Zion Lutheran Church (Swedish), Oil City, was organized on April 30, 1897 by Swedish immigrants who sought to retain their Swedish heritage by building a church of their own. There were 34 charter members. In 1902, the church incorporated under the name “Swedish Evangelical Zion Lutheran Church” and became a member of the New Your Conference of the Augustana Synod. The original cornerstone read “Swedish Lutheran Church.” Swedish was, in fact, the official language of this congregation until 1925. In that year, the annual congregational meeting was held in English for the first time. As late as 1940, an occasional Swedish worship service was held. In 1952, through legal action, the name “Swedish” was dropped and the church became known as “Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.”
The foundation for the sanctuary was dug on July 16, 1906 and the cornerstone was laid on September 9, 1906. The building was dedicated on January 27, 1907. In 1955, when it became necessary to expand the educational facilities, a two-story education unit was built through the labor of men of the congregation. This addition was dedicated in November, 1957.
In 1962, Zion joined other congregations in the Augustana Synod as they became part of the newly formed Lutheran Church in America (LCA). In 1988, Zion joined other LCA congregations as they formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Zion is presently part of the ELCA’s Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod.
Zion is a church which confesses the Triune of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and which confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Zion accepts the canonical Scripture of the Old and New Testament as the inspired Word of God, and the confessional writings of the Lutheran Church as valid interpretations of the faith of the church.