Special tour of Lutheran sites planned as part of Missouri Synod’s celebration of the Dr. C.F.W. Walther Bicentennial
ST. LOUIS—Aug. 5, 2011—The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) is planning a two-day tour of historic Lutheran sites in St. Louis and Perry County, Mo., this fall as part of the national church body’s 200th birthday celebration of its first president, Rev. Dr. C.F.W. Walther.
Many LCMS entities and congregations will recognize the bicentennial of Walther’s birth with special events, activities and resources starting in fall 2011 and extending through the 125th anniversary of his death in 2012.
“C.F.W. Walther has been hailed as an ‘American Luther,’” said Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS president. “He was an avid student of Luther’s writings, and they shaped the transformative role Walther played in 19th-century American Lutheranism. How appropriate that we recognize his bicentennial year! For in his day, Walther recognized the unique role of the Lutheran church in America. That role is ours yet today.”
Highlights of the Walther Bicentennial activities include the following:
- Walther Heritage St. Louis/Perry County Tour: Produced by Luther Tours, this unforgettable two-day journey will take visitors to significant Lutheran sites in St. Louis and Perry County, Mo., including the LCMS International Center; Historic Trinity Lutheran Church; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Concordia Historical Institute; the Saxon Lutheran Memorial, the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum; Hill of Peace Lutheran Church; and Concordia Cemetery, where the Walther Mausoleum is located. Tour dates are: Sept. 23-25, Oct. 7-9, Oct. 14-16 and Oct. 21-23, 2011.
- Walther Movie: Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is producing a high definition video series which will follow the life of Walther, present a history of the LCMS, and – through studying Walther’s life and teachings – provide viewers with a better understanding of the importance of the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.
- Historic Trinity Lutheran Church Walther Bicentennial Celebration Service: A special celebration service is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, 1805 S. Eighth St., St. Louis. The service will include special speakers in the church where Walther was a pastor from 1841 until his death in 1887.
- Concordia Publishing House Reformation Theology Research Award: To encourage the study of historical theology, the Professional and Academic Book Team at Concordia Publishing House has organized a special cash award commemorating the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth for research papers or commemorative sermon and prayer. Announcement of award winners will coincide with the publication of the finalist papers in 2011.
- Walther Look-Alike Contest at Saxon Lutheran Memorial: The Saxon Lutheran Memorial historic site will mark the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth during the 31st Annual Fall Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. The festival will include a special “Dr. C.F.W. Walther Look-Alike Contest” as part of the festivities.
- Historic Germany tour: LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and Rev. Jon Vieker, senior assistant to the LCMS president, will host a 12-day tour of Germany, produced by LutherTours, Nov. 30-Dec. 11. The tour coincides with the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth and will focus on sites that were significant in both his and Martin Luther's lives. Also included will be visits to several of Germany's Christmas markets.
Walther, who was born Oct. 25, 1811, joined the Saxon Germans who immigrated to the United States in 1839, and at the age of only 27 found himself leader of the group that settled in Perry County, Mo. In 1847, Walther played a key role in the founding of the LCMS, which now ranks as one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States with more than 2.3 million baptized members in some 6,200 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors.
“C.F.W. Walther was a towering figure of 19th century Lutheranism,” said Larry Lumpe, executive director of Concordia Historical Institute, the department of archives and history of the LCMS. “His knowledge of and unwavering commitment to the Lutheran Confessions and the theology of Martin Luther provided a firm foundation for the growth and development of the Missouri Synod. Through his tireless ministry as preacher, teacher and writer, he offers a lasting legacy for the church of the 21st century as it proclaims the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.”
To find out more about the Walther Bicentennial, visit www.lcms.org/Walther200.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1847, the LCMS has more than 2.3 million baptized members in some 6,200 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. Two seminaries and 10 colleges and universities operate under the auspices of the LCMS, and its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. The church broadcasts the saving message of Jesus Christ over KFUO Radio, and it has relationships and active mission work in 89 countries around the world. In the last five years, the LCMS has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans. For more information, visit www.lcms.org.