Our Christmas program was the highlight. Everyone had a “piece” to say. It may have been only a dozen words, but it was important to say them loud .

Christmas Memories

Phyllis has known her husband, Len, all of her life. They attended country school together just south of Zion, their families lived across the section from each other.

We’ve been married for 48 years and have four children, Carrie, Kirk, Lee, and Jon. We have 7 grandchildren and 1 step-grandchild.

They now live on the farm Phyllis grew up on, and are dairy farmers.

I help Len in the barn, feeding, milking and cleaning. Our son, Kirk, milks with us too (he practically grew up in the barn) and we grow our own crops.

Phyllis also enjoys gardening, playing piano, and cooking and baking for her family and for sharing with others.

Phyllis and Len both grew up attending Zion with their families, and have deep roots in Zion that reach back to the charter members.

My maternal grandparents and great grandparents were active church goers. They all came from Sweden and were eager to establish a church for their families when they arrived. My parents were instrumental in my faith journey.

I’ve always liked Lamentations 3:22-24

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

This passage reminds me each day is new and God will always provide whatever I need.

We always went to church and Sunday school. I also had some wonderful Sunday school and VBS teachers and confirmation instructors. Dorothy Peterson stands out in my faith journey as she led the Sunday school for many years.

Phyllis taught Sunday school and Bible School from the 1960s to the 1980s. She has also served on the Stewardship Committee, and the Building Campaign for the current building. She plays piano for the noon Lenten services and at nursing homes, has led a devotional service at Lake Ridge Care Center, and is involved with women’s ministry.

I belong to the Naomi Circle and those gals are great! We are like sisters!

Christmas time has always been a highlight of the Zion calendar for Phyllis.

My mother often fondly talked about Christmas when she was young. She was from a family of 12, and some of her siblings had already left home by the time she was born. They attended Julotta, a Christmas morning service and song at 5 or 6am. Everyone would pile into the sleigh and go to town to church. Christmas in homes was simple then, the gathering of the family and enjoyment of good food. Small gifts, a hair bow, an orange, and some candy were given to the children. Christmas at church was certainly the main event.

Our Christmas program was the highlight. Everyone had a “piece” to say. It may have been only a dozen words, but it was important to say them loud, so all could hear! We practiced for weeks ahead, every Saturday morning during the end of November and beginning of December.

We all got a small gift from church. I particularly remember a glow-in-the-dark figure of Jesus and the cross. Later, when in Luther League, we would go caroling. The Christmas Eve service at 11pm was very meaningful and special.

In more recent times, she has been involved in keeping Swedish traditions alive by helping with the Santa Lucia Supper.

Phyllis was a cast member of the historical pageant when Zion celebrated 100 years of ministry in 1966 (as Helga Jonsdotter, pictured below), and is currently serving on the 150th Anniversary Committee.

I’m hoping that 2016 will be an exciting year for Zion, our 150th year, it’s unbelievable. We have so much heritage and Zion has been so alive for all of those years. God has brought Zion to 2016 because He has been with us and guiding us.

There’s always something ‘alive’ at Zion! The talent and dedication that comes from our staff is amazing! We are all so blessed. I look forward to coming to church because I feel connected! Ì

Photo: Cast of the 100th Anniversary historical pageant in 1966. Phyllis is seated on the left end of the front row.

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