Zoar Moravian to celebrate 150th anniversary Aug. 11

In 1853 a small band of German pioneers came to the new Territory of Minnesota to homestead.
They settled in what is today known as Carver County because it reminded them of the fertile land they had left behind in Germany and Hope, Penn., located eastern Pennsylvania.
In addition to farming their land, the settlers also felt it was important to practice their Christian faith. At first they held services in their homes but soon land was donated by the Jacob Ruediger family. Construction of a church building began and by 1863 the Zoar Moravian Church was built.
The congregation chose its name from the Bible as Zoar was the name of the city where Lot and his daughters sought refuge after fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah. As with most church buildings of this time, it also served as a simple school until a separate school house could be built. In addition to worship, the Moravian focus was on sharing their love of Christ through mission and community service. Mission Festivals held in the fall attracted several hundred visitors from all over the region.
A celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Zoar Moravian Church is being planned for Aug. 11, 2013 at the church. After a worship service, an old fashioned pig roast will be held followed by music, children’s activities and time for “history sharing.” There is no cost to attend and the festivities are open to the community, but a free will offering will be accepted.
The planning committee hopes that by inviting the community to celebrate this historical building which it was entered into the National Historical Registrar in 1980, it will foster an appreciation of the past and give us a vision for tomorrow.
“I love visiting Zoar as a place of contemplation,” said Committee head Valerie Bean Wagner. “It is a place where I can connect with those who have gone before me and I draw strength from being in such a spiritual place.”
Over the years, countless church services, baptisms and weddings have been performed. The congregation was disbanded in the 1940s as most of its members had moved to town and joined one of the regional Moravian churches in Chaska, Victoria or Waconia. Today the church and cemetery is used as a place of reflection, remembrance and celebration. Each year an Easter sunrise services is held at Zoar as well as special celebrations and weddings. During the summer, vesper services are held on Wednesday evenings starting at 7 p.m.
The Zoar Moravian Church is located at 8265 County Road 10, Waconia. Festivities for the day: 9:30 a.m. — worship service, 11:30 a.m. — catered pig roast, 12:30 p.m. — kids’ activities begin, 1 p.m. — historical sharing and music. An historical display will be open all day. An R.S.V.P. for the pig roast is requested but not required by July 20 — contact valerielifecoach@gmail.com.

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