TAMAQUA, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) Schuylkill County is a community that likes to hold on to its history.
That’s why one church congregation is choosing to restore a building instead of letting it fall apart.
For the last century, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church has been a vital place of worship in Tamaqua.
“It’s a rare building. Not that many structures like this in town,” Mark Valentine, property chairman of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church said.
But over the years, the building, which is made of granite, lime stone and cement has experienced wear and tear. The cement areas cracking and deteriorating.
“To have to take it down, it would be greatly missed in the community yes,” Valentine said.
Instead of letting the building go, the congregation has been working to give it new life.
Gothic architecture may not be as popular as it used to be but this church is an iconic landmark to the community. So when restoring it, they would like to keep it as close to the original as possible.”
The nearly million dollar restoration project is broken into four phases. This side of the building on North Greenwood Street was rehabilitated during phase one which started in 2017. They recently finished phase two, which repaired the chime tower on Mauch Chunk Street. Congregation members and outside community members have had a hand in getting the restoration project in motion.
“We have gotten gifts from people that who are not members of our congregation and I believe that has occurred because of the iconic nature of our church,” Dave Fetterman, capital campaign chair of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church said.
The church has a capital campaign going on to finance the project. So far, it’s raised about $600,000 from people taking on five and ten year pledges and received 1$00,000 in donations but they still have a ways to go.
The next two phases in the project have not started yet.
If you would like to support their efforts, send their gift to Zion Evangelical Church, c/o Darlene Fetterman, 101 North Greenwood Street, Tamaqua, PA. 18252.
A gift form is available for download at the Zion website http://www.ziontamaqua.com/hp_wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Zion-Faith-Commitment-Form.pdf