Zion Lutheran Church celebrates its heritage with annual Germanfest – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Zion Lutheran Church celebrates its heritage with annual Germanfest

Zion Lutheran Church, Vassar, Kan., will celebrate its German heritage with a special event planned by members 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. The community event is open to the public.

Members of Zion Lutheran Church from left to right, Toni Wendling, Donna Silver and Larry Wendling dressed in authentic German attire for the church’s Germanfest celebration. Courtesy photo.

German bierocks, potato salad and strudel will be featured menu items during the event. Live polka music by “The Alpen Spielers” will be provided during the day with a beer garden touting authentic German beer. Hand-crafted items will be offered for sale by local vendors. Also, a children’s area with German themed activities will be available.

There is no admission charge at the celebration, which is held on the square block area to the west of Zion Lutheran Church in Vassar.

The church was formally organized almost 130 years ago in 1893 as “Die deutsche evangelishche lutherische Germeinde ungeaenderter Augsburgischer Knfession zu Vassar, Osage County, Kansas,” translated to English, “The German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the unaltered Augsburg Confession.”

However, the beginnings of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church were in 1884. Several Lutheran families in the area of the not yet organized town of Vassar, which was platted in 1886, requested that the Lutheran minister Rev. F. Pennekamp from St. John’s Lutheran Church, in Topeka, Kan., come to preach God’s Word and baptize their children.

The first divine service was held in the home of Fred Matthias on March 30, 1884. Zion built its first church building in 1899, a white wooden structure, on the northeast corner of its present property in Vassar. It was at this building’s dedication on Nov. 12, 1899, that English was used for the first time in a service at Zion in Vassar.


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