Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- November 02, 1867Three Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of Reformation Seventeen Lutheran Congregations Commemorate Event with Divine Services and Love Feast
On October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg, Germany. On October 31, 1867, this epochal event was observed on a grand scale, in the New World as well as in the Old.
The German and Norwegian Lutheran Churches of Chicago, Addison, Elk Grove, Dunton, Lyonsville, Proviso, Niles, Schaumberg, Rodensburg, Dundee, Cottage Hill, Kankakee, Aurora, and Union Hill, commemorated the day with processions and festive services.
On the North Side, between seven and eight hundred children who attend Saint Paul's Evangelical Lutheran school (Reverend Henry Wunder) marched in solemn procession. Similar processions were held on the North Side by the children 2of Immanuel Congregation, on the South Side by the pupils of Trinity Congregation, and on the West Side by the children of Saint John's School. The significance of the Reformation was the sermon topic in the service held in the Norwegian Lutheran Church on Erie Street (Reverend Peterson), and on West Erie Street (Reverend Kron).
Yesterday all of the above-mentioned congregations met for a joint service at the grove near Addison, three miles from Cottage Hill.
It is a good custom of Germans to be thorough in everything, in amusements as well as in serious matters, such as church festivities, not merely to sip at the fountain, but to drink in full draughts. While Americans celebrate important events only on one day, Germans celebrate for three days, or even longer; for instance Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. And they followed this good old custom when they observed the anniversary of the Reformation.
The train which left the Galena depot yesterday morning, at nine o'clock, 3consisted of fourteen cars, and contained about fifteen hundred passengers. The full Great Western Band led the vast throng which proceeded to Cottage Hill, where the great number of Chicagoans was augmented by thousands of members from the country churches named above.
From Cottage Hill the vast crowd marched in orderly procession, through fields of stubble and over rolling prairies, to Addison, where a brief halt was made. All stores in the town were closed, and the residents stood in doorways and greeted their passing fellow Lutherans, and then followed them over Salt Creek to the scene of festivities.
The Great Western Band accompanied the congregation, which sang appropriate hymns. Reverend Schmidt of Elk Grove preached the sermon. He briefly sketched the situation of the Christian Church as it was at the time when Luther began his work, and as it is today. He stated that the Papacy has not improved its doctrinal position since the Reformation, pointing out that Rome had added the 4false doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary to the host of unbiblical tenets of the Catholic Church, had canonized twenty-one alleged martyrs, and that a Catholic priest could murder a seventeen-year-old girl in a convent and receive no punishment from the higher officials of the papal church--save that of being transferred to another convent. Reverend Schmidt continued: "Luther, who was undoubtedly God's instrument, saved the church from the darkness of unbelief, superstition, and perverted doctrines, restored the pure gospel of salvation to the pulpit, refuted the chief doctrine of the Pope (that man must save himself from the consequence of his evil acts by performing good works). Luther emphasized that, according to the Bible, man is saved by faith in the merit and work of Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for the sins of all men, redeemed them from sin, and thus reconciled them with God. However, the battle against Rome is not yet concluded, and we must, therefore, be vigilant, lest we again fall prey to the pernicious teachings of the Antichrist".....
Professor Selle then addressed the Norwegian Lutherans in the English language.5
This fact reminded us of great historical events, of the joint struggle of German and Swedish Protestants during the Thirty Years' War, when they won recognition and equality with the Catholics.
Meanwhile, innumerable tables, covered with white linen tablecloths, had been filled with a great variety of food; there were Martinmas geese, which ordinarily would have been permitted to live until November 10 [Translator's note: Martinmas, or the Feast of Saint Martin, was observed on November 11], there were large hams, great loaves of bread, cakes, pies, all kinds of preserves, and there was butter, the equal of which is unknown to Chicagoans. These vast stores of food are a credit to the hospitality of the people of Addison. And the members of the Chicago churches supplied plenty of coffee and sugar--one hundred and twenty-five dollars' worth. Everybody was invited to eat free of charge. The food that was not consumed was donated to the Lutheran Normal School at Addison.
An offering was also taken for the School, and, to judge from what we saw on 6the collection plates, the contribution could not have been small; it must have amounted to at least $1,800. In addition, the institution also benefited from the sale of medals, which were made and sold in commemoration of the event. These medals were imprinted with the words: "Three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Reformation, observed by the American Lutheran Church on October 31, 1867. God's word and Luther's doctrine pure shall to eternity endure."
After the meal, the people gathered in groups and spent a few hours in pleasant conversation.
At half-past three the Chicagoans started for home, where they arrived about six o'clock.
The Normal School at Addison, which was erected at a cost of $25,000, and which was opened three years ago with an enrollment of eighteen, is now attended by 7eighty young men; and still it cannot supply the demand for Lutheran schoolteachers. [Translator's note: The Normal School of Addison was moved to River Forest, Illinois, in 1914, and is now known as Concordia Teachers' College. The present enrollment is about 350, and sixteen professors are employed.]
The professors are: F. Lindemann, J. Selle, and P. Sauer. They are able teachers and God-fearing men.
The following pastors were present: J. Beyer of Immanuel Church; J. Doederlein of Trinity Church; H. Wunder of Saint Paul's Church; J. Grosse of Saint John's Church; O. Peterson and A. Koren, of the two Norwegian Lutheran Churches in Chicago; F. Zucker from Proviso, H. Mertens from Lyonsville; C. Franke from Addison; L. Schmidt from Elk Grove; G. Loeber from Niles; B. Heidenmueller from Rodenburg; J. Strieter from Aurora; and C. Burkhardt from Dundee.
The firmness with which these Lutherans express their convictions is refreshing 8and encouraging; for anyone who wavers in times of uncertainty merely augments and spreads the evil. Luther was important, not so much because he clung to certain theological opinions, but chiefly because he set an example of unwavering adherence to the truth. He was one of those rare moral giants from whose activity mankind dates a new era of history.
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