Archive for the ‘William Passavant’ Tag

Feast of Jehu Jones (September 28)   1 comment

St. Paul's Church Cornerstone

Above:  The Cornerstone of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Image in the Public Domain

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JEHU JONES, JR. (SEPTEMBER 4, 1786-SEPTEMBER 28, 1852)

African-American Lutheran Minister

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) commemorate the lives of William Passavant (1821-1894; feast day in The Episcopal Church = January 3), Justus Falckner, and Jehu Jones (1786-1852). pioneering Lutheran ministers in North America, on November 24, the anniversary of the ordination of Falckner in 1703. On my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, each man receives his own feast day.

Jehu Jones, Jr., born a slave at Charleston, South Carolina, on September 4, 1786, was a child of slaves.  His mother was Abigail Jones and his father was Jehu Jones, Sr. (1769-1833), a tailor.  Jehu Sr. purchased his freedom and that of his family in 1798.  He joined the ranks of the mulatto elite of Charleston, invested well in real estate, and became the successful proprietor of an inn for White people.  In 1807 he purchased his first slave.  Our saint, trained as a tailor, took over that part of the family business in 1816, allowing his father to focus on the inn.  The family belonged to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, but Jehu Jr. joined St. John’s Lutheran Church in 1820.  Jones, with the encouragement of his pastor, John Bachman (1790-1874), traveled to New York City in 1832 to receive ordination as a minister and a missionary to Liberia.

Bachman, pastor of St. John’s Church for more than half a century, was a major figure in Southern Lutheranism.  He was, unfortunately, paternalistic and racist toward African Americans, although he was more progressive in those matters than many of his fellow White people, especially Southerners.  He, for example, used science to argue that White people and African Americans belonged to the same species; this was apparently a point of dispute at the time.  Nevertheless, Bachman defended race-based chattel slavery and argued that African Americans were intellectually inferior to White people.  Bachman’s greatest legacy was in the field of liturgical renewal.  In 1870 he prompted the development of the Common Service (1888).

Jones, who abhorred slavery, never got to Liberia.  His ordination occurred on October 24, 1832.  The difficulties began when he returned to South Carolina in 1833.  In the wake of Nat Turner’s rebellion (1831) the state made already-strict racial laws stricter.  One of these statutes outlawed the return of free African Americans to South Carolina.  Authorities arrested our saint, who spent several months in jail.  In 1833 Jehu Sr. died.  The inn passed to a daughter-in-law (a sister-in-law of our saint).  Jehu Jr., freed from jail, received his inheritance and left the state forever.  He went to New York City, where he attempted unsuccessfully to raise funds for the mission to Liberia.

Jones became a domestic missionary instead.  In 1833 he settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and ministered to African Americans.  The following year our saint founded St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, which consisted originally of about 20 poor people.  The congregation was therefore financially dependent upon others, who pledged to pay, among other things, the mortgage for the building, dedicated in 1836.  Unfortunately, some of those who promised to back the church financially failed to keep their pledges, so the bank foreclosed in 1839.  False allegations of financial mismanagement followed Jones, who defended himself in writing, for the rest of his life.

Jones, who was active in politics, advocated for civil rights and improved living conditions for African Americans.  He also founded congregations in Gettysburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border.

Our saint’s life after 1839 was full of challenges.  He spent 1839-1842 in Toronto, Upper Canada.  In 1842 Jones returned to the United States, where he worked as a missionary and a cobbler.  The combination of racism and unfounded charges of financial mismanagement relative to the foreclosure of 1839 foiled his attempt to found a church in New York City in 1849.  Jones continued to minister to the small and impoverished congregation of St. Paul’s, Philadelphia, for years.  He died, aged 66 years, at Centreville, New Jersey, on September 28, 1852.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Jehu Jones,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following their examples and the teaching of their holy lives,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Justus Falckner (September 22)   1 comment

Gloria Dei Church, 1850

Above:  Gloria Dei Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1850

Photographer = Frederick De Bourg Richards

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-39946

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JUSTUS FALCKNER (NOVEMBER 22, 1672-SEPTEMBER 21, 1723)

Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) commemorate the lives of William Passavant (1821-1894; feast day in The Episcopal Church = January 3), Justus Falckner, and Jehu Jones (1786-1852). pioneering Lutheran ministers in North America, on November 24, the anniversary of the ordination of Falckner in 1703. On my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, each man receives his own feast day.

Falckner, born at Crimmitschau, Saxony, on November 22, 1672, was the fourth son of Daniel Falckner (Sr.), a Lutheran pastor, and a brother of Daniel Falckner (Jr.).  [Aside:  The tradition of naming a son after the father without adding a suffix, especially common in Germany and England, is really annoying to many historians and genealogists.  To know which Johannes Doe one is reading about is really helpful.  Sometimes it is relatively easy, but on other occasions it is impossible.]  Our saint, who began his studies at the University of Halle, with the intention of becoming a pastor, felt inadequate for that goal by the time he graduated.  Instead he became a lawyer and a land agent like his brother, Daniel Jr.  In 1700, at Rotterdam, the Falckner brothers acquired the power of attorney for the sale of William Penn‘s lands in Pennsylvania.  The following year the Reverend Andreas Rudman (1668-1708), a pioneering Swedish minister in what became the United States, purchased 10,000 acres along Manatawny Creek for Swedish Lutherans.  The connection with Rudman helped to convince the Falckner brothers to serve as clergymen in North America.  On November 24, 1724, 1703, at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Justus Falckner became the first Lutheran minister ordained in North America.  The service was the first recorded instance of the use of an organ at a worship service in what became the United States.

Our saint served as many as 14 congregations spread out over a territory of 200 miles at one time during nearly 20 years of ordained ministry.  His first assignment was a Dutch congregation near New Hanover, Pennsylvania.  Later he succeeded Rudman (who returned to Sweden) at New York City.  Fortunately, Rudman left the congregation in good condition.  Falckner also served at Albany, where the congregation was in dire shape; he had to start “from scratch” there.  In 1719, after the death of Pastor Joshua Kocherthal, our saint assumed responsibility for the congregations in the Hudson River valley.

Meanwhile, if all that were not enough, Falckner would have been a busy man even without those responsibilities.  In 1704 he published the first Lutheran catechism in North America.  Over the years he lobbied for the use of organs in Lutheran churches in the Delaware River valley.  He succeeded.  And, in 1717, our saint married Gerritje Hardick, with whom he had three children (in 1718, 1720, and 1723).

Falckner died at Newburgh, New York, on September 21, 1723.  He, aged 51 years, had damaged his health via his work load.   Daniel Jr., a pastor in New Jersey since 1708, added the Hudson River valley congregations to his responsibilities, starting that year.

Our saint seems to have written at least two hymns (both from 1697, during his college years) extant in English-language translations.  “Rise, Ye Children of Salvation,” in English since 1858, courtesy of Emma Frances Bevan, is plainly by Falckner.  I am less (yet reasonably) certain about “If Our All on Christ We Venture,” which old North American Moravian hymnals attribute in the original German to Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760).  Both Zinzendorf and Falckner wrote in German, I know.  I also know that some old Moravian hymnals mistakenly attributed certain German hymns to the Count.

Falckner was indeed a pioneer of the faith in North America, and thereby worthy of much respect.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Justus Falckner,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following their examples and the teaching of their holy lives,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of John Christian Frederick Heyer, Bartholomeaus Ziegengbalg, and Ludwig Nommensen (November 7)   2 comments

Jerusalem Cross

Above:  The Jerusalem Cross

Image in the Public Domain

Meanwhile the eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them.  When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated.  Jesus came up and spoke to them.  He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.  And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”

–Matthew 25:16-20, The Jerusalem Bible (1966)

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JOHN CHRISTIAN FREDERICK HEYER (JULY 10, 1793-NOVEMBER 7, 1873)

Lutheran Missionary in the United States and India

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BARTHOLOMAEUS ZIEGENBALG, JR. (JULY 10, 1682-FEBRUARY 23, 1719)

Lutheran Missionary to the Tamils

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LUDWIG INGWER NOMMENSEN (FEBRUARY 6, 1834-MAY 23, 1918)

