on the General Meeting
held by the
Synod of Buffalo
May 28 through June 7, 1866
by the Pastor and Senior Minister
Johann An. A. Grabau
Church Committee and many other
Lutheran Pastors and Deputies,
who comprise the Synod.
Buffalo, N.Y. 1866
— January 25th and February 6th.
That's when Deacon Hochstetter wrote the following:
Thus may the Christian reader see:
The accusation was reported and addressed in the following manner on February 27th:
I (Pastor Grabau) defended myself against this accusation on February 28th because it was not true.
On March 8th the Church Ministry, made up of 4 or 5 pastors, issued a verdict on the doctrine which I could not accept since it was unjust and contained false doctrine within it; I was called to a full session of the Church Ministry of the Synod on March 23rd.
At the beginning of April I was proclaimed a spreader of false doctrine by Bergholz as a result of Rohr's instigation of the congregational assembly:
This compelled me to assemble my Christian community on April 8th, the Sunday after Easter, in order to clear and reestablish my good name from the accusation of false doctrine. I was censured and called before the Synod with the congregation and the church committee because of doctrine at a meeting held June 4th.
Hostile Deacon Hochstetter did not remain quiet during all this because I had disputed his rantings on the pulpit at the April 8th assembly. For some time Henning's sect or gang existed among the congregation but they had not yet come out in the open; Hochstetter along with Grollmitz and Trustee Becker secretly joined this sect. With these men he made plans behind my back and without consulting me he sent a letter to the chairmen of the Church Ministry, P. Wolläger, in order to request an extra session to investigate me.
This investigation would have taken place on April 19th. However, just as I had done with the church committee, I did not answer the summons for this investigation since we had already been called before the Synod.*) Thus the Church Ministry proceeded ever more vehemently; it was spiritually and physically in league with the Hochstetter - Henning contingent against the pastor, church committee and trustees! My accusers (Rohr and Hochstetter) were part of this Church Ministery, joined by their fellow conspirators, among them B. Brand, Weinbach, Zeumer.
The hostile Church Ministry, which itself had put forth false doctrine,
*) According to the First Synodal Letter, page 6
suspended me quite pleasantly and comfortably from my post on April 21st. Since I did not accept the suspension from office at the Synod, while the appeal against me and the congregation was being considered by the Synod, the Ministry believed it was justified in holding annex or rebel church services at the M.L. College on Maple Street! Hochstetter became the annex or rebel preacher by choice of this ministerial assembly!
Through a communiqué the entire Church Committee advised Hochstetter on April 28th against the continuation of ministerial practice and this rebel church service, whereby he had abandoned our church.*) However this was in vain!
Hochstetter, who had abandoned the church since April 14th, continued the church services with the Henning sect, i.e. the Ministerial gang. He became the driving force for the Ministerial gang. On May 7th he declared himself free from service to the church through the Christian trustees, whom he had himself dismissed; and the congregation approved this on the 13th of May.
This was declared a transgression on the part of the gang church ministry and the Hochstetter contingent while my suspension was supposedly holy and just! I (as pastor) continued to hold church services. Above all else we would not see the matter settled except through a summons to the Synod.
By the time of the assembly however, almost all the synods were already worked up and poisoned against me by letters and libelous notes from the gang church ministry and these will later be shown. Thus called before the assembled church committee and congregation because of my teachings and practices, I arrived on May 28th with 2 deputies.
I wished to answer the charges brought against me concerning doctrine and practice; on the 11th day I had the response prepared, even a little bit before; I wished to show what people had been saying about me, what rantings had been presented from the pulpit by my accuser, Hochstetter, in his so-called sermons - most of the preachers approached me with scorn and forebade the reading of my response; I was called a Papist, who had caused revolt in the church; others called me a Stephanist from whom the Grace of God had been withdrawn. Hochstetter cried: Pastor Grabau may be morally and physically incapable of writing his own sermons. The Free Synod did not allow me to bring forth Hochstetter's rantings from the pulpit, which I had already presented in February 1866.
They did not allow me to present the basis for my teachings in a prepared statement; they had no time after 11 days of deliberation over other miserable things having to do with exposed intrigues by which the Christian reader would be repulsed, as will be shown below.
I resigned from the Synod on that 11th day, the 7th of June, because of the common abuse and the gross oppression of Synodal freedom and the public slandering of my reputation. I departed from them with the congregation. The peace between the Synod and the Trustees of our Church was again broken amid this abuse and oppression on the 30th of May and the Trustees revoked Hochstetter's credentials since he had proven himself a slanderer of the pastor.
Perverted through a false hierarchical spirit, the Synod continued its session until the 14th of June. I in turn assembled with the 3 pastors and 4 deputies, who had withdrawn with me - we convened our Synodal session until June 13th.
The Church Committee in Buffalo and the Church Ministy
Confessional Stand against Power
March 12, 1866
On March 12th, before my departure, Chairman Wollaeger came to me and suggested I provide a statement to the effect that I did not hate Deacon Hochstetter! My answer: I'm deeply troubled by the man! Didn't you hear it yesterday how great his hate is for me in his words from the pulpit? Has the Missouri Free Thinker come? Answer: Yes, I didn't care much for the sermon!
*)Already departed by April 14th without my knowledge
In accordance with the Gospel of John, 8:46 "Jesus was righteous in His Words", I prepared the following announcement: I ask and admonish all the children of our Church in the matter between Deacon Hochstetter and me to contemplate in Christian prudence and prayer that God may assist in the matter with holy peace and understanding. I have hatred for no one but I am deeply troubled over the current matters concerning doctrine and life. Above all else I will endeavor, as I have for 32 years as a churchman, to illuminate pure Christian doctrine. To this end I have sought to my utmost a Christian dialog in which the other churchman should take part without scorn or sectarianism."
In the afternoon I stated before the Church Council: 1) How this accusation by Hochstetter and Rohr came about. 2) The accusation of false teachings. 3) My primary response given orally and in writing. 4) The verdict of the four ministers. 5) The verdict of Prof. Winkler. 6) The verdict of Pastor Eppling.
The Church committees proposed a peaceful discussion, that is, for the restoration of the peace. Thus follows:
On March 23rd I wrote Pastor Wollaeger and what happened! I received a reply in a most arrogant and cold official tone dated March 27th. For example: I shall not declare the verdict of the Church Ministry an erroneous one! He would not grant this to me! No one besides the pope in Rome denies permission! It was so Roman! We had been sold under an orally binding clause of obedience to the Church Ministry. We thought: How could this be!
Next Rohr's voice sounded from Martinsville on March 25th: I'm stranded in ecclesiatic discipline - the Synod will split, thus the choice of pastor for Martinsville will not happen. One can see the anxiety the new Church Ministry had over its validity and leadership! The new Senior Minister has no power to sanction a religious discussion with me! I thought it stood to reason!
Thus it continued. On March 31st, a Saturday evening, I asked Deacon Hochstetter to see me in order to discuss what a bad name Bergholz had given me and what could be done about it, so that our congregation would not feel confused? "Should I lead the people into Papistry, take on papal being myself,
Go on to Pages 6 - 11
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks