We Need Each Other

Monday, August 30, 2010

I grew up in the United Presbyterian Church, but I've belonged to an LCMS (Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod) congregation since I got married, and I've been married longer than I was single. That's the same LCMS congregation my husband has belonged to his entire life.

So when we heard that LCMS began near where our daughter now lives, we added it to our vacation itinerary.

Our first Lutheran heritage stop was at Altenburg, Missouri, in the southeastern part of the state. Altenburg is one of several settlements founded in 1839 by a group of Lutherans from Saxony. Altenburg has a Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum, and the grounds include the first permanent church building in Altenburg. That's it in the picture, although it is now part of the museum. It was replaced in 1867 by a larger church building still in use.

The grounds at the Lutheran Heritage Center also include the Log Cabin College, which trained new pastors for 10 years before its functions were transferred to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1849.

The Lutherans' first two years were tough ones. Most of the settlers had been tradesmen in Saxony, but upon arrival in America they became farmers, learning as they went. They also faced disease and discouragement.

A group of Presbyterians had settled in the area twenty years earlier, and now they proved their Christian kinship with the Lutherans by helping them through those tough times. (I particularly appreciate this connection between my childhood denomination and my current one.)

Back in the present, after leaving Altenburg, Roland and I drove about five miles to Frohna, Missouri, which is another of the settlements from the same immigration. There we visited the Saxon Lutheran Memorial: a farm once owned by two brothers who came over with the other Saxons in 1839. The brothers bought it as a working farm from one of the Presbyterian families already established in the area.

Which gets me to the point of this post. Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Roman Catholics: we are all part of the same Christian family and should help each other the way healthy biological families do. Nor should it stop there. We are all connected in the "family of man." To quote someone from my family tree: "No man is an island entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." (John Donne, 1623)

So let's follow the example the Presbyterians set at Altenburg.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I've always loved that quote, No man is an island.

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