Our Story

A Timeline of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

July 18, 1882–Zion was founded by five Swedish immigrants who sought to establish in Utah a church based on their Lutheran heritage. The early members met initially at St. Mark’s Episcopal, and later in an adobe house, at 376 East Second South, the congregation’s first home.

1882-1935–Swedish was the language of worship at one weekly service and English twice a month, in 1918 the Swedish service was at 11am and the English the second and fourth Sundays at 8pm.

1885–The first organization at Zion was founded, the Unga Flikornas Syforening, the Young Girl’s Sewing Society, the predecessor of WELCA.

1886-1891–Zion’s first building completed at the Second South site, Zion’s home until 1956; the bell which still calls worshipers at Zion was purchased from a Swedish foundry in 1886.

1902 and 1906–Lutheran congregations, offshoots of Zion were founded in Bingham Canyon and Park City.

Spring, 1917–Sunday School children go door to door in the neighborhood to collect money to buy a piano (which is still used in Zion’s High School room!)

Summer, 1912–Zion’s first family campout held in Brighton, Big Cottonwood Canyon.

1925–Adult choir begun under the direction of Bertha Hagenbeck.

August 12, 1926–Members of the Swedish community in Salt Lake City welcomed the Crown Prince of Sweden at Zion. 

Zion Pastors

1882-1883: Pastor S.M. Hill
1883-1885: Pastors Lindblad, Abrahamson, and Edam
1885-1891: Pastor J. A. Krantz
1891-1893: Pastor F. A. Linder
1893-1894: Pastor A.P. Martin
1895-1902: Pastor P.A. Aslev
1902-1909: Pastor E. Rydberg
1909-1915: Pastor Erik Floreen
1915-1920: Pastor O.B. Hanson
1921-1929: Pastor Carl A. Glad
1929-1930: Pastor Roy B. Carlson
1930-1936: Pastor Philip A. Leaf
1939-1942: Pastor Carl B. Anderson
1942-1946: Pastor Thomas Wersell
1946-1949: Pastor John E. Allen
1950-1957: Pastor Eric N. Hawkins
1957-1970: Pastor Neale Nelson
1971-1975: Pastor Morgan Edwards
1975-1992: Pastor Harold T. Nilsson
1992-Present: Pastor Steve Klemz 1995-1998: Pastor Greg Harbaugh
2001-2006: Pastor Joel Nau

June 3, 1928–The pipe organ used at Zion until 1980 was dedicated.

July, 1932–Zion held a gala 50th anniversary celebration.

July 18, 1937–The first Greater Zion Day was held to commemorate the founding of the congregation. This picnic event is still held outdoors annually at Zion.

1943-1944–Zion honors its servicemen with an honor roll of those serving and a memorial service for Ensign Lyle A. Erickson, the only member to be killed in action.

January 1, 1950–The Altar Guild was established.

August 6, 1950–A congregational meeting approved the purchase of the property where the present building stands.

October, 31, 1954–Groundbreaking for the new church.

April 25, 1957–New church dedicated.

1963–Zion’s membership at an all time high, 991 members.

1968–First women elected to the Congregational Council, Ruth Wells and Marilyn Crockett.

1970–Zion begins its long association with Crossroads Urban Center.

1972–The Parent Co-op Preschool began; it closed in 2000, with the Let Me Shine Preschool debuting in 2002.

November 1975- March 1978–Zion sponsored several refugee families from Vietnam and Cambodia.

September 14, 1980–The present organ was dedicated.

August 6, 1981–The Centennial Committee was formed and held its first meeting, chaired by Robert Utzinger.

Throughout 1982, the congregation celebrated its Centennial, with concerts, former pastors returning, the Centennial banquet and Centennial Worship, and a float in the Day’s of ‘47 Parade.

1980’s–Zion takes part in numerous ecumenical activities including hosting Summer Bible School with All Saints Episcopal.

May, 1989–Utah hosted the Rocky Mountain Synod convention, in Salt Lake City, a first.

June, 1992–Zion conducted the first ever Sky Ranch summer camp for children.

1998-2000–In Christ a New Creation program, to promote faith, and action and to raise funds for the new addition to the church building.

Spring 1999–Dedication of the new addition to Zion, a multi-year effort in fund raising, construction, and commitment under the leadership of Robert Rice and many others.

2000–The Legacy program, to continue fund raising for the new addition and to promote vision and activity in social issues.

April, 2002–Utah once again hosts the Rocky Mountain Synod convention in Salt Lake City.

January-December 2007–Celebration of Zion’s 125th Anniversary.