Lutheran Missionary to Sumatra and Apostle to the Batak

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INTRODUCTION

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These three saints share the same feast day on the calendar of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

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JOHN CHRISTIAN FREDERICK HEYER

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“Father” John Christian Frederick Heyer (born Johann Christian Friedrich Heyer on July 10, 1793) was a dedicated missionary.  He, a native of Helmstedt, Lower Saxony, was son of Fredericke Sophie Johane Wagener and Johann Heinrich Gottlieb Heyer, a furrier.  Our saint, confirmed at Helmstedt in 1807, left Europe at a young age.  His parents sent him to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where an uncle was a hatter and a furrier.  Heyer studied theology at Philadelphia then, starting in 1815, the University of Gottingen, having taught at Zion School, Philadelphia, from 1813 to 1815.  In 1816 he returned to the United States and became a licensed lay preacher.  Three years later he married Mary Gash (died in 1839), a widow with two children.  The couple had six children from 1818 to 1827.  Heyer, ordained in 1820, was a missionary in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and other states for two decades.  He founded congregations in states from New York and Pennsylvania to Missouri.  Heyer, as an agent (1829-1831) of the Sunday School Union of the Lutheran Church in the United States, organized Sunday Schools.  He also served as the founding pastor (1837-1840) of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the first English-speaking Lutheran church west of the Allegheny Mountains.  And, in 1829, our saint helped to found what became Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Then a different mission field beckoned.  Heyer learned Sanskrit then left for India, where he served from 1842 to 1845 and from 1847 to 1857 under the auspices of the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States.  He was the first U.S. Lutheran missionary overseas.  In India Heyer founded what became the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church (constituted in 1927).  Between stints in India our saint served as the pastor of St. John’s Church, Baltimore, Maryland, and earned his M.D. degree from the School of Medicine of the University of Maryland.  Back in India Heyer worked from two locations, but mainly from Rajahmundry (now in the territory of the Church of South India), site of a mission statement the North German Missionary Society could no longer afford to maintain.  He also built schools and hospitals.

 In 1857 the 60-year-old Heyer returned to the United States.  William Passavant (1821-1894) recruited our saint to undertake German-language missions in Minnesota, under the auspices of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of East Pennysylvania.  In 1860 Heyer founded the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Minnesota and Other States.  He continued to work in the Midwest until 1869.

Heyer’s third missionary stint in India, under the auspices of the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, from 1869 to 1871.  He returned to Rajahmundry, where he reorganized the work of the mission station rather than transfer it to the (Anglican) Church Mission Society.

Heyer returned to the United States again in 1871.  The following year he became the chaplain and house father of the new Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He continued this work until he died on November 17, 1873.  He was 80 years old.

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BARTHOLOMAEUS ZIEGENBALG, JR.

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Bartholomeaus Ziegenbalg, Jr., had a shorter life yet left no less impressive a legacy.  The native of Pulsnitz, Saxony, born on July 10, 1682, was son of Maria Bruckner (1646-1692) and Bartholomeaus Ziegenbalg, Sr. (1640-1694), a grain merchant.  Our saint studied at the University of Halle before becoming, with Heinrich Plutschau, under the patronage of King Frederick IV of Denmark (reigned 1699-1730), half of the first Protestant missionary team in India.  The two arrived at Tranquebar, a Danish colony, on July 9, 1706.  He remained in India for most of the rest of his life, spending about two years (1714-1716) in Europe.

Zieganbalg’s time in India was eventful.  He spent two short terms (a few months each) in jail–once due to a dispute regarding whether the baptism of the child of a Danish soldier and a non-Christian woman should occur in a Roman Catholic or a Protestant church and once because of a dispute with some Hindus who objected to the fact that he was converting other Hindus to Christianity.  Ziegenbalg also argued with Brahmins about the poor treatment of lower-caste Hindus, established a Tamil printing press, and used it.  Our saint, married in 1716, published hymnals, catechisms, and part of the Bible in the Tamil language.  He also translated the New Testament (1708-1711; published in 1715) and the Old Testament through the Book of Ruth prior to dying on February 23, 1719, aged 36 years.

