Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lutheran History Lesson

Following is a fuller version of a post of mine over at ALPB Forum Online last August.

The Organization of the Synod in California

The Organizers of Synod
Five missionary pastors, widely scattered in communities far separated from one another, felt the need of conference and mutual encouragement. Accordingly two days after Easter, on March 31, 1891, they assembled in the First English Lutheran Church in Los Angeles, which had been dedicated just one year previously. These five faithful and efficient men were Rev. O. C. Miller of San Francisco, Rev. C. W. Heisler of Los Angeles, Rev. W. S. Hoskinson of Sacramento, Rev. Philip Graif of Oakland, and Rev. E. R. Wagner of San Diego. In addition, the Rev. M. W. Hamma, D.D., temporarily living in Los Angeles; Rev. A. C. Wedekind, D.D., for many years pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church of New York City, residing in National City, Calif.; and the Rev. Wm. Uhl, a pioneer pastor in the middle west, were present at this initial meeting and added dignity and valued assistance in effecting the organization.

Laymen Present
The following laymen were present as representative of the congregations: John Everding, a prominent manufacturer from San Francisco; William Bosbyshell, a retired business man of Los Angeles; Frank P. Davidson, principal of the San Diego high school; and William Moller, a merchant from Oakland.

At this first convention, seven sessions were held. Two of these meetings were in the evening when discourses were delivered by the visiting ministers. During the business sessions, a constitution was adopted, committees were appointed on Home Missions, Church Extension, Education, Examination and Apportionment. The following officers were elected: President, Rev. O. C. Miller; Secretary, Rev. W. S. Hoskinson; Treasurer, Mr. John Everding. Dr. Hamma was elected delegate to the next meeting of the General Synod. and F. P. Davidson, lay delegate.

This Synodical convention must have created a favorable impression upon the community for the "Evening Express" of that period contained the following comment: "The proceedings of the Synod are very harmonious, and all present are actuated by a zealous Christian spirit, together with a loyalty to the progressive denomination which they represent."
From The Fruitage of Fifty Years in California, a history of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of California, Rev. John Edward Hoick, D.D. (published c. 1942 "by the Authority of the Synod") pp. 40-41

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