CORUNNA — Exactly 155 years after the adoption
of its constitution, Zion 16 Lutheran Church will host its final service
tonight at 7.
“It’s an old, old church,” said Jim Mason, one of the three remaining
members who attend regularly. “They have all passed away, and we’ve not
been successful at recruiting new members.”
Indiana-Kentucky Synod ELCA Bishop William Gafkjen will preside at
tonight’s final service in the church on S.R. 327, between Garrett and
Mason is a lifetime member of the church. He was baptized and confirmed there and has many happy memories.
“The most vivid memories are when I was in Sunday School as a young kid and as I grew up, confirmation classes,” Mason said.
Mason said he also heard stories about how the church was raised off
it its foundation in the early 1940s, and his father and brothers used
horses and slip-scrapers to dig a basement.
He recalled churchwide events such as picnics and trips to Pokagon State Park in the summer.
“Back at that time, we had 60 to 70 members. I can remember times
when the pews were all full,” Mason said. “After 155 years, it’s a big
blow to us.”
Mason said the church has the option of selling the property and already has seen some interest.
“There’s a lot of history in that church,” Mason said. “I’d like to
see it remain a church, but that’s not for me to say. If someone else
can put a good use to it, that‘s what should be done.”
Mason encouraged the public and anyone who has had ties to the church
to attend tonight’s final service. A reception with light refreshments
will take place afterward.