Wednesday, February 22, 2012

March 2012



The English Language Question

ational origin was an important factor among the Lutherans settling in America, perhaps more so than in any other denomination.  Since the seventeenth century, Lutherans had been emigrating from Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, and each group of immigrants worshiped in their native tongue.  Some 150 Lutheran synods had now been established in America, but by the late 19th century, the national barriers had begun to dissolve in the American melting pot.[1]

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod was originally comprised entirely of settlers from Saxony, and as such had retained the German language in its worship and literature, a phenomenon that did not begin to change until the early years of the twentieth century.  The English District of the Missouri Synod had originated as a small group of English speaking Lutherans from the Carolinas and Tennessee who had organized as an English Synod in rural Gravelton, Missouri in 1872.  That group had made repeated attempts to join the Missouri Synod, but language remained a barrier, though the Missouri Synod did provide them with financial assistance.  The English Synod began producing Sunday school literature, published an English Hymnal, and began printing a journal called The Lutheran Witness.  Finally on May 15, 1911, members of the English Synod, in a meeting at Redeemer Lutheran Church in St. Louis, marched across town to Holy Cross Lutheran Church, where the Missouri Synod was in session, to celebrate their merger with the singing of the Te Deum.  The English Synod was now a district of the Missouri Synod, and English missions continued to spring up across America.[2] On August 31, 1911, The Lutheran Witness became an official publication of the Missouri Synod.[3]

But the introduction of English was by no means a settled matter.  The German-speaking Lutherans in the Midwest were particularly and in many cases bitterly opposed to the introduction of English into their worship, to the point in many cases that a greater affinity was felt with the German Reformed than with the English-speaking Lutherans.  Some even advocated a new Evangelical Union such the one which had caused many to emigrate from Prussia in the prior century.[4]

By the early 1900s the percentage of German immigrants in America had come to 9% of the population, and although German-language signs would be posted by private shop owners to accommodate the German community, most everything written outside of the German immigrant enclaves was in English, which would have made it difficult to get by in a typical American town.[5]  This forced Germans to begin becoming bilingual.  Yet their worship remained their beacon in what for many was still a foreign land.  The invasion of English into the spaces which were quite literally sacred was bound to produce sharp division and debate.

The extant history of St. Paul’s does not provide many details regarding the effect of this controversy on this parish, which did not officially join the Missouri Synod until 1920, but one can read between the lines easily enough.  In a congregational meeting held in February of 1914, the question of organizing an English congregation was, in the chronicler’s words, “debated,” and “the language question had brought this matter to a head.”  “The animosity of a number who preferred one language to another” is referenced as well.  As late as 1918, the matter continued to be debated so fiercely that “for a time it appeared as though the congregation would certainly split over the issue.”  No doubt memories of the bitter and not-too-distant past of 1867-1881, in which the congregation had itself become Reformed before recovering its Lutheran roots, were still festering in the recollections of older members.

Whatever was said, or debated, or perhaps shouted at that meeting of 1914, the members finally agreed upon a compromise, deciding that two services would be held each month in English, and that German would be retained for all the others.

So it was that in the early years of the twentieth century, during roughly the same years in which Rev. Jacobs had attempted in vain to keep the parochial school open, now there was laid upon him the added stress of the English language controversy, probably involving the kinds of heated debates for which earnest congregational members can sometimes be known.  In addition, Rev. Jacobs would now be called upon to conduct services in both languages.

It seems plausible and even likely that these pressures were key to Rev. Jacobs’ resignation from his pastorate in Kewanee in June of 1918, just four years after the matter of English had been decided. He continued to serve in “various other fields,” serving last of all the church at Pleasant Plains, Illinois, which had also been his first.  He would die there in 1935.  But for now, in 1918, St. Paul’s was again facing a vacancy.

The Rev. C. Bergen of Geneseo served as vacancy pastor for two months, during which time a call was extended to the Rev. F. E. Mayer, of Sherrard and Coal Valley, which he accepted.  He was granted a peaceful release from his congregations, and on August 11, 1918, he was inducted into office as the pastor of St. Paul’s.  Thankfully, the vacancy had lasted a mere two months.

It was particularly beneficial, and a matter for which the congregation could be especially grateful to God, to have been given a pastor again for the difficult days that lay ahead.  In 1917 the nation had become involved in the First World War, and in the fall of 1918 the influenza epidemic would strike Kewanee with a vengeance. 
-to be continued.

March Ushers

Allan Kraklow Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells, Bob Bock

March Anniversary

3/19/1977 Jeff and Diana Shreck

A Letter from Faith Lutheran Church in Kewanee . . .

January 24, 2012

Dear St. Paul's congregation:
The members of Faith Evangelical Lutheran rejoice together with you in praising God for preserving and sustaining His church, St. Paul Kewanee, for a milestone 150 years. We thank Him for providing devoted pastoral and lay leadership to carry out His mission in our community these many years. Congratulations on your special anniversary.

Our prayer is that your ministry continues to boldly proclaim the true Gospel of Christ to Kewanee, Henry County, and the world for many years to come. May our Lord continue to bless the individual members as they make known the love of Christ in their words and actions.

God bless you always,
Gary Hahn, Chairman

. . . and our  reply

 22 February 2012
Dear friends,

Thank you for your kind letter of congratulations at our 150th anniversary; it was touching and much appreciated to read your warm well-wishes to us.

Our annual choral vespers on Wednesday was indeed a memorable anniversary event, and was actually only the first of a number of opportunities we have slated for observance and celebration this year.  Above all we’re looking toward our Oktoberfest gala as the biggest celebration, which begins on Sunday evening, October 7th with our Autumn Choral Vespers and bratwurst banquet.  We’re looking forward to hearing from Concordia Theological Seminary President Dr. Lawrence Rast that evening and the next day at a seminar.  You are cordially invited to help us celebrate!

Again, many thanks.  Our prayers are that, as we look ahead toward our journey through Lent to glad Easter, the Lord of the Church will continue to bless you with the abundance of the gifts of His inestimable mercy.

In His name,

+ Burnell Eckardt, Pastor
For the members of St. Paul’s

March Birthdays:
3/1      Barbra Kraklow
3/2      Joseph Eckardt
3/3      Kerry Sovanski
3/8      Carol Kegebein
3/16    Ila Scaife
3/25    Carol Eckardt

First Tuesday Vespers, etc.

March 6th, Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15, as usual.

Robin Sighting Contest

Allan Kraklow claims to have seen a bunch of robins already out at his farm back in early February, but can we really believe him?  If so, he probably enticed them to stay out there all winter . . .

Our Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Mark Baker and Anna Baker at home; Ruth Snider at Hillcrest Home; Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care. Elva Garrison at Abingdon Nursing Home.

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 addition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.

in our parish:
Mark Baker, Ann Baker, Elva Garrison, Ruth Snider, John Hart
And all of our shut-ins
and also:
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 of St. John’s, Pekin
Christian Johnson [req by Kemerling]
Madison Lindsay [req by Andersons]
Nina Hartz [Sharon’s mother]
Richard Day [Kris Harden’s father]
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 [req by Thompson]
Rev. Don Chambers of Manito
Ginny Humble [req by Harris]
Don walker [Jewnell’s husband]
One of our HeadStart children, who has leukemia

     in the military:
John Eckardt
Brent Matthews [req by Fisher]
Michael and Melinda Fisa [req by Kemerling]
Michelle Steuber [req by Fisher]
Kevin Thompson
Donny Appleman [req by Ricknell]
Thomas Kim [req by Shreck]
Jaclyn Harden Alvarez

Those who are in trouble:
Unborn children in danger of abortion, the people of Haiti in the midst of a  cholera outbreak, Those suffering from persecution, genocide, and imprisonment in Burma, Nigeria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, and elsewhere.


