ONE HUNDRED FIFTY YEARS
n the year 1862, the Civil War was raging: North against South, brother against brother. Battles raged across the nation, as far west as Kansas, and as far north as Minnesota. Illinois was a battleground, belonging to the Union, bordered on two sides by the Confederacy.
And during this same year, in the young town of Kewanee (est. 1854, population 1500), St. Paul's Evangelical-Lutheran congregation was born. Her life began during wartime, and her history has been familiar with troubles and trials. Yet as an early chronicler put it, “In spite of all the troubles and the trials through which the congregation passed, the Lord has never left His people to themselves, but He ever showed Himself as the merciful, long-suffering, and gracious God, whose is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, now and forevermore. Let us rejoice, and praise the Lord!”
The troubles set in almost from the start. In 1862, the Rev. C. A. Mennicke of Rock Island, and the Rev. F. Doescher of Geneseo, canvassed the Kewanee area and found a number of Lutherans living here, so Pastor Mennicke began serving them as missionary and pastor until the following year, when the mission congregation called its first resident pastor, the Rev. H. Lossner. But Pastor Lossner served St. Paul’s only one year. He accepted a call to Missouri on the third Sunday after Trinity in 1864. After some time the congregation became a “preaching station” served by pastors from the sister-congregation at Galesburg, and the next fifteen years were “most unfortunate ones for the congregation. The brethren did not live in peace. Many things, that one would not expect to find in a Christian congregation, greatly hampered the work of the Lord.” Although the first church building, a frame structure, had been erected in 1867, and the corner-stone of that building may still be seen in the hallway, a silent testimony to the years of the long life of the congregation, the early chronicler could not leave unsaid the strife that seems to have overwhelmed the fledgling congregation: “So much could be said of the strange and wonderful ways in which God led His flock. However, because of the trials, tribulations, offenses, oppressions, gross heresies, and schism, with which the congregation was visited, we shall leave the years from 1867-1881 wrapped in obscurity. Suffice it to say the congregation became Evangelical-Reformed, (Uniert), and for a while it was lost to us.”
What this remarkable admission means is that the members of the parish who wanted to be Lutheran were not able to hold the line against the inroads being made by immigrants from churches in Europe who remained under the influence of the Prussian Union. In 1817 (the 300th anniversary of the Reformation), King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia had decreed the so-called Evangelical Union, in effect forcing the Reformed and Lutheran Churches to share altar and pulpit fellowship. The opposition to this on the part of the conscience-bound among both the Lutheran and the Reformed was strong enough to lead ultimately to their emigration to Australia and the United States.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod was one result of this, having been organized in 1847 under the strong confessional Lutheran leadership of Rev. Dr. C. F. W. Walther. But the promise of better economic opportunities and freer social structures led Prussians of all kinds to come to America as well, and the tension of having immigrants of varying religious persuasions living in the same communities across the United States was felt nowhere more acutely than in Kewanee. The chronicler’s poignant references to “things that one would not expect to find in a Christian congregation,” and “trials, tribulations, offenses, oppressions, gross heresies, and schism” leave little doubt as to the heat of the controversy that engulfed St. Paul’s at a very early age. The sad result of that controversy left her Lutheran in name only. She died to the spirit of a genuine confessional Lutheran faith.
But there must have been a faithful remnant, for the record shows that in 1881, after many stormy years, an appeal was made to Dr. Walther himself, who had become President of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, to come to their assistance. Mr. Otto Hohenstein, then a student at the seminary, was sent to serve Kewanee for one year. At the end of his school term the congregation called the Rev. E. Heinemann as pastor. He was installed on the second Sunday after Trinity 1882. But Pastor Heinemann served the congregation only two years and accepted a call to the sister congregation at Geneseo in 1884. In the meantime Mr. Hohenstein had graduated and was serving a congregation at Golden, Arkansas. A call was extended to him, and he accepted and became pastor of St. Paul’s on Trinity Sunday 1884. Under the faithful administration of Pastor Hohenstein, the congregation prospered. The membership grew to fifty communicants. “A new era had been ushered in for our Lutheran Zion.” Pastor Hohenstein served the congregation for seven years. In December of 1891, he accepted a call to the sister congregation at Peoria, Illinois. The Rev. J. Boettcher became supply pastor.
