Reaching Out

The Mission of Zion Lutheran Church is to help people to become more fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

It all begins with God. God cares for us and expects us to use his caring example to care for others in Christian love. Reaching out to others locally, nationally and globally is a very important part of the Mission of all the members of the church.

Angel Tree Project

Four local non-profit support agencies were the target of Christmas giving at Zion, members chose an Angel from a Christmas tree. Members shopped for women and children involved with: Thea Bowman House (cares for children of low income families), The House of the Good Shepherd (homes for troubled, neglected and abused children of all ages), Hall House (shelter for battered women and children) and Evelyn’s House (safe and nurturing home for young mothers and their babies). About 20 suggested gifts were bought by members and delivered to each agency, including hats, mittens and scarves for all ages.

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Boilermaker Parking

Zion Church reschedules their Sunday morning worship schedule one day a year for the Utica area Boilermaker Road Race in early July. By having only one worship, it allows the church to accommodate parking for members of the community to view the early morning race. Zion members assist with parking and welcome donations of non-perishable food and/or money that is given to the Utica Food Bank.

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Christmas Cards for Shut-ins

Zion members who are no longer able to attend church are remembered at Christmas with a friendly greeting and reminder that they are in the thoughts and prayers of the congregation.

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Fair Trade Products

Zion members began their support of Fair Trade products during 2006 recognizing that more of the earnings of the sale of the products goes directly to the growers. The sale of decaffeinated and regular coffee, tea and chocolate are helping small-scale coffee growers in many areas of the world. Micah 6:8 calls us, as Christians to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly. This Lutheran World Relief Project helps Lutherans answer that call by righting the injustices faced by small-scale farmers around the world.

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Garden Ministry

During central New York’s summer growing season, Zion members who have gardens share from their abundance by bringing flowers, fruits and vegetables to the church. A table is set up where members can help themselves to the items leaving donations that then go to World Hunger. This has developed into a very active ministry benefiting the giver, the receiver and the hungry around the world.

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Greater Utica Food Bank

Zion members support the Greater Utica Food Bank on a weekly basis by bringing in donations of non-perishable food items. Children bring up the bags of food at the time of the offering during worship.

Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of special need for people using the Food Bank. Members monetary contributions throughout the year help to purchase hams, turkeys, chicken and enough food to make a complete holiday meal. Zion Church is the largest contributor in the area of meat and food products to help families in need to have food for the holidays.

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Habitat for Humanity (Oneida County)

Members of the congregation have been involved with Habitat for Humanity homes being built in Oneida County in 2003, 2004, and 2006. Pastor Roger Beiswenger was asked to offer prayers at the building site, volunteers have helped with the Blitz Builds, Zion members have also coordinated and supplied food for the workers on the site and others have helped out with the building process whenever their time allowed. The congregation has also supported Habitat for Humanity with their financial support.

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Hartwig Missionaries

Click here to learn more about the Hartwig’s and their work in Tanzania.

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Heifer Project International

Zion’s Social Ministry focuses on Heifer Project during January, February and March each year. The goal is to raise $2,500.00 each year, to make us eligible for a matching grant that would enable us to purchase an Ark. The money goes to buy animals for families to raise and share with others in third world countries giving all the families a better quality of life.

Awareness of Heifer Project is done through the children’s message as puppets enlighten and encourage understanding and giving in both adults and children.

Click here to learn more about the Heifer Project International.

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Mnene Mission Support

Zion Lutheran Church has partnered with the parish at Mnene by providing used clothing for infants, children and adults. Packages of clean summer and winter clothing in very good shape are shipped out to Mnene a few times a year as they are needed. The clothing is distributed through the Mnene hospital and Mnene Parish.

Zion has received many letters of thanks and appreciation for the clothing items sent.

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Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees is an agency of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services that helps families coming into the United States to learn the English language, find housing, get a job and familiarize refugees with the day to day life in America.

The key difference between an immigrant and a refugee is, an immigrant chooses to leave his/her country of origin. A refugee is compelled to seek asylum in another country for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Zion Lutheran Church has been connected to a refugee family and has helped them to get settled in the Utica area. Providing a warm welcome to our area with food, clothing, furnishings, transportation help, help to familiarize them with, shopping, banking and social opportunities are just some of the ways members have volunteered their time and talents.

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Simple Gifts

On the first Sunday in November Zion members of all ages are encouraged to experience the joys of Christmas giving in a very simple way. Focusing on Jesus instead of numerous costly gift giving is done at the annual Simple Gifts Sunday. Children and adults enjoy making small craft items to be given as gifts.

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Spring Remembrance Project

Members of Zion who are no longer able to attend worship at the church and are home bound or in nursing homes are remembered with a special gift and note that is delivered by one of the church members. Remembering the importance of the elder members of the congregation is an annual event.

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World Hunger

Zion members focus on World Hunger during July, August and September ending their yearly campaign on World Hunger Sunday in mid October. The third Sunday of each month members are asked to put their coins or dollars into a world globe or to use the offering envelopes in the pews to make their donations. Also donations collected from the Garden Ministry are included with the annual amount collected and sent to feed the hungry in our world.

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Your Neighbors

The Your Neighbors program provides meals, transportation and a friendly connection with the world outside for many people who are hombound in the Utica area. Volunteers cook food and prepare meals stored in Zion’s freezers and are then delivered to homebound persons in need of food. Church members work together at an annual summer cook-in, when meal supply is typically low. Personal friendships have developed between the homebound and the volunteer who bring meals, provide transportation to doctor visits or shopping trips. People who fall through the cracks of other programs often benefit by the generosity of this program that serves the people of the greater Utica area. Some Zion members are actively involved as Your Neighbors volunteers, other members choose to support this non-profit organization with their monetary contributions.

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To learn more about our Social Ministry click here.

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Please refer questions to Helga Morrison ph-732-4110 or email