“Hymns from Our History” is the title of a hymn festival set for Sunday, November 21 at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Minden. The service will be preceded by a short organ recital at 6:30 p.m.
The Rev. Dr. Arthur Eichhorn will serve as guest organist. Pastor Tim Mueller, who has served St. John’s since his ordination there in 1988, will share devotional anecdotes (with pictures) from the Congregation’s long history, focusing on hymns that were known to be sung on various occasions.
Comments Pastor Mueller, “Hymn writers have a gift of taking the truth of the Scriptures, both Law and Gospel, and putting them into words that sing the faith into the human heart. The singing of Christ-centered hymns has been one of the ways God has sustained the Congregation through many trying times, including drought and pestilence, the Civil War, two World Wars, the Great Depression, and three tornadoes—not to mention countless personal losses. They have also voiced praises to God over blessings received and prayers answered. We plan to tell the story of various occasions, look at some pictures, examine the hymn that was sung and its supporting Scripture, and then let God speak to us anew as we sing the hymn.”
Half of the offering will go toward the St. John’s Organ Fund (for tuning and maintenance) and half toward LCMS Disaster Response, which was very supportive of St. John’s in the aftermath of the November 17, 2013, tornado.
In his pre-service recital Pastor Eichhorn will play compositions by Bach, Manz, Karg-Elert, Vierne, and Widor.
Pastor Eichhorn studied organ with Thomas Gieschen at Concordia University, Chicago (then known as Concordia Teachers College, River Forest) and with Pat Partridge at Christ Church Cathedral in Saint Louis.
For over 45 years he has been the organist at Lutheran churches in suburban Chicago; Springfield, IL; and St. Louis. He is best known for his time as the Director of Music at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in St. Louis and still is a Chapel Organist at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He currently serves as pastor of St. Salvator Lutheran Church in Venedy, and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New Memphis.
The festival is part of a year-long celebration of St. John’s 175th anniversary under the theme “Rooted and Growing in Christ.” The Congregation was organized November 8, 1846. On that day, C.F.W. Scholz (trained in Germany by Pastor Wilhelm Loehe and sent to New Minden by Pastor C.F.W. Walther) was ordained and installed as pastor, a congregation was chartered, and Friedrich Hoffman donated 55½ acres to the new congregation—a farm he had purchased for his son Carl, who had recently died just shy of his 19th birthday. (The Congregation still owns 42 of those acres today.)
Other events planned for the anniversary include—
· April 24, 2022, “Synodical Birthday Sunday,” 10:00 a.m. service with Dr. Dale Meyer as guest speaker. The Synod was organized April 26, 1847, with St. John’s as a charter member. Hymn Festival for the Southern Illinois District, 7 p.m.
· June 26, 2022, Trinity-St. John Lutheran School Alumni Reunion/Joint Worship with Trinity Nashville, at 10:00 a.m., with Pastor Glen Emery (former teacher at Trinity-St. John Lutheran School) as guest speaker. After a light lunch, Mr. Richard Cohrs, first principal of Trinity-St. John Lutheran School (1974-1977) will give a presentation entitled “The Stones Shout His Praise,” sharing inspiration from his trips to the Holy Land.
· July 31, 2022, Confirmation Reunion Sunday (all classes invited), 10:00 a.m. worship with catered meal to follow. Guest speaker: Pastor Jacob Mueller, son of the congregation.
· Spring, 2022, Old fashioned “church raising” – God willing, the 1847 church/school/parsonage/shed, a 20’ x 33’ timber frame structure flattened in the 2013 tornado, will be rebuilt as the “Jesus Sends You Missionary Chapel.”
Because of changing COVID-19 guidelines, etc., those who plan to attend are urged to go to the church’s website, stjohnsnewminden.org, click on “175th Anniversary,” and check for updates.