Many of Bergen County New Jersey’s earliest settlers were Lutherans. Originally these settlers had to attend church in New Bridge (Hackensack / River Edge area) or Remmerspack (now Mahwah) at the Ramapough Lutheran Church. As the Saddle River valley became more settled, the Lutherans organized a local congregation, and every fourth Sunday they used the Reformed Church in Upper Saddle River for worship. This arrangement did not last long and services where then held at the home of Thomas Van Buskirk, using the barn in the summer and the garret (attic) in the winter.
In 1819 the congregation decided to build a church. Andrew Esler, chairman of the building committee, designed the church. The land was donated by Thomas Van Buskirk and David I. Ackerman. The corner stone was laid on October 4, 1820. A bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, a bible and a hymn book were placed within the stone. On October 14, 1821, the Rev. Dr. Schaeffer preached the dedication of the new church building. The new church was named the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saddle River and Ramapough. In 1900 the name was changed to Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saddle River. It is the oldest church building in Bergen County and the sixth oldest church in New Jersey to be associated with a Lutheran congregation.