Two stories and a merger
The current Zion Church is a product of a merger in 1997 of the former Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC) and the former Zion Congregational Church (ZCC). ZCC was founded in 1900 by Germans from Russia. That immigrant population started many churches in the south and north bottoms areas of Lincoln. Zion held a least one worship service in German into the 1950s.
CPC was founded in 1966 from a core group in the Firth, NE area. They wanted a strong Bible-teaching identity and rented several places for Sunday worship until they purchased a small building near 40th and Randolph. CPC joined the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in 1979 and began growing more dramatically under the leadership of Pastor Marlin Wismer and his Assistant Hugh Barlett. God providentially provided the opportunity to purchase a larger facility at 40th and Sheridan.
As CPC was growing, ZCC was aging. God opened up the doors for the two congregations to meet, get acquainted, and eventually negotiate a merger into the current Zion Church PCA.
A vision to reach the city
The newly merged church met at 9th and D, and a new daughter church was planted at the 40th and Sheridan facility. Under the direction of Pastor Mike Hsu a new congregation was started: Grace Chapel (now meeting in their renovated facility at 16th and A Streets under the leadership of Pastor Ben Loos).
Planting new congregations was part of the DNA of ZCC and the vision of CPC. In 2008 Zion PCA planted another congregation in the north bottoms neighborhood: Redeemer PCA.
The three sister churches meet annually in August for a “Unity for the Community” service and are actively looking for ways to plant more churches. We believe that church planting is the most effective way to reach more people for Christ and to maintain a strong sense of community in each church body.
Crisis and comfort
Just like many of your stories, our story involves crisis and God’s comfort. In 2007 the beautiful facility at 9th and D was destroyed by a fire. God used that crisis to create the third congregation (Redeemer) and to move Zion south, reaching another part of our community.
As God gave Zion growth in the Southwood neighborhood, we embarked on a building expansion project. Shortly after the project was completed we suffered another fire. God met us with great care and kindness again and we found a way to keep worshipping, maintain community, and come through the season even stronger.
Zion’s motto reminds us of our calling to both teach and live out the great commission: Transformed by Grace, Poured out for Others. By His grace we hope to continue to plant more churches, serve more people, and teach the beautiful truth of God’s grace for those who suffer and sin.
When the 9th and D facility was lost, we discovered a time capsule behind the church cornerstone. It had been placed there in 1927 by the leaders of ZCC. It reminds all of us that the heart of God’s people is always centered upon our Savior Jesus. I don’t think we could say it any better:
Since the beginning the congregation has found peace in Jesus Christ their redeemer…As fathers and brothers in Christ we wish for our descendants that they will follow Christ’s calling and the teachings of Jesus, his blood cleanses us from all sins. Till we meet in the eternal Zion.
Join us on the journey
You are invited to become a part of the story of God's redemptive work in the world through Zion Church. We look forward to meeting you!