In 1892, the congregation called the Rev. Daniel Lochner. He accepted in May, but served the congregation only until October of 1894. In December of the same year, the Rev. Alfred E. Reinke became his successor, serving the congregation until 1900, when he took a call to a parish in Chicago. It was during his pastorate that a parsonage was built on Central Blvd.
♪♫ Oh, there’s no one inside, it’s frightful, But the calm is so delightful,
And the boys are all now full grown: Let them go, let them go, let them go!
Now a year’s passed us by since weddings, Of Burnell and John who gave rings
To Amanda, Alissa trothed: Let them go, let them go, let them go!
Andy’s fam’ly’s now Kristy Ann And the grandchildren! Yes, they are grand!
And when Sarah and David come, All the old home’s brightly warmed!
Now that Joey and Michael both flew Off to school at Eastern Ill.— U.
There’s only we two at home; Let them go, let them go, let them go!
Far away, for theology; Peter’s gone for a year: Germany;
He’ll return in July, that’s when Everyone’s home once again!
And the rest’ll be here for Christmas When we’ll fill again our house-nest;
Happy times till they’re on their way— Let them go, let them go, let them go!
God rest ye merry* this Christmas 2011 and always!
The Eckardt family
*Our annual tagline from the carol “God Rest ye Merry, Gentlemen” is a paraphrase of the tidings to Bethlehemshepherds (the “gentlemen”) from the angel: “Fear not (“God rest ye merry”), for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
150TH Anniversary Festival January 25th
150TH Anniversary Festival January 25th
n Wednesday, January 25th, we have a big day planned, the first of our celebrations of the congregation’s sesquicentennial anniversary. January 25th is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, which makes it a Feast of Title for this St. Paul’s congregation. So we have planned a number of special events, in hopes that the membership and friends of St. Paul’s can join us in celebrating.
First, a Day of Reflection is planned, beginning with Sung Mass at 9:00 a.m. Following the service, we will have a day-long seminar (until 4:00), our fourteenth retreat in the Theological Reflection series, entitled,
“Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
It will focus on the Christology of Noah (Genesis 6 - 9), and, as ever, with an eye to finding Christ there, as He himself said of the Scriptures, “They testify of me.”
The same night is Anniversary choral Vespers, at 7:00, followed by a wine and cheese reception.
1/1 Chris Erickson
1/4 Lucille Kemerling
1/13 James Hornback
1/18 Scott Clapper
Steve Peart, Grant Andresen, Larry Campbell
Mary Hamilton at home; Ruth Snider at Hillcrest; Mark Baker at home, and Anna Baker at home. Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care; Elva Garrison at Abingdon Care Center in Abingdon, Illinois.
January Anniversaries None
Annual Voters’ Meeting
Our Annual Voters’ Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 8th, at 10:30 a.m. (in the time slot normally reserved for Bible Class).
The offering envelopes should be delivered to the mailboxes by January 1.
Altar Guild Notes
Altar color for January is white throughout the month. This includes Epiphany, observed Thursday night, January 5th (7 pm) and the Baptism of our Lord, observed Wednesday, January 11th. There is no mass on Tuesday January 17th or Wednesday January 18th. A special Sung Mass will be held on Wednesday morning January 25th for the Conversion of St. Paul and a celebration of our 150th anniversary. Choral vespers will be held the same day at 7 pm.
In Our Prayers
In addition to our shut-ins, our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following. Anyone wishing to update the lest by ddition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.
in our parish:
And all of our shut-ins
David Dakin [req by Harris]
Anna Rutowicz [req by Harris]
Sara Bidni, mother of Svetlana Meeker
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Caleb Cleaver [req by Ricknell]
Pam Mansnarus [req by Ricknell]
Gary Skinner [req by Allensworth]
Pastor Glenn Niemann
Christian Johnson [req by Kemerling]
Madison Lindsay [req by Andersons]
Nina Hartz [Sharon’s mother]
Richard Day [Kris Harden’s father]
Louis Shreck [Diana’s father-in-law]
Linda Anderson [Andersons’ daughter-in-law]
Tom Fornoff [Jean Russell’s brother-in-law]
Edna Day [Chris Harden’s stepmother]
Robbie Niernyck [req by Harlow]
Susan Wahlmann [req by Harris]
Mike Holbrook, who has cancer [req by Thompson]
One of our HeadStart children, who has leukemia
in the military:
Brent Matthews [req by Fisher]