Sunday, Sept. 15, 3:00 p.m.
On the liturgical calendar, The Festival of the Holy Cross is always celebrated on Sept. 14 (or the Sunday closest to that date). We are so blessed that the name of our church is ‘Holy Cross’ and have a special reason to highlight this festival at our church! One of the ways we celebrate this day is by having a hymn festival on Sunday afternoon with choirs and instrumentalists leading us in joyous singing and praise.
This year our congregation turned 165 years old. In celebration of this milestone, the hymns sung in our hymn festival this year will all be ones that appear in a Lutheran Hymnal that was published in 1847 (the year before the founding of our congregation) called Kirchengesangbuch fuer Evangelisch-Lutherische Gemeinden ungeanderter Augburgischer Confession. The hymns we will sing still appear in our hymnal today and were probably familiar to the founding members of Holy Cross. Though the early members of our church were primarily German immigrants and sang and worshipped in the German language, we will sing in English and use more modern settings and arrangements of these old hymns for our hymn festival!
In regard to the history of liturgy and hymn singing at Holy Cross, Pastor Ron Jansen writes in his History of Holy Cross, 150 Years of Grace:
- Holy Cross German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Collinsville was organized in 1848 (just 2 years after the fledgling Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was founded). The first pastor to be called to Holy Cross was Friedrich Lochner. Pastor Lochner was also serving as teacher and pastor at St. John Lutheran Church just north of Collinsville in what is now Maryville and at Zion, Stanton.
- At its second meeting on July 30, 1848, Holy Cross congregation voted to use Wilhelm Loehe’s order of service. This congregation began on a unified basis. In Germany, each area had its own hymnal. For instance, several members of [St. John’s] Pleasant Ridge came from the Hannover area. They used the Hannoverian “Hymnal”. However, those from other parts of Germany would be familiar with different hymnals. Both Rationalism and Pietism had led many of the core Lutheran hymns to be lost or drastically changed. There was no consistency in words and hymn tunes.
- Pastor Lochner already led singing lessons while on board ship in 1845 [coming to the United States as a missionary from Germany]. In December 1848, he instituted practice sessions at Holy Cross. He sought to restore the singing of the rhythmical Lutheran hymns. In that time hymns were all sung in a slow dragging fashion. Every hymn was played and sung the same whether sad or joyous. When rhythmical hymns were reintroduced by pastors like Lochner and Walther not everyone was in favor of this “new” way of singing. In the spring of 1849 the congregation bought a supply of hymnals.
- The first mention of a choir was in October 1854. A choir could sing at weddings and other festivals. Two years later, a choir was permitted to sing at Easter, provided it could find some good music. In order to stabilize and improve singing, the regular use of a choir was established in February 1857…
- The Organ Society gave an organ to Holy Cross in 1867. Mr. Kohlstock, a teacher at Pleasant Ridge was invited to play at the dedication. Mr. B. Kuhlenbeck served as a substitute for Teacher Ludwig Jung who ordinarily played. In any event the organ pumper was paid 10 cents per Sunday. Carl Metz also played the organ when necessary. In 1870, Fuerchtegott Schau was chosen as assistant song leader. He was responsible to provide the numbers for the hymn board.
From its founding, music and singing has been an important part of Holy Cross congregation. Please plan to join us for our hymn festival on Sept. 15 at 3:00 PM!