Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Macomb
The Evangelical Lutherans date their organization from October 31, 1517, when Luther nailed 95 theses (or protests) against the church door of Wittenberg, which he proposed to defend; they being directed against the papal abuses. In 1530 the adherents of Luther, in defense of their faith, laid before the Diet at Augsburg a summary of their doctrines, which has been known as the "Augsburg Confession," and which has formed the foundation for all Protestant confessions. These adherents to, and defenders of, the pure bible doctrine wished to be known simply as Evangelical Christians, but they were constantly called Lutherans in derision; and since Luther restored the gospel to the people, they finally accepted the name as an honor, and joined it to their "Evangelical" designation. Doctrinally, the Evangelical Lutheran church glories in being "the church of the world," maintaining the duty of simple faith in the word of God without regard to human philosophy or logic. She insists on the careful indoctrination of her young people in Luther's catechism, a summary of bible doctrines through her pastors. In theological literature the Lutheran church stands pre-eminently front in the ranks.
Her researches are acknowledged as the most profound, and many of her writers are the indispensable aids of every christian scholar. Her progress in this country was much retarded on account of the less demonstrative character of her people when compared with the puritanic element coming from England, and also by the transition from the various foreign tongues to the English language. For the last 35 years, however, she has increased at a much greater ratio than any other Evangelical denomination. In this county the first organization was effected April 7, 1871 by the Rev. G. H. Schnurr, who located at Bushnell at that time. This organization took place at the Jerusalem chapel, three miles northwest of Bardolph, and was known as the Mount Pisgah congregation. In the space of a few years several families having removed from the neighborhood of Jerusalem chapel to the vicinity of Macomb, the question of transfer of the congregation to Macomb was agitated. The proper arrangements having been made, a meeting for that purpose took place at the Cumberland Presbyterian church in Macomb, January 11, 1875, where the congregation re-organized under the name and title of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran church.
At the time of this re-institution and establishment of Trinity church a constitution was adopted according to the usage of the church: Charles Kline, C. H. Rahe, Matilda Rahe, Charles Filbert, Charles Rost, Christian Senn, Elizabeth Senn, H. W. Ferster, Lydia Filbert, Carrie Clarke, Helen A. Swana, A. P. Swana, Andrew Haynes, D. M. Crabb, Helen Crabb, Heinrich Hadem, Mrs. H. Hadem, David McNelly, Cal. McNelly, Daniel R. Ferster, Lydia Ferster, Albert Hosler, Susan Hosler.
The congregation purchased the old Congregational church edifice and repaired it, at a total cost of about $1,000, and dedicated it anew as a place of divine worship. The church was under the ministry of Rev. G. H. Schnurr until April, 1879, when the pulpit became vacant, and so remained until July 16 of the same year, when Rev. William Rosenstingel assumed the pastorate. He continued at this post until February 15, 1880, when he was succeeded by Rev. S. E. Smith. In April, 1882, it became pastorless, and remained so until the following November, on the 12th of which month the Rev. Professor E. F. Bartholomew, of Carthage, assumed charge, and served one year. When his time had expired the church extended a call to Rev. A. R. Height, of Fairview, Fulton county. He accepted it, and is serving as pastor at the present writing (1885).
Lutheran Church, Chalmers Township
The building used by this denomination is situated on the southwest quarter of section 14, and was completed in July, 1872, by the Lutheran and Methodist societies, of this township, who erected and own it jointly. The size of the building is 28x40 feet and was completed at a cost of $1,600. The Lutheran society was organized in July, 1872, by Rev. George H. Schnurr. The original members of the organization were William F. Steckel, August Plassmann, William Fry, George Krause, Peter Ehrdard, Joseph Pemrose. Rev. George Schnurr was the minister in charge until 1878, when he was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Smith, until 1881. Then came Rev. E. F. Bartholemew, who remained one year, since which time Rev. E. K. Height, the present pastor, has had charge. The present membership of the church numbers about 35. It was mainly through the efforts of George F. Steckel and Rev. George Schnurr, that the organization of the church was affected, and to these gentlemen rightly belong great credit for their untiring labor in placing the church upon its present flourishing and successful foundation.
Source: The History of McDonough County, together with sketches of the towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; portraits of prominent individuals, and biographies of the representative citizens, 1885, pages 480-482. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen