TRINITY REMEMBERS ITS SECOND PASTOR, C.F.W. WALTHER (1811-18870
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Born in 1811 in Saxony, Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther (below) exerted a most significant influence on the Lutheran Church in the United States during the 19th century and beyond.
Trinity’s first and second pastors were brothers – Otto Herman Walther and C.F.W. Walther. Otto Herman served as our pastor for a year before dying of typhoid fever. He was succeeded by his brother, Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm, who was called as pastor and served from 1841 until his death in 1887.
Walther's Lutheran Hymnal
Soon Walther, a sometime-hymnwriter himself, began work on a Lutheran hymnal for use by the emigrant Lutherans. Up to this time, one of the school teachers had to read the words of a hymn verse aloud to the congregation who then sang it.
Walther compiled hymns as well as liturgies from old Lutheran liturgical practices out of favor in Germany since the Age of Enlightenment. Thus the liturgies in this hymnal resembled what Martin Luther would have used. Trinity used their hymnal for the first time in August of 1847.
In 1863, this hymnal, already introduced to all congregations of the Missouri Synod, was given by Trinity congregation as a gift to the Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States together with all revenue derived from its publication and sales. The melodies and words for these hymns and the liturgy continued in LCMS hymnals for many years including The Lutheran Hymnal of 1941 and in our present hymnal as “Setting Three.”
Walther and the Formation of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
On the national scene, Dr. C.F.W.Walther introduced the idea of a synodical body to unify the efforts of doctrinally like-minded Lutheran churches throughout the midwest, including the training of pastors and teachers.
After receiving approval from Trinity’s voters and meeting with other Lutheran leaders, in 1847 he went to Chicago to meet with the pastors of thirteen other parishes. They voted to form what was then called “The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and other States,” today’s 2.5 million-member Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
In St. Louis, Trinity grew under his leadership. Trinity members living on the north side of the city formed a parish called Immanuel. It was to be a branch of Trinity, because the people did not want to give up Walther as their pastor.
After Trinity opened a branch school where Holy Cross now stands, it eventually became another congregation. As no one there wanted to give up Pastor Walther either, Holy Cross became the third parish of what became known as the Gesammtgemeinde or “Combined Congregation.”
Later, Zion congregation in north St. Louis was also added to the Gesammtgemeinde -- one large congregation with four church buildings. This arrangement continued until Pastor Walther’s death in 1887, at which time the four parishes separated into individual congregations.
Amazingly, Pastor Walther was required to preach at all four churches. Visitors to the museum at the LCMS International Center in Kirkwood will see the last of three horse-drawn carriages purchased by Trinity congregation to transport Pastor Walther to the churches for morning, afternoon and evening services.
Trinity offers tours of its campus to any group. Please reserve a date by calling the church office at 314-231-4092, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
—(Dennis Rathert, Trinity Historian and Tour Guide)
VIDEOS (produced by Concordia Publishing House)
Historic Trinity's Communion Chalice
Historic Trinity Lutheran's Pulpit
Historic Trinity Lutheran's Origins
Trinity's Original Corner Stone