A New Pastor at German Church in Brooklyn

Rev. Clint Padgitt (at right, wearing white alb and tippet) welcomes the Rev. Klaus Dieter Gress, the new pastor of Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Photo by Francesca N. Tate via Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Heights welcomed a new pastor on April 29, Rev. Klaus Dieter Gress, reports Francesca Norsen Tate in Brooklyn Daily Eagle. She details the immigrant history of the 163-year-old church.

Neighborhood resident Rev. Bill Paulsen, who served at the church and continues to speak at functions, recalls the first time he found out about Zion Lutheran Church while at Union Theological Seminary. There, his professor of preaching was Dr. Edmund Augustus Steimle, the grandson of the church’s founding pastor.

“At that time, (1983-85) there were lots of German immigrants still. The mission of the church was done mostly in German, and mostly to Germans. And in fact, that’s what kept the church going,” exclaimed Paulsen.

“There was another German-speaking church not far from here, on Schermerhorn Street. Their last German service was on Dec. 7, 1941. Now you remember what happened that day. and after that day, that church did not have any more German services. Well, that church disbanded long before I came on the scene under Pastor Baumann. They did not reach out,” said Paulsen. But at Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church, “it was Germans who kept this church going!”

Go to Brooklyn Daily Eagle for Gress’ remarks, during the welcoming ceremony, on conducting outreach, including in German, and how the language of conduct at Zion Lutheran Church has changed over the years.

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