A cherished church

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, May 19, 2009

STACYVILLE, Iowa — Songs will be sung, prayers said and a sermon preached at the 135-year-old Union Presbyterian Church in rural Stacyville, Iowa, on Memorial Day.

A Monday, May 25, worship service, begins at 10:30 a.m. followed by traditional military rites at 11:30 a.m. in the church cemetery.

The public is invited to both services Memorial Day.

Email newsletter signup

Harlan Bisbee, Stacyville’s city clerk, compiled a history of the Mitchell County community’s churches for Stacyville sesquicentennial in 2006 and presented it at a special 150th worship service, July 30, 2006.

According to Bisbee’s research, Union Presbyterian Church was organized in December 1874 by the Rev. Jacob Kolb with 13 charter members.

Before the church was erected, services were held in homes as early as 1859 with the Reverend Charles Vogler.

Prior to building the church, Vogler met with members of St. Peter Lutheran congregation.

The country church was built in 1888 with dedication on Oct. 13, 1888 free of debt and with 12 cents in the treasury.

The last services were held in the church in 1974 with the last pastor, the Reverend Henry Sinning.

The church was put on the National Registry of Historical Places in 1977.

Maurine M. Jackson, who died at the age of 90 in 2003, was born in Union Township, Mitchell County, Iowa, near where the historic country church was located.

Jackson became involved in the maintenance and preservation of the church and its cemetery and was instrumental in having the church listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

For decades, she opened the church each Memorial Day to visitors.

Most recently, Gary and Cindy Ziegler, Lyle, have taken up the responsibilities of maintaining the church and cemetery.

The couple were successful in obtaining a grant from the Mitchell County Development Authority to use proceeds from the Diamond Jo Casino at Northwood, Iowa, to make permanent improvements to the church.

Gary Ziegler’s father, Donald, was the last to be buried in the cemetery.

The Donald Zieglers made restoring the country church their priority.

They even held their golden wedding anniversary in the church in 1998.

The Ziegler families’ ties to the church are rich with church and family history: Six generations of the Donald Ziegler family are buried in the church cemetery.

When it was still functioning as a house of worship, it was one of only three Presbyterian churches in the area: Westminster in Austin and a sister church at Rudd, Iowa were the others.

The Rev. Mike Olmsted, associate pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin, will give the sermon at the Memorial Day worship service.

According to Ziegler, Olmsted and a group of Westminster confirmation youths visited the church for a clean-up day and she invited him to return and preach a sermon.

Union Presbyterian Church is located at 4850 Lancer Avenue, rural Stacyville, Iowa.