The following is a reprint of the article about our new church building as printed in the Decatur Democrat on Thursday, May 8, 1902. (Volume XLVI, No. 9) The sketches of the church were included in the article. The circulation of the paper was listed as 2800 weekly.
A Ten Thousand Dollar Edifice, Planned by H. W. Meyer, of Fort Wayne, and Built by Contractors Mann & Christen of this city.
In June, 1837, the Rev. J. Hoover began preaching the gospel to a few German emigrants in the northern part of Adams county. On February 25, 1838, the Evangelical Lutheran Zion Congregation was organized at Friedheim, and on March 11, following this organization, Frederick Buuck was elected elder, and Christian Fuhrman and Henry Leffler deacons. At this time the congregation numbered fifty-six members, and regular meetings were held in their first church, a facsimile of which will be seen below, and which in its day was considered a model of beauty and a palace fit for the Kings to worship in. Since that time the following ministers have had charge of the congregation:
Rev. J. Hoover, died May 23, 1838
Rev. Frederick Wyneken, 1839-1841
Rev. Knape, 1841-1843
Rev. F. Wyneken, 1843-1846
Rev. Gerhard Heinrich Jaebaker, 1846-1877
Rev. Hermann Meiers, 1877-1883
Rev. J. L. Daib, 1883-1888
Rev. H. Schlesselmann, 1888-1893
Rev. C. B. Preuss, present pastor
The teachers of their parochial school:
Carl Kirsch, 1855-1880
P. Riess, 1880-1889
F. J. Bublitz, 1889-1899
H. G. L. Paul, 1899-1901
G. Fischbach, present teacher
In the year 1901 the congregation numbered 440 persons, ninety-two voting members, eighty-four school children. During last year eleven children were baptised, six were confirmed, four members died and four couples were joined in marriage. The following are the present officers: Conrad Schiemann and William Gallmeyer, elders; Ferdinand Bultemeier and Carl Wiegmann, deacons; Carl Gallmeyer, August Conrad and Herman Reise, trustees. At a meeting of the congregation and officers held November 17 of last year, they concluded to build a new church, and the handsome design herewith shows the extreme good taste of those having same in charge. When completed, the handsome structure will cost ten thousand dollars, and the remarkable feature to the ordinary mortal is that every cent of cost is already guaranteed, and not a penny solicited outside of their own membership. This in itself tells of the sturdy citizenship that comprises the membership of this religious organization. The new church will be a handsome twentieth century structure, modern and complete and will last as long as those now instrumental in its construction will care to worship in it.
The following items were found in the 1902 cornerstone: Newspapers: Decatur Democrat, Vol. XLVI, No. 9, dated Thursday, May 8, 1902 (in English), Die Rundrchan, Vol. 23, #18, Chicago, Illinois, April, 1902 (in German), Der Lutheraner dated January 8, 1901 (in German) (similar to “The Lutheran Witness”), Missions Taube dated May 1, 1902 (in German), The Lutheran Pioneer: A Missionary Monthly, Vol. XXIV, No. 5, St. Louis, May, 1902 (in English), and Indiana Staats Beitung, Ft. Wayne, Indiana #30, April 29, 1902 (in German); the contractor’s copy of the specifications (#5, 1902) for Zion Friedheim church (Henry W. Meyer Architect and Engineer); signed business card from Fred C. Pohlmeyer, contractor and builder, Fort Wayne, Indiana; eight-page booklet about Zion, Friedheim, distributed the day of the cornerstone laying ceremony; 1891 dime; 50th anniversary coin from the Synod; Constitution – Synodical (1876) (in German); Young Lutherans magazine, December 20, 1901, Vol. I, #5, Concordia Publishing House (in both English & German); Synodical Constitution, 1867 (in German); Synodal=Beridjt, Berhandlungen, Missouri, Ohio, and anberen Gigaatlen, published by Concordia Publishing House ($2 annual, issued every four weeks) dated September 18, 1899, March 1, 1901, and December 15, 1901 (in German); Song Book (hardback in German); New Testament (hardback in German); Catechism (hardback in German); and a handwritten copy of our Constitution and By Laws (in German).
The following items will be placed in the cornerstone on May 12, 2002: Pewter confirmation cross that AAL presents to all confirmands; Zion-Friedheim Lutheran Church “Taste of Heaven” cookbook printed August, 2000; updated 2002 Membership Directory; a copy of our Constitution and By Laws; “Our Early Beginnings: A Brief History of the Decatur Circuit”; The Lutheran Hymnal, @1941; Luther’s Small Catechism @1943; a New Testament; The Lutheran Witness, May 2002 (Vol. 121, No. 5); a copy of Pastor Dahling’s sermon from this morning (May 12, 2002); today’s church bulletin (May 12, 2002); Decatur Daily Democrat (Friday, May 10, 2002); a Sacajawea dollar (2000); and a German coin.