104th Anniversary Celebration
Mortgage Burning

December 6, 2009

     Little did the 16 immigrants who chartered "Swedish Lutheran Zion Church" of Silverhill on December 18, 1905, know what the future would hold over the next 104 years. Nor could they anticipate events that would eventually lead to a building for worship and fellowship. Like many others in Silverhill, these early residents lost hope with that major hurricane of 1906. Some lost life and many relocated to almost anywhere else after the devastation.

     But some people remained in the Swedish community. By 1913 the first stages of a Lutheran building program commenced in Silverhill and the early stages of the present, existing church sanctuary were begun in 1914 and completed by 1916. A home for the first pastor was soon constructed adjacent to the church. That parsonage is now long-gone along with its garage which had become a Sunday School building in Mid-20th Century.

     The church recognized a need for space and added a small "kitchen/fellowship" addition at the back of the church building in 1965. It was called the "Annex", and now houses the "Zion Lutheran Church Museum." Church and community artifacts of the last hundred years or so are featured in its displays.

     By 2003 the Zion's congregation had recognized a need for additional fellowship space. Plans for a steel building designated the "Fellowship Hall" were developed. Fund-raising commenced. Also in 2003, additional financing was obtained from what is now "Thrivent for Lutherans" and ground was broken for the new building on March 23, 2003. It was dedicated seven months later on November 23, 2003.

     The loan for that Fellowship Hall was recently paid in full. Zion Lutheran Church is celebrating that event during its 104th anniversary month. There will be a number of activities.

Zion Lutheran Church
A computer-generated image of what the Fellowship Hall would look like after construction, shows the Fellowship Hall situated to the right of the historic church. Visitors to Zion's Mortgage Burning Ceremony on December 6 will see that the computer was "right on."

     Celebrations have been set to commemorate the birth of the congregation, beginning with the first Sunday of the month, December 6, at the 10 AM church service. Special music composed by Zion's Music Director, Dr. Michael Coleman, will be featured as an "Offertory" each Sunday worship service of December in remembrance of God's kindness to the congregation in its 104 years.

Michael Coleman
Dr. Michael Coleman will have a special composition as part of each service at Zion Lutheran Church in December, commemorating the church's 104th anniversary month.

     The December 6 worship service will be followed by a "Mortgage Burning Ceremony" at 11:15 AM. Representatives of Thrivent for Lutherans will be present for the event. Then a potluck "Celebration Dinner" at 11:30 AM will follow the Mortgage Burning Ceremony. After the dinner, accomplished educator, pianist, and composer Kadisha Onalbayeva will perform a special "Advent Music Concert" at 12:30 PM to conclude the celebratory events of the day.

Kadisha Onalbayeva
Accomplished educator, pianist, and composer Kadisha Onalbayeva will perform an Advent Music Concert on December 6 at 12:30 PM as part of festivities celebrating the 104th anniversary of Zion Lutheran Church of Silverhill and the "mortgage burning" celebrating final mortgage payment for Zion's Fellowship Hall constructed in 2003.

Schedule of Events for Sunday, December 6, 2009
9:00 AM
Sunday School
10:00 AM
Worship Service ~ Advent Candle Lighting ~ Communion
"Offertory" Special music composed by
Zion's Music Director, Dr. Michael Coleman
11:15 AM
Mortgage Burning Ceremony
Representatives of Thrivent for Lutherans will be present
11:30 AM
Potluck "Celebration Dinner"
12:30 AM
"Advent Music Concert"
Performed by Kadisha Onalbayeva, accomplished educator, pianist, and composer