Zion Lutheran Church of Lauraville

Source: Centennial History of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Maryland 1820-1920, Wentz

Late in the fall of 1912 Rev. A. W. Ahl, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church, in Parkville made a canvass to ascertain the number of Lutherans not having church connections, at Lauraville. He found a considerable number who deemed it advisable to establish a Lutheran church in this suburb of Baltimore.

On the first Sunday in Advent, 1912, a Sunday school was organized in a store room at Culver Avenue and Grindon Lane. Twelve teachers and scholars were present. The Sunday school met Sunday after Sunday and its sessions were followed by services conducted by Rev. Ahl, alternately in the German and English language.

The first helpers in the Sunday school were Mrs. George Koehler, Mrs. Gross. Miss Albrecht, Mrs. Gyr, Mrs. Paul Buckwald, and Mr. Henrv List.

On January 7. 1918, a general meeting was held at the home of Mr. George Kohler when it was unanimously decided to organize a Lutheran congregation to be known as Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lauraville. Md. A constitution was adopted and the first council was elected as follows: President. Rev. Ahl, vice-president. Charles Sutfner, treasurer. George Kohler, secretary; Otto Hildehrand; Christian Dietzel, Traugott Lenschner, Oscar Preuss, Oscar Heller, and Herman Zeaman. Besides these, the following were charter members: Mrs. Ganter. Mrs. George Kohler, Mrs. Otto Hildebrand, Mrs. Lenschner, Mrs. Preuss, Mrs. Lenbecker, Mrs. Huckwald, Mrs. Gross, Mrs. Heller, Mr. and Mrs. John Munder, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Dietz, Mr. Christian Wittmer, Miss Wittmer, Mrs. Kreitler, Mrs. Myer, Mrs. Linthicum, Mrs. Zeaman, Mrs. Koch, and Albert Leubecker. On January 18. 1918 the congregation was incorporated. Services were held regularly and the Holy Communion was administered for the first time, in the German language, on Good Friday, and in the English language, on Easter Sunday 1918.

On June 12. a lot on Grindon Lane was purchased at a cost of $625. Steps were taken to erect a chapel and the contract was given to James Rufenacht at his bid of $2,112. The corner stone was laid on October 12. 1913. The church was dedicated on December 12. 1918. Rev. II. II. Weber. D.D., General Secretary of the Board of Church Extension, delivered the sermon and had charge of the finances. In February 1915, the adjoining lot at the corner of Grindon Lane and Maine Avenue, was purchased at the low price of $550. Rev. Ahl severed his connection with the congregation on July 1, 1916, and Rev. M. L. Frank. Ph.D. became his successor on the same date. Rev. Frank made a canvass of the community and while he discovered many Lutherans, he found that they were not willing to sever their relation with the churches in the city. Therefore he began a campaign among the young people and organized a Luther League Society and also a choir. On January 1. 1917, it was decided to hold two services each Sunday, one in the German and the other in the English language. During the pastorate of Rev. Frank, the number of students in the Sunday school was increased and the indebtedness reduced. He severed his connections with the congregation on November 1. 1917.

It was then decided that the services should be conducted altogether in English. A call was extended to Rev. William G. Minnick. and he assumed charge of the congregation on January 1, 1918. As pastor he added members to the congregation and students to the Sunday school. A furnace was installed and an individual communion service, a piano, an altar railing, and a bell, were presented.