History of Hosanna Lutheran Church
Hosanna Lutheran Church is a member congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America . The center of its life is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we are saved by God’s grace through faith, and this is not our own doing, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
In 1977, the American Lutheran Church was authorized to develop a Lutheran presence in southwest Licking County. A group of thirteen families began to survey the community and to determine the manner of Hosanna’s organization. In October of 1977, Pastor Wayne Zavotka accepted the call to serve as Hosanna’s pastor. He retired in the summer of 2011 after serving 34 years in this position.
Hosanna’s first worship service and Sunday School occurred at the old Etna School on January 8th, 1978. That same month, the church was named Hosanna, meaning “God saves.”
In October of 1979, the congregation moved into its first building at the present site. Sunday School and fellowship space was soon needed and an addition was completed in 1989.
In 1991, the Hosanna Lutheran Childhood Center was born. Nationally accredited, it now offers classes five days a week, morning and afternoon. Lori Butts, Director, and six teachers welcome their students daily.
In January 1999, Deborah Dingus came to Hosanna as its second pastor on staff. A former camp director and program developer, Pastor Dingus started numerous programs in children, family and multi-generational ministries. In 2004, Pastor Deb left Hosanna and accepted a call to be senior pastor at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in West Chester, Ohio. She now works as an Executive Director for the United Way.
In February 2005, Pastor Ann Marie Winters came on board to serve with Pastor Wayne on our pastoral staff. She brought the gifts of hospitality, listening, leadership and a commitment to building the discipleship of God’s people. In January 2011, Pastor Ann Marie Winters accepted a call to serve as pastor to a congregation in Warren, Ohio.
In June 2011, Pastor Wayne Zavotka retired after serving Hosanna Lutheran Church for nearly 34 years. A special retirement ceremony was held at the church on June 26, 2011. Pastor Wayne, and his wife Susie, moved to Massachusetts where their older daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren live.
From July 2011 through April 2012, Al Laese, a retired pastor who served numerous congregations during his career and who resides in Roseville, Ohio, came out of retirement to serve as Interim Pastor.
In May 2012, upon completion of the selection process and approval by the congregation, Bret Rizzo became Hosanna’s Second Lead Pastor.