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Mount Zion Lutheran dedicates new ministry space

Members of Mount Zion's Senior Choir conclude a performance with a benediction. From left are Cindy Saathoff, Kim Pilarski, Bill Montgomery, Chris Gustafson, Steve Gerdts, Robin Arneson, Roger Christopher, Kay Montgomery, pianist Deb Tonsager and director Craig Gustafson. Photo by Randy Hanson1 / 3
Open house guests were treated to tasty hors d'oeuvres, served from an attractively decorated table. Photo by Randy Hanson2 / 3
The new high-ceiling commons of Mount Zion Lutheran Church was opened to the public last Sunday afternoon. Photo by Randy Hanson3 / 3

The congregation of Mount Zion Lutheran Church dedicated a 12,000-square-foot ministry addition on Sunday afternoon, and then hosted an open house for members of the community to have a look at it.

The 34-foot high commons is the centerpiece of addition, with 2,000-square-foot of floor space, glass entrance on both ends and clerestory windows above.

The addition also features a bright fellowship hall, a well-equipped kitchen, offices, restrooms and a nursery on the upper level. The lower level provides a large youth room, Sunday school rooms, a music room, restrooms and storage space.

The church was organized in 1895 by a group of Swedish Americans. Its original name was the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Zion church.

The congregation's first church building, built in 1901, was located at 1024 Fourth St. Cornerstone Church now occupies that building.

The name of the church was changed to Mount Zion Lutheran when it moved up the hill to the present location at 505 13th St. So.

While the church still celebrates its Swedish heritage, the congregation is now comprised of people of a variety ethnic backgrounds.

Pastor Brian Ferguson hopes the improved facilities will attract more people from the surrounding neighborhood to come to the church for fellowship and worship.

The long-range plan is to replace the existing sanctuary with a new one, completing a cruciform (cross-shaped) layout of the church.