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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : LUTHERANS IN SOUTH CAROLINA.

American Lutheranism by Friedrich Bente

LUTHERANS IN SOUTH CAROLINA.

68. Pioneer Pastors in South Carolina. -- In 1735 colonists from Germany and Switzerland had settled in Orangeburg Co., S.C. Their first resident pastor was J. U. Giessendanner, who arrived in 1737 with new emigrants, but died the following year. He was succeeded by his son, who was ordained first by the Presbyterians and then by the Bishop of London, in 1849. [tr. note: sic!] Orangeburg was thus lost to the Lutheran Church. At Charleston, S.C., Bolzius conducted the first Lutheran services and administered the Lord's Supper in 1734. Muhlenberg preached there in 1742. The first pastor who, in 1755, organized the Lutherans at Charleston into a congregation (St. John's) was J. G. Friedrichs (Friederichs). In 1759 he was succeeded by H. B. G. Wordman (Wartmann), who had labored in Pennsylvania. In 1763 Wordman was succeeded by J. N. Martin. He dedicated the church begun in 1759. J. S. Hahnbaum, who came from Germany with his family in 1767, was, according to the church records, forbidden to |be addicted to the English Articles| and to attack the Church of England. The gown, wafers, festivals, gospels and epistles, and the use of the litany on Sunday afternoons, are required. (Jacobs, 297.) Hahnbaum died in 1770. His successor, who also married his daughter, was Magister F. Daser. He had arrived in Charleston, sold as a redemptioner, and had been redeemed by one of the elders of the Lutheran congregation. (G., 574.) In 1774 H. M. Muhlenberg advised the congregation and adjusted some of her difficulties. In the same year Martin returned and served till 1778, when he was succeeded by Christian Streit, who labored until he was driven away in the vicissitudes of the Revolutionary War, there being a tradition of his arrest by the British in 1780. (Jacobs, 297.) Pastor Martin served a third term in Charleston from 1786 to 1787, when he was succeeded by J. C. Faber, who wrote to Germany, from where he had arrived in 1787: His congregation was growing; it was a model of Christian unity; it consisted of Lutherans, German Reformed, and Catholics; they all lived together most peacefully, attending the same services and sharing in the support of their pastor, who had brought about such a union. No wonder that the congregation was satisfied with the service of the Episcopalian Pogson when Faber had resigned on account of ill health. (G., 582 f.)

69. |Unio Ecclesiastica| in South Carolina. -- In 1788 fifteen German congregations were incorporated in the State of South Carolina, nine of them being Lutheran and six Reformed or United. The Lutheran congregations were served by F. Daser, J. G. Bamberg, F. A. Wallberg, F. J. Wallern, and C. Binnicher; the rest, by the Reformed Pastors Theus and Froelich. In 1787 these ministers and congregations had united as a |corpus evangelicum| under the following title: |Unio Ecclesiastica of the German Protestant Churches in the State of South Carolina.| Pastor Daser was chosen Senior Ministerii. At the following convention, January 8, 1788, all Lutheran ministers present pledged themselves on the Symbolical Books. A third meeting was held August 12, 1788; President Daser presented a constitution, which was adopted. Among other things it provided: 1. The intention of this union was not that any member should deny his own confession.2. A Directorium, composed of the ministers and two laymen, should remain in power as long as a majority of the 15 congregations would be in favor of it.3. The Directorium should be entrusted with all church affairs: the admission, dismissal, election, examination, ordination, and induction of ministers; the establishment of new churches and schools; the order of divine service, collections, etc.4. Any member of any of the congregations was bound to appear before the Directorium when cited by this body.5. Where the majority of a congregation was Reformed, a Reformed Agenda and Catechism were to be used.6. The ministers should be faithful in the discharge of their pastoral duties, . . . visiting the schools frequently, admonishing the parents to give their children a Christian training, etc.7. A copy of this constitution should be deposited in every congregation and subscribed by its members.8. Complaints against the pastor which the vestry failed to settle should be reported to the President immediately.9. The brethren in Europe should be petitioned to provide the congregations with preachers and schoolteachers. -- It is self-evident that this anomalous union with a Directorium invested with governing and judicial powers, to whose decisions Lutheran as well as Reformed pastors and congregations had to submit, lacked vitality, and, apart from flagrant denials of the truth, was bound to lead to destructive frictions. After an existence of several years the |Unio Ecclesiastica| died a natural death, the Directorium, as far as has been traced, holding its last meeting in 1794. By 1804, the ministers who had organized this union body, all save one, were dead. The congregations eked out a miserable existence, becoming, in part, a prey to the Methodists and Baptists. Thus also the promising Lutheran field of South Carolina was finally turned into a desert, chiefly in consequence of the dearth of Lutheran preachers, who really could have been produced from this very field. (G., 601 ff.)

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