Welcome to the heartbeat of Zion Lutheran Church — a place where faith meets compassion, understanding meets curiosity, and tradition meets evolution. As we chart the course of our journey, we acknowledge the richness of our diverse community and the sacred space God has made through us. Herein, we unveil our identity, divided into three integral elements: our core mission, our spiritual ethos, and our commitment to doing God's work in our world. We are not a church built on doctrine; we are a church built on folks seeking God in relationship with one another. We are a harbor for all – those of a variety of faiths and those who doubt. Check out our values below to explore more of what we’re all about.

Core Mission

“The purpose of Zion Lutheran Church is to be a sacred space”

At Zion, we acknowledge the sacredness of all of God’s creation: the sacred in the spring wildflowers blooming, for example. And we acknowledge that for over 125 years, God has been creating a sacred space among the people who call themselves Zion Lutheran Church. It is a sacred and spacious space God has been creating. A space for people’s full selves: their questions, their hopes, their dreams, their stories, their pains, their joys. We are not perfect. We are always learning and growing and living into our best selves. Confessing our sins and receiving God’s forgiveness. When we do this together, whether it’s eating together, worshiping together, doing theology together, or serving our neighbor in need together, God creates sacred space.

flowers beside yellow wall

Welcoming All

“Where people of any faith or no faith hear the Gospel of Christ”

We are ELCA Lutherans. Our founder, Martin Luther, loved a good pint of homebrew over discussing theology. He called these “table talks.” Luther loved paradox. Hence, we are simultaneously saints and sinners as Lutheran followers of Jesus. The sacred space God creates among us can accommodate people of any faith or no faith. We welcome agnostics and atheists to ask their wonderful questions alongside people of faith. We hear the Gospel of Christ in the way of the cross: meeting God in sorrow, pain, and weakness; hearing God’s gracious word manifest in the death of Jesus on the cross; and following Jesus in his death and resurrection.

a group of people holding hands on top of a tree

Our World

“And are spiritually fed to do God’s work in our world.”

God feeds us through excellent music, good preaching, and close relationships on Sundays. But God feeds us in order to send us out for the sake of the world. It’s “our world” God has given us to steward. When it’s “our world,” we recognize that we have a stake in what happens to our houseless neighbor. When it’s our world, we recognize that what we do in this world has an impact not just on “me” but on God and all creation. When it’s our world, God sends us out to do backpack programs, help build homeless shelters, and care for our community’s children in need.

brown wheat field during daytime

Servant Leaders

Meet Our Church Staff

Tyler Beane Kelly


I am a pastor but I don’t like being up on a pedestal. It’s lonely up there! I like messy spirituality, messy questions, deconstructing and reconstructing the faith as the Spirit speaks to us, calls us forward into the future. When I got to Zion back in 2015, the best advice I got from one of our church members is: be yourself. I try to live that out and encourage others to do the same. One of the things that I’ve been discovering is… the challenge of the faith is to be yourself for the sake of others. I have a passion for mental health awareness as that is my own story and the story of my family and am so glad to be a part of a church family where we can talk about that. I have a passion for helping the homeless and regularly spend time with my friends down at the pallet shelter village. I love small group ministry and bible study and the joys of how God moves when we get together and grow together. I love outdoor adventuring in the Gorge with my wife Mairead and our little family, George, 7, and Maeve, 3. At Zion, we’re always growing, making mistakes, offering and receiving forgiveness, and learning how to laugh at ourselves along the way! God’s peace be with you.

Profile picture of Pastor Tyler Beane Kelly
Mary Slemp

Office Manager

I am a Christian, trying to live with Christ’s light shining to those around me. I love God, my husband and my family. I am blessed to be a mother to a daughter and son, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother (Nana) to two beautiful grandkids. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I lived until August of 2016, when I moved to Virginia to join my husband, who had moved there in April of 2016, my children and soon to be born granddaughter. We lived in Virginia until February 2020, when my husband and I followed those grandbabies (and their parents) here to The Dalles, Oregon. I was blessed to be hired on at Zion in late February 2021. I truly believe God brought me here to Zion, to love and serve the wonderful people who worship here. I am hopeful I will spend many years here, making new friends and helping many people along the way.

Profile picture of Mary Slemp Church Secretary
Barbara Haren

Church Pianist

A couple of Zion members attended the fall high school choir concert. I was the choir accompanist for that program. That particular evening in 2004 changed my life when I accepted the position as choir accompanist for Zion Lutheran Church. At the first choir rehearsal, I had a second surprise: The grand piano (Chickering) was the same piano that I had my piano lessons from my mom, who was a private piano teacher! Every time I am at Zion and playing the grand piano, I feel spiritually engulfed with the love of Zion and its family and the musical love of the Yoshimura family.

Barbara Haren church pianist
Garry Estep

Church Organist

I wandered into Zion Lutheran Church a few years ago and was struck by the spectacular pipe organ they have. When the opportunity came to become their organist several months later, I jumped at the chance. But most importantly, the fact that no one in the church seemed to care that I am a gay Buddhist in an interracial relationship really made me feel like I had finally found a spiritual home. Derrick and I were married at Zion Lutheran in September of 2020. 

Garry Estep church organist
Paul Viemeister

Music Director for Adult Choir and Adult Handbell Choir

Paul has been the director since 2004. He brings a wealth of music experience including 45 years as music educator at the secondary level, State of Wisconsin music adjudicator, festival director in two states, and directing high school band/jazz bands in National Festival Competitions in California, Florida and Idaho. Paul has been instrumental in building band programs in four states during the course of his career. He enjoys the musical work and the people he directs at Zion ELCA as well as plays Bass guitar in the Contemporary Worship Band. Paul continues to teach and direct K-12 Music at Arlington School District.