Who We Are
We are a welcoming and inclusive community of Christians who gather in the name of the triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We welcome all people regardless of external differences for we are all one in Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded in 1753, has a rich history. The church is easily recognized by its location just one block west of the town square on West Main Street in Hummelstown. The brownstone exterior and beautiful stained glass windows give the building its character and charm. However, the real personality of the church is shaped by the people who gather for worship, Christian Education, outreach projects, and other ministries that serve in the name of Jesus Christ.
Our worship community gathers to confess our sins and to receive God’s grace in the forgiveness of sin, to hear the Word of God and to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We are sent to share the good news of Christ and to serve others in His name.
All people are welcome to receive the gifts of Christ’s body and blood in the bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper (the Eucharist). We believe that Christ is present, in, under and through the blessed elements of bread and wine.
Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546), a German theologian who challenged the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church at that time. His questions and arguments escalated into a separation from the Roman Catholic Church. Lutheran became the name associated with those who agreed with Luther’s convictions.
A summary of our Confession of Faith, as outlined in Chapter 2 of the church constitution is:
We confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, that is, God took on our nature and lived on earth in the person of Jesus, God’s only Son. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God makes a new creation. We accept the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith and life.
We profess our faith in the words of the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. We accept the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel. We also accept the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord.
We confess the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church of God’s mission in the world.
First Time Visitor?
We welcome you to Zion. We trust that your worship experience is spiritually uplifting, that you are nourished in hearing the Word of God and celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and that you are warmly welcomed. Please take a moment to complete a “Visitor’s Card” and introduce yourself to the Pastor following worship. Let this first time visit be the beginning of a new relationship with the people of God who have come to know Christ and are sent out to serve others as “God’s Hands.”
When you enter the church, here are some things to expect.
The Sanctuary is a large, beautiful worship space complemented by stained glass windows along the outside and back walls. The marble altar and the cross draw the eyes from the back of the worship space to the front Chancel area. As one continues to survey the space, the pipes for the organ, the choir area and the organ console come into view. There are two “bump out” spaces along the outside aisles. One space holds the Chapel where the 9:45 worshippers gather (and overflow into the adjacent pews). The other space holds the larger than life Christmas tree in the Advent/Christmas Season.
At the Sunday 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. worship services, an usher will greet you, provide a bulletin to guide you through the worship service, and respond to your questions. A list of helpful worship notes is found on the inside cover of the bulletin. Both services are musical settings of the liturgy along with hymns. Communion distribution is continuous by table. Ushers will direct you to the communion rail by the center aisle. Please pick up a cup for wine, and if needed, a gluten free wafer and/or a glass of white grape juice. Carry your item(s) to the rail, stand or kneel as you are able, and receive the elements of Christ’s body and blood from the pastor and lay assistant. When finished, place your cup in the container on the padded shelf at the front pew and return to your pew by the side aisle.
At the Sunday 9:45 a.m. worship service, please gather in the front area of the Sanctuary. An offering plate and bulletins are found on the small table near the Chapel space. Please take a bulletin and place your offering in the plate before or after worship. This service is spoken and informal so please feel free to dress casually and be comfortable as you worship the Lord. Communion distribution is continuous by intinction. Receive a wafer from the pastor, move to the lay assistant to dip you wafer into the chalice of wine (intinction). Return to your pew.
Experience worship with us and you’ll want to return for more spiritual nourishment and friendly people. May God bless you in your spiritual journey and search for a new church home.
Our Pastor, The Rev. Lois K. Van Orden
Our pastor joined us on November 8, 2015 after serving St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania for nearly nine years. Pastor Van Orden is truly enjoying her time with Zion as the Intentional Interim Pastor to help the faith community through a period of transition.
Ordained ministry is a second career for Pastor Van Orden. After a career in business management with the former Pennsylvania Blue Shield (now Highmark) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Pastor Van Orden responded to God’s call to serve the Church. She graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTSG) in Gettysburg in May 2005 and was ordained on June 10, 2005 for her first call at St. James Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
God was not done with calling Pastor Van Orden to use her gifts and skills from her business career. In October 2013, Pastor Van Orden enrolled in training for intentional interim ministry with the National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors (NALIP) network. She received her certificate in May 2014 and is certified under the NALIP and KAIROS programs. She resigned her call at St. Paul’s Dillsburg to realize her call as an intentional interim pastor and to serve Zion Hummelstown.
Pastor Van Orden earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics at the University of Pittsburgh. Her love of music and service as church organist led to a Certificate of Church Music from Lebanon Valley College in 1997. God’s call to ordained ministry persisted after a life-changing mission trip to El Salvador in March 2000, followed by enrollment at LTSG in 2001.
Her husband, Dean, retired from the Bureau of Air Quality (BAQ), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection in May 2015. After returning to BAQ as a part-time employee to assist with special projects, he retired “for good” in December 2016. Their two young adult children, Philip and Elizabeth, have embarked upon careers outside of their home in Carlisle. Philip is a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, serving in Vilseck, Germany and married to Sara, a German citizen who speaks English fluently. They enjoy two dogs, Fritzi and Lena and a cat, Winston. Elizabeth graduated from Pratt Institute with a Masters in Architecture in May 2015. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her beloved cat, Stanley, and works for an architect firm in Manhattan, focusing on lighting design.
Pastor Van Orden enjoys quilting, gardening and traveling with her husband to visit their “children” and to other venues. When she is at home, her four cats, Jack, Izzy, Emma and Kitty, demand her attention.