Ziegenbalg, unlike Heyer, cooperated across denominational lines.  He considered missionaries of the (Anglican) Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) his partners, not his rivals.

Ziegenbalg contended with challenges in his work as a missionary.  There were, of course, hostility from Hindus and competition from Roman Catholic priests.   The weather–the heat and the wind–were physical challenges.  Racism, cultural imperialism, and ethnocentrism on the part of colonists, who looked down upon Tamils and did not want to grant them access to colonists’ congregations, were other obstacles.  Ziegenbalg had to found a Tamil congregation, the Church of the New Jerusalem, in fact.  He recognized the fact that the church in India needed to be Indian, not European.  This was not obvious to many Europeans in India at the time as well as later, but it proved to be correct and prescient.

At the time of Ziegenbalg’s death his legacy consisted of two church buildings, a seminary, and about 250 baptized Christians, plus the products of his printing press.  That legacy has grown to include the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (constituted in 1919), with roots in his missionary efforts.

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LUDWIG INGWER NOMMENSEN

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Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen, born on February 6, 1834, became the “Apostle to the Batak” on the island of Sumatra, in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).  His mother was Anna Nommensen and his father was Peter Nommensen.  The native of Nordstrand, North Frisia, Denmark, had overcome, partly by prayer, the inability to walk in 1846-1849, after a horse cart crushed his legs.  From 1857 to 1862 he prepared to become a missionary under the auspices of the Rhenish Missionary Society, which sent him to Sumatra.

Nommensen worked among the Batak people.  He arrived in 1862.  By 1865 he had converted about 2000 people.  Many of these individuals, who had to leave their homes and villages, resided in the Village of Peace, which Nommensen had founded.  Meanwhile, Nommensen translated the New Testament; he completed that task in 1878.  he also married Margarethe Carolina Gutbrod (died in Germany in 1887), his first wife, in 1866.  The couple had six children, two of whom died in the Dutch East Indies–in 1868 and 1872.

Nommensen’s success as a missionary attracted both friendly and hostile attention.  In 1878, during a conflict between certain natives and the Dutch colonial government, he functioned as a translator for and a consultant to the Dutch colonial army.  Our saint’s purpose was to protect Christian villagers, who, like Dutch colonists, were targets of certain Batak potentates.  Many of the Batak people came to perceive Nommensen as their protectors against Dutch influences.  He also survived attempts to kill him.

Nommensen, much like Ziegenbalg before him, was a translator and writer.  He translated the New Testament into Batak, for example.  He also translated Martin Luther’s Small Catechism and wrote a book of Bible stories as well as a series of booklets.  He also wrote about 40 articles for mission journals.

The missionary, who relocated on Sumatra in 1885, remarried seven years later.  He and Anna Magdalena Christina Harder (died in 1909), had at least two children.  Our saint built up an indigenous church that, as of his death on May 23, 1918, had about 180,000 members, 34 indigenous pastors, 788 teachers, and 500 congregations.  The Batak Christian Protestant Church became independent in 1931.

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CONCLUSION

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I like the coincidence of celebrating the lives and living legacies of these three pioneering missionaries on the same date as Sts. Willibrord and Boniface, also apostles to unchurched populations.   The reason for the coincidence is the death of Father Heyer on November 7, the Feast of St. Willibrord on the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.  I also notice that Nommensen was a native of Frisia, an area evangelized by Sts. Willibrord and Boniface.  He owed his faith partially to their missionary endeavors.  And others, of course, owe their faith partially to his work or to that of Heyer or Ziegenbalg.

That faith we give away which we take with us to Heaven.  One might not travel to a remote location and risk martyrdom; that is not God’s call upon the life of everyone.  To share one’s faith, however, is a mandate for all who have faith in God in Christ.  However and wherever God commands you to do this, O reader, may you do so.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALFRED TENNYSON, ENGLISH POET

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FOSTER, ENGLISH MORAVIAN BISHOP, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWNLIE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servants

John Christian Frederick Heyer, who made the good news known in the United States and India;

Bartholomeaus Ziegenbalg, Jr., who made the good news known to the Tamils in India; and

Ludwig Nommensen, who made the good news known to the Batak on Sumatra.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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