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Our History

On January 5, 1945, sixteen families met at an elementary school to form a mission congregation in Southwest Waterloo. By May of the same year, the small congregation had remodeled a house at the corner of Kimball Avenue and Fourth Street into a chapel where they installed their first pastor, Herold Adix. This small congregation immediately formed a Sunday School, a choir, Women's Guild, Luther League and Brotherhood, all of which blossomed quickly.  The congregation grew rapidly and a larger building was built and dedicated within the first five years of its life. By 1949, the church gave up its status of a mission congregation and it became a thriving and self-supporting faith community in Waterloo.

Pastor Adix accepted another call in 1955 and at that time LaVerne Kampfe was called as the second pastor to the parish. Under his leadership the congregation completed an addition to their church building which was dedicated on March 9, 1958.

An exciting event in the life of the congregation was the purchase of a pipe organ. Through many generous gifts and the Memorial Fund, the organ was purchased and dedicated in 1968. Shortly thereafter, in 1969, Pastor Kampfe left his calling at Zion and in December of 1969 Victor Wenger came to serve the church. He was with Zion until June of 1983 and during his tenure many wonder events occurred: the mortgage was burned, stained glass windows were installed, the kitchen was remodeled, a new constitution was adopted and members began using the Lutheran Book of Worship as their hymnal.

In December of 1983, Pastor Peter Anderson was installed and he served Zion until 1991. Under his leadership, Zion again grew: the offices were remodeled, the library was expanded and made more accessible, a church van was purchased and two properties to the south of the church were purchased with a vision for growth and parking.

During the time since 1959, Zion has had numerous assistant pastors, interns, co-pastors and numerous other staff members, including a Lutheran Deaconess. Recognizing the importance of youth and their roles, Zion has also had three 'Tentmakers' who brought life to the youth programs and in 1989 hired its first Youth Director.


In the years since, we have made the church handicap accessible, expanded the parking lot, and continued our focus on young people. We continue to move forward on our faith journey, both as a congregation and in ministry to our neighbors.

Located at the "Six Corners" intersection on the west side of Waterloo, IA, Zion Lutheran Church seeks to equip people for the intersections of faith and life. In the cross of Christ, the love of God intersects with the brokenness of the world. We believe that the presence and power of God is revealed in such intersections and that this is where the life of faith in Christ is truly lived. Our rapidly changing world continues to challenge us to find new ways of living out that life.

In our programs of worship, learning, and serving we seek to hear God's Word of unconditional love in Christ which frees us to reach out in love to the world. To use a biblical image we aim to be the 'body of Christ' offered to the world, each one giving and serving according to the gifts and faith she or he has been given . We also value, as a community of faith, opportunities in reaching out and serving in Christ's name locally and beyond.

'Learning to Receive, Growing to Serve' has been a motto at Zion for the past several years. Whether you visit us once or become an active participant in the life of the congregation, we hope the Spirit will increase you capacity to receive God's love and translate it into action for the sake of Christ.

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