It is indeed a pleasure to have you here with us today. We hope that this visit will not be your last and that we can look forward to your becoming a part of our many spiritual, cultural and social activities.
As you take your self-guided tour through our buildings, you should have
a briefing on those pastors who have greatly influenced the mission of this
church. Of the numerous pastors who
have served this congregation, those who prepared the church for the 20th
century must be mentioned. They
were: The Reverend HENRY SCHEIB, who served as
pastor from 1835 to 1896 and the Reverend JULIUS
HOFMANN, who served from 1889 to 1928. Pastor
HOFMANN served with Pastor SCHEIB in his waning years.
What is unique about these three pastors is not only their 93 years of
combined service, but what those years wrought for
Pastor SCHEIB was
a highly educated man, who was not only versed in theology but also in academic
pursuits. He held very liberal views
for his time, many of which brought him under close scrutiny from the church
hierarchy. Yet, he survived their
accusations and went on to give
RESTORATION CAMPAIGN (ZRC) was established in 1989 by our recent pastor
(1985-1999), The Reverend H. J. SIEGFRIED OTTO, and the
The campaign’s mission is twofold:
fund raising and consciousness raising.
To date, we have been very successful and have accomplished the
following: restoration of all the
stained/leaded glass windows, a new green terracotta tile roof for the parish
hall and tower, roof repairs on other buildings, central air-conditioning of the
educational and office areas, cleaning and re-pointing of exterior
refurbishing of the parish hall auditorium (ADLERSAAL).
Also, this campaign has enabled us to strengthen our
We hope to bring to this century what Pastors SCHEIB and HOFMANN brought to the 19th and 20th Centuries, namely continued expansion of our Faith through both The Good News and Good Deeds.
Enjoy our buildings and know that love abounds in every nook and cranny.
1. Statue of St. Stephen. This work model was given to the church by the sculptress, the late Grace Turnbull.
The sanctuary’s stained and leaded glass windows were installed
during the latter part of the 19th Century and the first part of the
20th Century. As you
enter the narthex from the outside, you’ll find two windows celebrating the
contributions of German immigrants to the development of the arts and industry
As you enter the nave, the windows to the LEFT (south wall) depict:
- Jesus blessing the children (Mark -16)
- Luther at his Trial at Worms – “Here I Stand, I Can Do No Other, God Help Me! Amen”
- the Good Samaritan (Luke -37)
- Nicodemus visits with the Lord at night (John 3)
The windows to the RIGHT (north wall) depict:
- The Good Shepherd (John 10:1-30)
- Mary and Martha (Luke -42)
- Mary Magdalen meeting the Risen Christ (John - 18)
- The three graces: Faith, Hope and Love (cf. I Corinthians 13)
- Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42)
Four balcony windows to the LEFT (south wall) depict the Sea of Galilee with a quote from Psalm ….., and to the RIGHT (north wall), the rolling farmlands of northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania with a quote from John 12:24: “Unless a grain of wheat falls in the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears rich fruit.”
The windows behind and above the side
altars (west wall) depict the 4 Evangelists: Matthew,
Mark, Luke and
The central window in the choir loft (east wall)
depicts: Jesus in the Garden
3. The present sanctuary pews were purchased in 1840, and metal plates indicate the individual or family who rented them, e.g., Herr Otto Schmidt. The crude wooden kneelers were not originally used for that purpose. Legend has it that bricks, heated and wrapped in sack cloth by servants, were placed on the kneelers to ensure extra foot warmth. In addition, doors on the pews kept out drafts.
The Altar area: Our
Lutheran doctrine and liturgy places emphasis on the balance of “Word and
Sacrament”, preaching and communion. The
church’s earlier pastors placed a higher emphasis on preaching “The Word”,
symbolized by the massive central
pulpit (built in 1840) overshadowing the relatively small Altar table. Only the
central Altar is used for communion. The present Altar table was placed in 1972,
allowing the Pastor to stand behind it facing the congregation. Previous central
Altars were kept as side altars, the left one with a marble top representing the
The reredos (altar back wall) was created in 1930 by the German wood carver Hans Eckstein. Its two martial looking statues represent ST. MICHAEL, the archangel and patron saint of Germanic nations (left), and ROLAND, the mystic medieval knight, with the Stars and Stripes and the coat of arms of the state of Maryland (right). Roland being a symbol of civil liberty found in many German cities (notably
The present pulpit was erected in 1840.
Lutheran doctrine does not support the central position of the pulpit; it
was Pastor SCHEIB’S decision to assign it such a place of prominence.
Legend has it that the pulpit was built to represent a ship’s bridge,
which is accessible from both sides. Atop
the pulpit is a “crow’s nest”, giving the entire superstructure the look
of a sailing ship. As German
immigrants, the parishioners could identify with the perilous journey and
God’s protection until they reached safe harbor in
6. Luther’s portrait is behind the hanging cross and dorsal curtain. In 1902, a massive reproduction of Lucas Cranach’s painting of Luther was affixed to the wall above the pulpit. Stenciled to the right and left of the painting were the words: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” In 1972, the hanging cross was installed, ending all viewing of the great reformer. Now we could no longer be accused of praying to Martin Luther.
