Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church- The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
155 2nd Avenue* Westwood, New Jersey * 201-664-1325
Sunday Worship Schedule: 8 & 10:15 a.m., last Sunday of the month one service at 9:30 a.m.
Office hours: open 9:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
Dear Friends in Christ,
It is with terrible sadness that I inform you that Zion Lutheran School will be closing its Kindergarten through 8th grade program at the close of this present school year. This was a difficult decision which was decided at the special Congregational Voters Assembly on May 4, 2014 (53 votes to close, 23 votes to remain open, 10 abstentions.) The Administrative Board had given prayerful and thoughtful attention to the matter over the course of these past several years. It is the responsibility of the Ad Board to bring its recommendation to the voters, and the Ad Board recommended this option.
Whereas I am certainly saddened, I am also well aware that to move forward with fewer than 18 students in nine grades would be almost impossible.
You should be aware that I am working with our school families and our teaching staff to assist them with further direction to the best of my ability. We will be publically recognizing the devotion and care of our staff at our graduation service. You will be receiving a separate letter regarding the details of this recognition.
Please note that our nursery program continues operation at our school building and it is my sincere hope we grow even stronger. We have already begun exploring areas of expanding our ministry outreach, not only through nursery, but in other areas as well.
It is my fervent prayer that even as one of the major facets of our mission outreach comes to a close (at least for now), we can be forward looking and explore new opportunities.
We are not abandoning Christian education as a primary mission focus, we are reworking it hopefully by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Please keep all of staff and workers in your prayers.
Pastor Thomas J. Pranschke
Some notes from Pastor Pranschke . . .
First of all, I want to say a huge “thank you” to everyone who has supported Zion Lutheran School throughout these past many years. There are a number of heroes who have carried on this vital ministry in our area, and by so doing, have provided a solid Christian education and a quality education for so many young people in attendance. I could not even begin to list all of those people, but I give thanks to God for all of them!
In thinking about our ministry together I am well aware that we have made a major decision in closing our K—8 program. I know it brings pain to many and we need to take the time to mourn and assist those in transition as best as possible. Change is never easy. I know that from many personal experiences. Several years ago I came across an interesting , and I believe, helpful piece of history. It is about the Monument to the Boil Weevil. A portion of that is reprinted below. It relates to us in that we will now move forward and consider new ventures in ministry.
“The boil weevil (Anthonomus grandis) was indigenous to Mexico, but appeared in Alabama in 1915. By 1918 famers were losing whole cotton crops to the beetle. H.M. Sessions saw this as an opportunity to convert the area to peanut farming. In 1916 he convinced C.W. Baston, an indebted farmer, to back his venture. The first crop paid off their debts and was bought by farmers seeking to change to peanut farming. Cotton was grown again, but farmers learned to diversify their crops2, a practice which brought new money to Coffee County.
Bon Fleming, a local businessman, came up with the idea to build the monument, and helped to finance the cost. As a Tribute to how something disastrous can be a catalyst for change, and a reminder of how the peple of Enterprise adjusted in the face of adversity, the monument was dedicated on December 11, 1919 at the intersection of College and Main Street, the heart of the town’s business district.”
I would recommend that we not rush, but be open to the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us. We have the talent and resources to be a great blessing to our community and to work in bringing the Gospel to thousands in need of salvation. I ask that you keep our mutual ministry in your daily thoughts and prayers.
Below are two photos of our columbarium at Westwood Cemetary. Members, and their family members, are invited to consider this as an option for a final earthly resting place. Contact the church office for details.
Please navigate our website to find out about our many programs and how you can participate.
We also urge you to make use of the 'links' we have posted. They are a gateway to a lot of good spiritual and practical information and comfort.
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You are always welcome at Zion!