• Church History
  • Pastors Serving Zion

Zion Lutheran Church
Spring City, PA

Zion Lutheran Church
– est. 1743 –

As Chester County’s oldest Lutheran church, Zion boasts a fascinating and inspirational history rooted in the pre-Revolutionary War era. Initially nurtured by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America, the congregation was among the first established in Pennsylvania.

Originally known as Zion’s Lutheran Church, the congregation of early German settlers migrated to northern Chester County from Montgomery County. The church represented Muehlenberg’s effort to establish a preaching point on the western banks of the Schuylkill River.

Although northern Chester County Lutherans retained their membership in the Augustus Church at Trappe, the initial development of an early congregation had begun by 1743. However, the prohibitive distance and perilous travel made the journey particularly difficult for the aged and infirm. Consequently, Muhlenberg visited frequently on horseback, often at risk to his own safety, to baptize, preach and bring communion to the faithful.

A simple log building, a joint effort of the Lutherans and Reformed, served as the first structure. Dating to 1751, the log cabin housed worship services for both groups. In 1762, the Lutherans purchased the building and maintained sole ownership.

Muhlenberg himself preached the sermon and laid the cornerstone when the congregation began work on a new church in 1774. It was completed and dedicated in 1775. The following year saw the purchase of 50 acres of land on which to construct a parsonage. Hence, Zion emerged among the first churches in the county to own a residence for its pastor.

Zion’s Church assumed an important role in history when, during the Revolutionary War, the church pews were removed from the building in order to convert it to a hospital for American soldiers injured in the Battle of Brandywine. During the American army’s encampment at Valley Forge over the winter of 1777-78, the church was again used as a hospital. General George Washington visited the sick and wounded soldiers housed in the church building.

Erected in 1861, the third and current church building has served the congregation from the time of its construction to the present. The church’s interior was refurbished in 1993.

Please make sure to check out our Zion Art Collection.

Zion Lutheran Church
Spring City, PA
* * *  Pastors Serving Zion since 1743  * * *

2009 – Present          The Rev. Paul D. Townsend
2008 – 2009                The Rev. Richard Mathison
1989 – 1997                The Rev. Kristine A. Peterson  (Asst. Pastor)
1985 – 2007                The Rev. Dr. Kenneth S. Nelson
1966 – 1985                The Rev. Dr. Ralph Alderfer
1962 – 1965                The Rev. Gordon W. Ward, Jr.
1956 – 1962                The Rev. Charles E. Mertz
1951 – 1956                The Rev. Eugene C. Harmony
1933 – 1951                The Rev. H. Oscar Schlessman, Jr.
1926 – 1933                The Rev. Dr. Abraham B. Markley
1922 – 1926                The Rev. John E. Mohn
1910 – 1922                The Rev. Dr. Charles L. Dapp
1906 – 1910                The Rev. William K. Fischer
1904 – 1906                The Rev. Hiram F. Seiger
1892 – 1903                The Rev. J. B. Haigler
1872 – 1892                The Rev. Jacob Neff
1864 – 1872                The Rev. Henry Seipel Miller
1855 – 1864                The Rev. William Weaver, A.M.
1850 – 1854                The Rev. J. Clemens Miller
1842 – 1850                The Rev. C. F. Weldon
1840 – 1842                The Rev. H. S. Miller
1836 – 1840                The Rev. Frederick Ruthrauff
1827 – 1836                The Rev. Jacob Wampole, Sr.
1818 – 1823                The Rev. Frederick W. Geissenhainer, Jr.  
(Asst. Pastor)
1817 – 1827                The Rev. Frederick W. Geissenhainer, Sr.
1807 – 1815                The Rev. Frederick William Jasensky
1807 – 1807                The Rev. John Revenauch
1804 – 1807                The Rev. Conrad Frederick Plitt
1800 – 1803                The Rev. J. F. Weinland
1765 – 1800                The Rev. John Ludwig Voigt
1762 – 1765                The Rev. Jacob VanBuskerk
1754 – 1762                The Rev. John Helfrich Schaum
1743 – 1754                The Rev. Henry M. Muhlenberg