Margaret Wilson, Chair, Property Committee
Rich Weiss, Vice President
Cindy Shingler, Chair, Worship & Music Committee
Timothy Bastian, Chair, Technology Committee
Francis Gruber, Chair, Stewardship Committee
John Kiessling, Chair, Communications Committee
Susan Templin, Volunteer Ministry Coordinator
Patrica M. Graybill
All Staff members may be contacted by calling the church office at 717-566-2589
Vilma Linde, Parish Administrator
Vilma came to Zion through JFC Temps in late November 2016. She joined the staff in late March 2017 and Zion is truly blessed by her presence and gifts.
Vilma shares a little bit about herself. I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Hudson County, New Jersey which is right across from New York City. For almost ten years, I was an Army wife and thoroughly enjoyed it because of the different people I have met. Sadly, my late husband, SSG John D. Linde was killed in action on his 2nd tour to Iraq in 2007. Consequently, one defining aspect about me is that I became a widow at the age of 29, while stationed at Ft. Drum, NY, and our daughter Victoria was almost 8 years old. Johnny and I dreamed of moving to Pennsylvania to lay down some roots for our daughter and to be close to a military installation. This is how Victoria and I ended up in the area for the past nine years. Although I’ve worked and been a part time college student at times, my focus has been to care for my daughter. Fast forward and time has flown by. Victoria is now 18 years old and a freshman at Penn State – Middletown as a Pre-Med student! I am very proud of her. Then, there is my 132 pound American Bulldog, Zeus to wrap up my family. For leisure, I like to attend the Hershey Bears games, shopping at the outlets and dining at local restaurants are my favorite things to do. I am happy to serve the Zion congregation as your church secretary and am looking forward to a productive partnership.
Susan Schrack Wood, Minister of Music
Susan joined the Zion staff July 1, 2017 following the retirement of Sally Cummins. She left a position with Christ United Methodist Church, Jacobus after ten years of service as organist/choir director. Susan will continue in the part-time position as associate director and accompanist for the York Symphony Chorus/Chamber Singers which she has held for the past ten years.
Susan comes to Zion with a broad base of educational and practical experience as a church musician. She grew up in a liturgical church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Harrisburg. In her adult years, Susan served at St. Stephen’s as the leader for vocal and instrumental music for Celtic Eucharist services.
Educational studies include a minor in organ and vocal music at Syracuse University with a major in broadcast journalism. Graduate studies at Towson University focused on environmental sciences and on health science at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Susan’s experience with adult and children choirs, bell choirs and instrumental ensembles adds to the multi-level programming of Zion’s music ministry. We welcome Susan with great joy and look forward to a lasting relationship with this faith community.
Cherie Pedersen, Director, Zion Lutheran Preschool
Cherie has served as the Zion Lutheran Preschool Director since 2011. She brings a wealth of educational and practical experience to this position. Her leadership has brought about significant changes in the curriculum which emphasize experience-based learning that boosts confidence in young children and teaches them to be lifelong learners. Faith based curricula is used for all age groups.
In addition to her director responsibilities, Cherie teaches the four-year-old children, bringing much energy and enthusiasm to these early learners.
Cherie holds two teacher certifications from the State of Pennsylvania: a Special Education certification from Albright College and a Secondary Social Studies from Millersville University. Her undergraduate studies were at Franklin and Marshall College where she received her liberal arts degree in government. Most recently, Cherie earned a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University with an emphasis in Emotional Support.
A broad spectrum of practical experience contributes toward a successful preschool program at Zion. Cherie has worked with the Capital Area Children’s Center – A Service of United Cerebral Palsy of Central Pennsylvania in Camp Hill (UCP) and Steelton-Highspire School District in Emotional Support and Learning Support classrooms.
Cherie first experienced the Zion Lutheran Preschool in 2009 when she joined the teaching staff in the three-year-old classroom and enrolled her son in the preschool 3-year-old room. Besides spending time with her husband and three children, she enjoys reading, board games, traveling and the outdoors.
Jim and Deb Friedel, Sextons
We are richly blessed with two faithful servants who maintain and clean the church property. Jim and Deb have been with Zion since January 2006. In addition to daily cleaning, they mow the lawn and keep the sidewalks safe in the winter along with attending to unexpected problems that arise from time to time. You will find Jim at the church every Sunday (except an occasional vacation weekend) opening and closing the building for worship services.
Before coming to Zion, Jim worked at Snap On Tools as an Electronic Tech and Deb was self-employed as a provider of cleaning services. Deb recently resigned her desk attendant position at SpringHill Suites in Hershey to dedicate her attention to the church.
During their off-time, Jim enjoys the golf course and Deb likes to shop for antiques. They keep busy with maintaining their house and visiting with family.
Jim and Deb are truly gems who give sparkle and shine to the church – all the time!
Sue Templin, Volunteer Coordinator
Lynn Knepp, Treasurer
John Long, Financial Secretary
Mission and Strategic Plan
- To be united as a living body of believers in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior.
- To strengthen the faith and witness of our members.
- To enable all members to participate in and support the total ministry of the congregation.
- To serve all persons according to their needs.
- To join other Christians in proclaiming the Gospel to all.
- To be an instrument of healing among persons, families and nations.
A strategic plan was developed and approved by the Congregation at the February 28, 2016 Annual Meeting. The three goals are:
- Communicate with integrity and accountability that earns the trust of the congregation.
Planning tactic: user friendly website and alternate method for those who are not computer savvy.
Key Priority: Improve means by which we disseminate information.
- Restore the soul of Zion, broken and betrayed by the offense of sexual misconduct of two pastors ago.
Planning tactic: Individual and small group meetings with the pastor for healing.
Key Priority: Gentle opening of the wounds to bring about healing and restore congregational trust.
- Begin discussions of social issues impacting our church and develop Zion’s response with policy development.
Planning tactic: Start with small group discussions.
Key Priority: Address Zion’s hospitality toward same gender unions and refugees.
More to come….
About the ELCA
Learn more about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by using this link: