We Are So Glad You're Here
At Zion Lutheran Church, we are all about Connecting People With God’s Grace. We live in a disconnected world, but God sent his Son to reconnect us. At Zion, we carry on this work with meaningful worship and opportunities for adults and children to learn about God’s love for us. We use the gifts God gave us to help make the world a better place. Zion is a community where people care for each other, and everyone is welcome. We would love for you to visit us in Oldwick, and are thrilled that we are connected with you right now. We pray that you feel God’s grace and love in your life today.
Why We Gather
We come together on Sunday mornings because we find joy in being with one another. We believe that God has called us to gather.
During the summer months, our Communion Worship service is held at 9:30 a.m. All services are livestreamed on our YouTube channel for those wishing to worship from home.
Staff and Leadership
Rev. Kat SteinlyPastor
TBADirector of Youth & Family Ministry
Rod BriscoeDirector of Music
Jenny GelsonParish Administrator
Linda HeldCouncil President
Leah WintemuteCouncil Vice President
John RustwickFinancial Secretary
Chairperson: Melanie Hodges
The Christian Education & Youth team nurtures the children and adults of the congregation through education and fellowship. From pre-school through adulthood, educational opportunities are available to keep our congregation engaged and growing in the life of the faith. Through Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Confirmation Class, Youth Group, and Adult Forum, there is something for all. This group is also charged with keeping all Zion families involved and engaged at Zion. Volunteers should enjoy planning programs/activities and interacting with members of all ages.
Chairperson: Janet Hornich
The Communications Committee works to keep everyone abreast of all that goes on at Zion. From awareness to recruitment, they seek to inform and grow the congregation. Volunteers should be interested in boosting Zion’s online presence and overall communications effort.
Chairperson: Debra Kaufman
Evangelism is a combination of spreading the gospel, sharing Zion’s ministry opportunities, and inviting new people to join us in God’s work. The committee works to create contacts outside the congregation and be present at public events in order to make Zion known to the community. Special attention is given to engaging new members in the life of the church.
Chairperson: Rick Schroeder
The Finance team keeps the books and makes sure they are balanced. They do the budgets, count the dollars and keep us in the black. Mostly committee work, volunteers must be organized and financially minded.
Chairpersons: Eric & Shellie Evers
Women of Zion: Anita Zarate
Parish Life is about connecting to each other and to God’s grace – and having fun and fellowship together whenever possible! In addition to hosting Lenten Parish Night and Advent Parish Night, the committee sponsors a variety of social opportunities for the congregation. Past events have included a trip to the Somerset Patriots baseball game, a Sip & Solve mystery night, and outings to hear live music.
The Women of Zion (WOZ) are a vibrant and special part of Parish Life. WOZ organizes events around four categories for the women of the congregation -- Spiritual Life, Health, Arts & Crafts, and Fellowship. In short, Parish Life and WOZ spearhead the social activities at Zion and would love to have new volunteers in any capacity.
Chairperson: Helen Livingston
The Property committee makes sure that the three Zion buildings (Church, Christian Education Building, Parsonage) and grounds are maintained and in great shape. The committee oversees repairs and improvement of facilities. Volunteers should enjoy a little hard work, be handy, or just want to pitch in.
Chairpersons: Eric & Shellie Evers
Shepherding is all about caring for the congregation and assisting those in need. We have a wonderful card ministry, we provide prayer shawls to those in need of comfort, pray for the sick, offer assistance to those in crisis, visit and deliver flowers to homebound members, and provide food and/or transportation for those who need it. We also love to celebrate good news – like engagements, marriages, and new babies! We welcome all volunteers and new ideas for ways we can support each other.
Chairperson: Rebecca Melick
The Social Ministry committee seeks to reach out to those in need in our local and global community. Social Ministry organizes all the programs Zion offers to the congregation for ministry to those outside our walls. Supporting the homeless through Family Promise, feeding the hungry through Faith Kitchen, packing meals for the needy through Feed My Starving Children, participating in the Giving Tree and Alternative Giving ministries -– these are just a few examples of how you can participate. There is plenty to do. Join the committee or get involved in one of the many ministries. The only qualification for volunteers is that they care about helping others.
Chairperson: Tom Held
The Stewardship committee is responsible for coordinating overall parishioner engagement in the life of Zion. They work primarily through their Time & Talent campaign and annual Stewardship campaign. Volunteers should be organized and be willing to share their faith story, whether by writing articles or by speaking in front of the congregation.
Chairperson: Joanne Rupp
As the name implies, Worship & Music covers all areas of our worship and music at Zion. There are numerous and varied ways to participate for adults and children. With Sunday greeters, acolytes, ushers, assisting ministers, and the altar guild, the Sunday morning worship service needs plenty of support. In addition, if you are musically minded, the Parish Choir and Bell Choir both provide an opportunity for you to share your musical gifts with the congregation.
For over 300 years the Word has been preached and the sacraments administered in New Jersey's oldest Lutheran congregation, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldwick, New Jersey. The congregation is located in north central New Jersey, about equidistant from New York City to the east and Philadelphia to the south.
The congregation's first service was held August 1, 1714, at the home of Aree van Guinee, a dedicated Christian concerned about the spiritual welfare of his family and neighbors. A freed slave, van Guinee was born in Dutch Guinea, Africa.
Church records indicate that the van Guinees had been members since 1705 of the "Dutch" Lutheran congregation in Manhattan - a mix of Germans, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, and others. For them, Dutch had become their common language. Van Guinee later moved his family to the edge of the western frontier (New Jersey) and became a property owner. It is highly likely that van Guinee played a leading role in obtaining a pastor for Zion's first service.
The distinguished New York pastor Justus Falckner, the first Protestant clergyman ever ordained in America, led the worshippers. A Lutheran historian describes Falckner as a man with a particularly amiable, heart-winning personality. When Falckner was away, a lay reader (Vorleser) led the worship. Pickel was a successful farmer and became a prominent participant in the affairs of the Zion congregation and a generous benefactor, the builder of the congregation's first church building.
During Zion's first service - probably held not far from the confluence of the Millstone and Raritan rivers in the later Franklin Township north of Princeton - van Guinee's wife and children were confirmed, and his grandchild baptized. Also attending were at least eight and possibly 19 recent emigrants from Germany.
Most of the charter members of the Zion Lutheran Church were from the Palatinate area of Germany near the Rhine River. They had fled their homeland and its long series of wars and severe tax burdens for the promise of America's colonies. In 1710, over 2,000 Palatinates were resettled in the Hudson Valley. When their intended work project failed, most of them sought prospects elsewhere. Some came into the Raritan Valley of New Jersey.
In the following years, a succession of pastors from Germany tended to irritate more than inspire the congregation. Conflicts ensued. Personalities clashed. Efforts at reconciliation failed. Sometime near 1742, the congregation approached Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, a Lutheran pastor who would later become known as "the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America", for assistance in settling an "unhappy quarrel" with its pastor. The quarrel involved, among other things, a charge of adultery and court-enforced severance pay.
Though Muhlenberg was unable to assist the congregation in speedily ridding itself of its problem pastor, the congregation appreciated his concern for them and turned to him for counsel after the pastor's resignation. He visited the congregation on several occasions, and ensured that one of the Pennsylvania pastors under his authority visited at least several months each year.
In 1759-1760 Muhlenberg and his family resided in New Germantown (modern-day Oldwick) for nearly a year, using this place as a base from which to reach other congregations as well. Muhlenberg's preaching, teaching, pastoral care and native skills with people provided a much needed leadership and healing presence. Muhlenberg set the congregation on a course not only for survival, but outreach and ministry, which continues today.
Sunday Morning Communion Worship
8:30 and 11:00 a.m.
Christian Education Building
Worship Services at the Church
56 Old Turnpike Road
and Parish Office
Christian Education Building
18 Miller Avenue
P.O. Box 41
Oldwick, NJ 08858