Daily mass is scheduled throughout Lent. The most excellent way to benefit from Lent is through worship. See the calendar for the schedule. If your schedule does not permit you to take advantage of daily mass, perhaps at least an added effort to make it to Wednesday evening mass would work for you.  Remember also the laudable use of the Lenten fast.  Of course it is voluntary, which is to say that no one imposes this on you.  It is you who make the determination to abstain from certain foods, and thereby you also learn to appreciate the wisdom of St. Paul, who said already in the Epistle for Septuagesima, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (I Corinthians 9:27).  The Lenten fast traditionally has meant abstention from meats and dairy products on Fridays (the day of crucifixion), or on Wednesdays and Fridays, although an older custom was to abstain from meats and dairy products throughout all of Lent (from that custom arose the blessing of the Easter Egg, and the Easter breakfast).  Some choose to abstain from all sweets, desserts, and eating between meals.
    In addition, there is the fast of the eyes and ears, particularly noted in worship.  Flowers are gone from the chancel, weddings are not scheduled, and alleluias are not sung.
    Finally, private confession is an excellent Lenten discipline, and is always encouraged.
    Lent is hard.  Hard on the schedule, hard on the stomach, hard on the body.  It’s supposed to be hard.  It’s the learning of spiritual discipline, much like the physical training of an athlete.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Altar Guild Notes

·         Parament color is VIOLET throughout March, except for Monday, March 19th (St. Joseph’s Day), for which the color is WHITE.
·         We will veil the images during mass on Sunday, March 25th, which is Passion Sunday.
·         Flowers are not used throughout Lent, excepting Sunday, March 18th, Laetare.
Next meeting is Tuesday, March 6th.
The New Testament in His Blood
This series contains brief liturgical explanations which appear in Pastor Eckardt’s book The New Testament in His Blood (Gottesdienst, 2010).

Every part of the historic liturgy is drawn directly from the Sacred Scriptures. This means that the liturgy is the Word of God in use; it is not something of our making; it is something we have received from God. What we sing and pray in the liturgy, down to every clause, is something God has given us. This is perhaps the most distinctive feature of traditional, liturgical worship: in keeping the catholic tradition of the church of all times, liturgical worship employs a manifestly Biblical tradition. Since every part of the liturgy can easily be traced to Scripture, we may go as far as to say that the liturgy is Scripture in action; and so, properly understood, it is right to call it the living Word of God.


The first part of the Mass is called the Introit, which comes from the Latin introitus, meaning “entrance.” The confession and absolution which precede this are not, strictly speaking, part of the Mass; they are preparatory. Thus the first thing we do in the Mass is enter; we enter into the presence of God, which is to say that we come before Him. This entrance of all the faithful is signified bodily by the procession of the celebrant to the altar during the chanting of psalm verses. The particular verses and psalm vary from week to week, which is why we call them “proper” to the week in question, but as a practice of chanting psalms during this entrance, the idea itself may be referenced to the “Psalms of Ascent” (Psalms 120-135). In Old Testament times these psalms were sung as people ascended to the temple in Jerusalem. The reason the Introit is much shorter than an entire psalm or several psalms is that it is no longer necessary to use this music to ‘cover’ the movement; there is no ascent of the hill or the steps to the temple in Jerusalem, but rather from the lowest point to the altar. The presence of God is no longer found sacramentally in the city of Jerusalem, but, since the inauguration of the New Testament, in Christ, who is now at the altar. Jesus said of the Sacrament that it is “the new testament” in His blood. This signifies a major change in perspective. No longer is the city the place to find God; rather, the altar is that place, the place from which the Sacrament is given. During the Introit the sign of the cross is made. It is fitting for all the faithful to follow the lead of the celebrant in making the sign of the cross three times: once at the start of his procession, again at his entrance into the chancel (at the gate), and a third time when he arrives and kisses the altar.

St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
   109 S. Elm Street
   Kewanee, IL 61443


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