Zion’s History

Zion was born as a congregation on November 7, 1866, as a group of Swedish immigrants gathered together at the home of Sven Erickson, led by Pastor John S. Nelson of Watertown for the first meeting of Carlslund Evangelical Lutheran Church (now Zion). That first congregation included 58 members, 27 adults and 31 children.

The Swedesburg or Marysville Church was also organized by Pastor Nelson, in 1873. Each pastor served both churches until 1950 when the Marysville Church joined in with Zion.

  • Historical Tour

    Knowledgeable tour guides will be available at several locations on Saturday, August 13, from 10am to 1:30pm. Guided tours will begin on the half hour at the following locations: 1. Zion Lutheran Church 1200 Highway 25 South This is Zion’s current building, constructed in 1989, with an addition in 2004. 2. Zion Cemetery Intersection of Highway 25 South and 10th St SE (1.3 miles south of Zion)  This is the location of the first two Carlslund Lutheran Church buildings (1870s and 1887), ... more
  • Pastor John Folkerds

    Pastor John FolkerdsPastor John Folkerds served Zion from 1974-2007. One could think of many humorous moments over 32 years and many of them came about through my friendship with fellow Co-Pastor Ed Blair. He was an excellent pastor and a great partner in ministry for over 25 years. We had a close relationship and I liked to tease him from time to time and he was always a good sport about it. One such time occurred at a new member welcome potluck supper ... more
  • Pastor John S Nilson

    Pastor John S NilsonZion’s first pastor was the Reverend John Samuel Nilson. Pastor Nilson was born in  Hallaröd, Malmöhus län, in southern Sweden, in 1829. He came to Minnesota in 1854, studied at St Ansgar’s Academy in Carver, MN (which later became Gustavus Adolphus College), and Augustana College and Seminary in Paxton, IL, and was ordained on June 17, 1866. He first served the Gotaholm congregation, then located a few miles south of Watertown (now Trinity Lutheran). Besides Gotaholm, Carlslund, and Swedesburg, Rev. ... more

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