Page images
[ocr errors]

history in general and of the historical development of Church Art, as well as upon a thorough understanding of the particular liturgical and artistic principles, usages and traditions of our own distinctive Church-life. To encourage and promote such study the Lutheran Liturgical Association was organized. Its consistent purpose and effort have been to assist clergymen and laymen in developing an intelligent and deeply spiritual devotional life, and in rightly interpreting our beautiful Services, to guard against the hasty adoption of innovations and practices foreign to Lutheran principles or usages, and to meet and solve the many important and practical questions constantly arising in the individual parish.

The organization of the Association was suggested by the President in a conversation with the future Vice President and Secretary during the annual meeting of the Pittsburgh Synod of the General Council at East Liverpool, Ohio. A preliminary meeting was held during this session of the Synod, September 3rd, 1898, which was attended by twenty or more clergymen. A permanent organization was effected at a meeting held in the First English Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, Pa., the Rev. Dr. D. H. Geissinger, Pastor, October 3rd, 1898, by the adoption of a constitution and the election of the following officers:

President, The Rev. Luther D. Reed.
Vice President, The Rev. Prof. Elmer F. Krauss, D.D.
Secretary and Treasurer, The Rev. R. Morris Smith.
Archivarius, The Rev. George J. Gongaware.

These officers have been re-elected every succeeding year. Together they constitute the Executive Committee. The practical direction of the interests of the Association has thus been uninterruptedly in the hands of those most active in its organization seven years ago.

The regular monthly meetings have, without exception, been held in the First Church, Pittsburgh, Pa., the Revs. D. H. Geis


singer, D. D., and George J. Gongaware, Pastors. Fifty-one such regular Conventions have been held, at which many valuable papers, prepared by many of the best-informed men in all parts of the Church, have been presented. During the first few years of the Association's history, in addition to the afternoon sessions in the First Church, an evening session was held each month in one of the various churches of Pittsburgh or vicinity, to which the congregations of the city were especially invited. At these sessions Vespers were read and various liturgical subjects of a more generally popular nature were discussed.

From the very beginning the Association endeavored to give the results of its studies permanent form and thus to make them useful to a far larger number than could possibly attend the meetings. The income received from subscriptions permitted the publication of the most valuable papers in the MEMOIRS. Subscribers receive every single publication as it is issued, as well as copies of all programs, etc., and are also entitled to club reduction upon publications controlled by American publishers and importers.

The work and membership of the Association soon expanded beyond all anticipation and demonstrated that the Association had found a sphere of real usefulness in almost every portion of the English-speaking Lutheran Church in America. Synodical boundaries and distinctions have never limited its work.

The first year the membership comprised seventy-five subscribers in seven different States. Last year (1905) there were enrolled nearly four hundred members, most widely distributed throughout twenty-two States of the Union, four Provinces of Canada, the District of Columbia, and India, and representing five General Bodies of the Church. Members of nearly all the Synods of the General Council, the General Synod, the United Synod of the South, the Joint Synod of Ohio, the Icelandic Synod and the United Norwegian Synod have prepared papers for the Memoirs and the surprisingly extensive correspondence which from the beginning has devolved upon the President and the Secretary of the Association, is unmistakable evidence of a widespread and genuine interest in all parts of the Church and in all parts of the country on subjects within the liturgical field.

In the publication and dissemination of its printed literature the Association finds its most important work—the work that is of permanent value to the Church. The first publication issued was a sixteen page “Bibliography and Outline of Study” which soon was out of print. Four papers were also published the first year and comprised Volume I of the MEMOIRS, issued at a cost of $64.75. The growth of the work is indicated by the fact that the mere printing of last year's MEMOIRS (Volume VII, 187 pages) cost the Association $319.25. The total receipts from membership dues, sale of publications and other sources since the organization has been $2,249.60; total expenditures $2,243.28.

The papers collected and issued in the various volumes of the MEMOIRS are undoubtedly of very unequal merit. Some are quite brief; others are exhaustive treatises which embody the fruits of years of earnest and patient investigation. Altogether they unquestionably comprise the most extensive and most valuable collection of Lutheran liturgical literature in the English language. Gathered from innumerable sources and adapted to the conditions of our Church in this country by special students of acknowledged standing, many of these papers present information that is invaluable. The MEMOIRS are regularly used as supplementary text books in some of our Theological Seminaries and they have certainly proved of inestimable service to pastors and laymen in many parishes.

At a meeting of the Association held December 4th, 1905, the Association declined to accept the resignation of the President, but by resolution acceded to his urgent request to be relieved of the duties of his office for the present. It was also reCONTENTS.

« PreviousContinue »