Saturday, January 2, 2010

On the Ninth Day of Christmas: Loehe and the Deaconesses

There was erroneous information in a previous post, one which most of you did not see due to a user error on my part.

Anyways, a recent post stated, "He (Loehe) is also known as the founder of the modern Deaconess movement."

This prompted a response from a deaconess! The post has since been deleted, so here is the correct information...

I love your blog site! Great material. In relation to Christmas 8, which you have evidently written but not published yet [info I recieve via Google Blog Alert for the word "deaconess"] I notice that you state, "He [Loehe] is also known as the founder of the modern Deaconess movement." I want to suggest that you change that statement to something more historically accurate. The fact is that Theodore Flieder of Kaiserswerth, Germany, is universally known as the Father of the modern deaconess movement (at least by all historians and those who know their history). Loehe started his deaconess training after Fliedner and modeled his training on Fliedner's motherhouse style, after his (Loehe's) own initial efforts at training women through women's [ladies' aid] societies failed. So something to the effect of "Loehe is also well known for his training of deaconesses in Neuendettelsau, Germany" would be a better choice than the statement that you have.
A blessed New Year, and I look forward to more of your posts. Deaconess Cheryl D. Naumann

The comment section of this blog is there for the purposes of discussion and correction.  This is a blog and not a professional journal, so the fact checking process is much different!  Thanks so much to Deaconess Naumann for giving us these details.  Please check out this link to find out more about the history of deaconesses and their contributions to the church.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas: Wilhelm Loehe

Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe had a worldwide impact on Confessional Lutheranism in the 19th Century.

Under his direction two seminaries were formed (Concordia in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Wartburg in Dubuque, Iowa).

Many Lutherans in the Saginaw Valley (Michigan) can trace their roots back to Loehe's efforts in the United States.  The Franconian Colonies each formed with German settlers from the Bavarian region of Germany.  These include Frankenmuth, Frankentrost, Frankenlust and Frankenhilf (which is now Richville).  Each of these churches has served as a mother church to other congregations.

Loehe had great concern for the immigrants in the US because there was a great lack of pastors to serve all the Lutherans there.  He sent "emergency workers" to serve the hoards of Germans who came to the US.

Loehe supported and befriended the the Missouri Synod at first, but severed ties when Missouri adopted a congregational structure and because he disagreed with the Missouri doctrine of the pastoral office.

Those who agreed with Loehe formed the Iowa Synod (now part of the ELCA) and founded a teachers college that became Wartburg Seminary.

Loehe's influence can be felt across American Lutheranism even though he never so much as visited the United States.  His emergency workers held together Lutheran teaching when Lutherans were adopting Calvinist and Arminian teaching and practice.  The seminaries he helped to found still contribute to the life of the church.  Even today some churches use his setting of the liturgy.

Loehe's hymn, "Wide Open Stands the Gates" can be found in the communion section of Lutheran Service Book (#639).  You might recognize the tune as "Jerusalem, Thou City Fair and Bright."

Here is a setting by Melchior Franck.

Here are two wonderful settings from Max Reger, the second of which is "Jerusalem..." The first is the Epiphany hymn, "Wie Schoen Leuchtet..."

For more information on Loehe and his influences, check out the following links.