LETART — “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
Isaiah 40:8 is perhaps one of many biblical verses that illustrate the passing of time and how the word of God remains steadfast throughout the years. This verse, as well as others, will surely be in the minds of several Mason County residents as the members of the Zion Lutheran Church of the North American Lutheran Church on Broad Run Road celebrate the church’s 200th anniversary.
Members of Zion Lutheran Church will be celebrating the 200th anniversary beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, with a performance from the Gloryland Believers. The celebration will continue on Sunday, Oct. 21, with church services at 10 a.m., Sunday School at 11 a.m., and a potluck dinner to follow. Also performing at 2 p.m. on Sunday will be the group New Salvation.
The history of this body of believers reportedly began with a man named Paul Henkel. Henkel began his ministry in Mason County 200 years ago in 1812. The original Zion Church was a log structure which was built in 1818 and dedicated by Henkel in 1819. It was reported this building was 20 by 24 feet and seated around 50 people. It was also stated the building featured a balcony with the pulpit built on a platform half way between the floor and the balcony. This old log building eventually deteriorated and a replica is currently located on the grounds of the West Virginia State Farm Museum.
The old log building was replaced by the current building in 1897, and was reportedly built on land which was donated by a man called Abraham Roush. In 1987, several congregations gathered together to celebrate the 175th anniversary, including several descendants of Roush. This celebration included the dedication of the church’s outside bulletin board, and a message delivered by Rev. Dr. L. Alexander Black, the bishop elect of the new West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, now known as the North American Lutheran Church.