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Zion Lutheran celebrates 50 years of modern times in South Fayette

September 19, 2018

Zion Lutheran Church has moved around the local area several times, beginning in 1898 when a group of German immigrants met in the C.P. Mayer Building (later known as the Peterson Dry Cleaners) on what is now Schulte Street in Bridgeville to establish a Lutheran church.

It was originally called Zion Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul’s German Church. In 1899 they relocated to larger quarters in Poellet Hall on Washington Avenue (now Sarasnick’s Hardware), then moved into a new edifice at 347 Prestley Road (now the offices of Air Science Consultants).

With the congregation continuing to expand, they purchased farmland in 1960 at 3197 Washington Pike, South Fayette, broke ground in 1966 and completed the present-day church in 1968. The structure of the church was designed to express the bold, forthright nature of Zion’s ties to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and attract community members to explore their beliefs.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the current church facility.

For many years German was the only language used at services until around 1920 when English became the accepted standard within the church. This past January, church members gathered in the sanctuary for special worship services to rededicate the building, remember the parishioners’ past, and renew their commitment to building God’s kingdom.

The service was followed by a special breakfast in their fellowship hall. Since the 1968 construction, a parsonage was added in 1975 and two additions behind the sanctuary were built to provide more space for meetings, classrooms and offices.

A recent “Forward in Faith” fundraising campaign raised money for a roof replacement and other renovations to the church building and various property improvements.

From a small congregation of German American families living in Bridgeville, the church has become one of the largest Lutheran congregations in the Pittsburgh region, having more than 285 members.

Sunday services are at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday services are held at 7 p.m. The church also has weekly Bible studies, Sunday school classes for adults and children, and seminars throughout the year that address various aspects of Christian life.

Last month, Kevin Anderson, a former National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow and university professor of microbiology, came to present a talk on “Echoes of the Jurassic,” which detailed his discovery of dinosaur soft tissue in Montana that supported the creationist view of a young earth rather than the evolutionary theory of the age of dinosaurs existing 65 million years ago.

The youth group holds fellowship events like bowling, lock-ins and chili cook-offs and is currently planning to attend the LCMS National Youth Gathering next July in Minneapolis. The women’s ministry began a summer book club that focuses on Christian-themed books. There is a men’s Bible breakfast every Saturday at 8 a.m.

Last month, the church’s annual Vacation Bible School program attracted 94 children, ages 4 to 12. The church’s third annual Trunk or Treat event for the community at large will be held Oct. 27. Members also collect monthly contributions for the Bridgeville Area Food Bank, located at Bethany Presbyterian Church, and have made donations to other missionary work.

For more information, visit www.zlcb.org or call 412-221-4776.

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