The baptismal font was given in 1905 by Frank Steil, owner of
Steil’s Brewery in
8. The altar and pulpit paraments were hand-embroidered, most likely by members of the Ladies Aid Society.
9. The HOFMANN memorial Library contains about 15,000 volumes. The stained glass windows depict Pastor Hofmann’s three main areas of interest: “Dichtung” (Literature/Poetry), “Gottesgelahrtheit” (Divinity), and “Geschichte” (History). Some of these books date back to the 16th Century.
The bell tower houses 3 bells, named Faith (the largest), Hope
(the middle size), and Love (the smallest).
The steel bells were cast in
The furniture in the bell tower vestibule was a gift from two
parishioners. The exquisite
grandfather clock was made by local jeweler and clock maker E.P. CALLOW.
The two fine Philadelphia Chippendale chair replicas came from the
BAUERNSCHMIDT FAMILY, owners of several breweries in
The walled garden provides a safe haven for office workers from
the surrounding area to take their lunches.
In 1989 and 1990, the local weekly The
City Paper gave it a special garden award.
A stroll through the garden can make you feel you are either transported
back in time or to a quiet spot in
The sandstone eagle above the parish hall door is a double eagle,
with the smaller German Imperial Eagle at the breast of the larger American Bald
Eagle. This symbolizes the German
immigrant at the heart of American life and culture.
The sculptor was HANS SCHULER, the man who also sculpted the Martin
Luther statue at
The wall tile presentation entitled: “BIBLE IN TILE” is the
first and one of the largest in the nation.
This type of Moravian pottery was created by the renowned Dr. Henry
Chapman Mercer (1856 -1930). The
15. The eagle under the arches is constructed of wood with hundreds of brass tacks. Each tack represents a contribution for aid to the German and Austrian Red Cross at the beginning of World War I, prior to the 1917 US involvement in that war. The eagle represents the German Imperial Eagle with the emblem of the Red Cross. Legend has it that the late Cardinal Gibbons purchased a tack and hammered it into the plaque. Prior to its present location, the plaque was located in the center of the parish hall auditorium, thereby giving the room the name ADLERSAAL (Eagle’s Hall).
The graves of former pastors lie within the garden area.
The Reverend Siegfried Gerock and son, who served ZION CHURCH from 1785
– 1787; and The Reverend Johann Nicolas Kurtz, father of Pastor Johann Daniel
Kurtz (1785 – 1833), and one of America’s early Lutheran clergy pioneers, is
buried here. The style of the grave
site is common for that period.
A piece of the BERLIN WALL is a part of
A memorial to Pastor HENRY SCHEIB as a scholar was presented by
his former students. Although a
catechetical school was present in the 18th Century, the more refined
academic portion did not begin until 1836 and closed in 1895.
This school was known locally as “SCHEIB’S SCHOOL” after our
renowned pastor and offered a bilingual curriculum.
The school reached its zenith in 1871, when 800+ students were enrolled.
Its decline in popularity began in 1873 with the teaching of German in
public schools. The 3-story school
was razed in 1928 to make way for the church parking lot. The old school
19. The ADLERSAAL (EAGLE’S HALL) is the parish hall’s auditorium, which is styled after the Medieval guild hall. Guilds were forerunners of today’s unions. They were brotherhoods grouped by various vocations, e.g., joiners guild, iron smiths guild, etc. They protected the interests of their members, but also set standards for training and quality workmanship. The stenciled wall decorations relate to Christian symbols (e.g., the rose, a symbol for Christ as well as Lutheranism. The owls are symbols of entertaining performance and merrymaking.. The ADLERSAAL is regularly used by our congregation, as well as other community groups, for festive occasions.
20. The small balcony in the ADLERSAAL is a musicians’ gallery which kept the musicians and their instruments out of the way of imbibing revelers. The inscription on the balcony reads: “Wonder is the beginning of all knowledge.”
21. The ADLERSAAL’s (EAGLE’S HALL’s) leaded glass windows are unique in that European city seals are exhibited above each window. The selected cities represent those from which the largest number of Germans immigrated. On the outside walls, the 12 astrological signs are painted above each set of 12 double windows. Pastor HOFMANN had the astrological signs placed there as he had patheistic leanings, which included a belief in astrology.
(The following appears below the street-map)
(The following appears below the street-map)
SUNDAY WORSHIP SCHEDULE
9:15 AM German Language Service
10:15 AM Coffee Hour
10:15 AM Sunday School
11:15 AM English Language Service
- German Summer School for Children
- Bible Study Group
- Ladies Aid Society
Community and Cultural Groups, including German-
American Organizations, use our Facilities for Meetings.)
This booklet was originally developed (in May 1992) by David L. Tabler, church member, with historical information supplied by members: Pastor H.J. Siegfried Otto and Dorothy Galway. Updated in 2004 with input from Pastor Roggelin.
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