of the immigrating farmers and because of their ethnicity the area became known as Germantown.
The first elders of the church: Louis Freund, Moritz Knauff, Martin Göttmann, John Rosengarn, John Kämpft and Michael Berlett were selected by many of those first families with names such as Maier, Rever, Ekert, Magsamen, Rettiger, Bohlen, Kunzman, Schmidt, Kroll, Krebs, Weinreich, Stower, Härtlein, Langenfelder, Pagels, Schaeffer and Lehman.
In 1866, at the adoption of the by-laws, the name was changed to the “United German Lutheran and Reformed Church. They worshipped in the Howard church, which they purchased in 1866 for $800 was updated and opened for their first service, held on January 21, 1867.
Their new Pastor, George Gieser, called in 1872 was also an exceptional teacher and for this reason a school was opened in 1882. The parsonage, located on Philadelphia Road, was built in 1882. The school ceased operations in 1930 and the school building was converted into a dwelling for the caretaker.
The church was too small and in 1892 the Howard Church was razed to make room for a new church. Six acres were purchased adjacent to the church site and cemetery for $1200. The church cost $4000. Their new home was dedicated on October 25, 1896 and named, “Evangelical Zions Church", which still appears on the cornerstone.
The area changed and the farming area became more of a residential suburban area. This attracted different residents and German language was not spoken by many. Until that time services had been done in German. It was now apparent that English services would be needed for the new residents and the younger offspring of the older German generation. Regular English services were conducted on Sunday beginning in 1910. They were in addition to the regular German service.
The church bells were dedicated in memory of Frank Mohr, a member of the congregation that perished during WWII.
The church was again enlarged in 1930 and the name at that time changed to ‘Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.’ It is now part of the United Church of Christ. The name Zion (Evangelical Lutheran) Church of Christ.
Zion is now a participating congregation of the United Church of Christ, created in 1957 with the merger of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. It combines the religious heritages from England and the European Reformation of the 16th century. Based upon God as Creator, Jesus Christ as Redeemer and the Holy Spirit as Sustainer, it is diverse in membership and ecumenical in community.
The church has a large cemetery, where a walk through will tell you many details of its past. The majority of headstones are old and the names hold the story of many past German immigrants into the area.
(Courtesy of Bruce Schuler)
Pastor George Geiser (1872-1878)
Rev. John Leonberger (1-6-1822 to 9-7-1886) (Also served St. Michael’s Lutheran on 9534 Belair Rd. 1879-1882)
Paster Rymerski (1887)
Pastor Brucker (1887-1889)
Pastor Nottrott (1891)
Pastor Zeiler (1892-1904)
Pastor Fleck (1904-1907)
Rev. Henry W. Ellenberger (1907-1928) (Also served St. Paul’s Cordova)
Rev. John W. Schauer (1928-1957) Emeritus (1957-1964)
Pastor Price (1957-1963)
Pastor Rhodes (1964-
Rev. Robert Ridenour
Rev. C. Larry Fisher
Rev. Katie Penick
7146 Golden Ring Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21221