The Church Christmas Tree

Today’s story is not really connected to Perry County, Missouri, but it is one which tells an interesting story about an LCMS church and an LCMS President.  And it’s about Christmas.  I am going to let the story be told by other people today.  I will do that by providing links to other sites on the internet that help share this story in several ways.

Rev. Heinrich Schwan was the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio in 1851.  He attempted to introduce the Christmas tree into his church sanctuary and ended up with quite the controversy.  Later, Rev. Schwan would become the President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod from 1878-1899.

rev-heinrich-schwan
Rev. Heinrich Schwan

Wikipedia has a brief biography of Rev. Schwan found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Christian_Schwan

In 2011, this article titled, America’s ‘First’ Christmas Tree, was published in the Lakewood Observer about Rev. Schwan’s Christmas tree.  Lakewood is a suburb of Cleveland.

http://lakewoodobserver.com/read/2011/12/13/americas-first-christmas-tree

Here is an article written by a former director of Concordia Historical Institute, Rev. Martin Noland.  I understand that he also was a great supporter of our museum during his term as director.  This link also contains a video that was produced in 1956 about Rev. Schwan’s tree.  If you have 25 minutes to watch it, I think you would find it fascinating.

http://steadfastlutherans.org/2012/12/our-first-christmas-tree-by-martin-noland/

Here is another article that contains some additional information:

http://web.ulib.csuohio.edu/german/articles/yule.html

This story has apparently had a huge impact on our museum.  We have over 50 Christmas trees in our annual Christmas display this year.  They can be viewed on a daily basis between now and January 15, 2017.

 


One thought on “The Church Christmas Tree

  1. The first documented account of a Christmas tree in an American church service was a December 26, 1840, letter-to-the-editor, which appeared in the Tuesday, December 29, 1840 issue of the Rochester Daily Advertiser (page 2, column 4).

    It described the decorated tree at a Christmas Eve service of the German Protestant [Lutheran] Church in Rochester, NY, with Rev. John Muehlhaeuser, pastor. Later Rev. Muehlhaeuser was one of the founders, and first President, of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

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