History of Zoar Lutheran Church

German settlers, hungry for a Christian home, began worshipping together in Perrysburg in the 1830's, under the leadership of Rev. George Cronenwett. In February 1850, Rev. Cronenwett had formed a congregation called "The German Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession known by the name of Zoar." After a period of time, the group purchased a building in which to worship and also founded a sister congregation in nearby Maumee, St. Paul's.

In 1875, a building on the present site of Zoar was purchased and renovated into a white framed church. For many years, services were conducted primarily in German, but in the late 1800's, Zoar also began offering some worship services in English. In 1917, a new brick church building was completed as the Zoar congregation continued to grow and serve their community.

During the 1920's Zoar made the final switch to English-only services, and Zoar's pastor, Rev. Peter Kluepfel, was instrumental in the formation of the American Lutheran Church in 1930. In 1938, St. Paul's in Maumee called its own full-time pastor and also joined the ALC.

Under the leadership of Rev. E. J. Melchert, Zoar's membership continued to grow in size and in mission. The congregation added an educational unit in 1951. To serve the needs of the congregation and community, an associate pastor joined the staff in 1955. A second mission congregation, Lutheran Church of the Master, also in Perrysburg, was started in 1957. In 1976, to commemorate its 125th anniversary, Zoar began Abundant Life, a facility which provides low-cost independent housing for senior citizens.

Rev. Timothy Philabaum became Zoar's senior pastor in 1993 and oversaw yet another building program which included an expanded and renovated sanctuary, new classrooms, a commercial kitchen, the Family Life Center, and new administrative offices. A second apartment building at Abundant Life was built in 2000 in honor of Zoar's 150th anniversary. In 2007, Rev. Ann Marshall joined the Zoar family as community pastor.

Zoar's present staff includes a senior pastor, a community pastor, a pastoral intern, a director of music, a director of youth ministry, a director of lay ministry, an administrative manager, two secretaries, a custodian, and several part-time choir directors. A Congregational Council of twelve lay persons oversee the church's ministry and mission. More than 2500 people call Zoar their "home congregation."

Throughout its history, the congregation at Zoar has been blessed by the leadership of wonderful laity and pastors. As we look forward to the future, we trust that God will continue to guide our ministry so that through our worship, our witness and our outreach, we will proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ for many years to come. To God be the glory!