Ecclesiastic Informatorium

Continued in the Unchanged Profession of the Lutheran Church of the Prussian Congregation, which immigrated between 1839 and 1843


"Fear not, little flock."


Published by order of the Evangelical-Lutheran Synod of Buffalo. Under the editorship of
Pastor H. v. Rohr


Volume 18    Detroit, June 1, 1870    Issue 2


June 1, 1870 - pages 20 & 21

Having won the 1867 lawsuit he could be named sole personal owner of the deed to the Martin Luther College.

Early in the year 1869 he permitted himself to be persuaded to hand over the deed, which had been promised to us, to the members of his opposition synod.

Although he no longer held onto our property for himself and his descendants, it remains an injustice that he turned over the property to his adherents and kept it from the rightful synod of Buffalo.

Furthermore a letter was sent by this 4th synod to the synod being held by Missouri in Cleveland at the same time in answer to Missouri's 6th Synodal report, mentioning the proposal by Pastors Brohm, Gruber and their secretary Habel, for attempting to reconcile with the Synod of Buffalo.

In this letter "The Proper Path to Peace" was demonstrated and our synod was ready.

The exchange of correspondence dealing with Missouri's refusal to follow this path is published in Volume 2 of Informatorium, Issue 16.

The Missouri responses show how they did not want to cease with their previous injust deeds and intentions until we could join them in a colloquium. For almost 20 years they persist in building counter-altars and loudly stating their conditions, that first they must be united with us in teaching or until they would declare themselves won over by doctrine! What can we anticipate on Judgment Day before the seat of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Finally it was decided to send two deputies to Germany: first, in order to tell the Lutheran church in Germany about the deeds and intentions of Missouri and request that they warn this synod along with us. To this end we sent, according to the words of Christ, Tell It to the Church.

Another reason for the trip was to secure financial support for the building of the Martin Luther College.

The trip was contingent upon our congregations' raising of voluntary donations of 7 to 8 hundred dollars. The congregations willingly gathered $1000 so that within a few weeks after the synod, planning for the trip could begin.

Pastors Grabau and v. Rohr were elected deputies by the synod. (Continues in next issue.)

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Grabau's so-called Eleventh Synodal Letter (continued)

II. Response of the von Rohr accusation of 1866

and

V. Verdict over the exchange of letters with Schadow in Detroit.

Concerning these items it is sufficient to remember: that people, who flee their church court, have an easy time justifying themselves to their seduced followers and defend themselves against accusations with the skill of all mutineers, as Grabau himself demonstrates above.

Our 1866 Synod printed the deliberations of Pastors Hochstetter and v. Rohr in the 9th Synodal Letter, pages 29 and 40 and rendered the following verdict on page 28:

XIII.
The Deliberations

The deliberations of Pastor H. v. Rohr, dated February 11th of this year and Deacon Hochstetter of February 23rd of this year concerning the conduct in office of Mr. J. A. A. Grabau, as pastor and senior minister, were thoroughly reviewed by the synod on June 13th and 14th and since the defense of the accusations could not be heard (because of his desertion), a unanimous verdict was reached by the Synod:

That these deliberations are justified and that the expressed apprehensions about the subsequent handling of the former Pastor Grabau appear to be substantiated. It was also known that it was high time to set aside Pastor Grabau's testimony concerning infringement.

XV. The Synodal Account, page 19.

In this section Grabau publically lied and slander that v. Rohr may have depleted the synodal account. These facts were provided: that upon requesting and receiving permission to step down, Professor Winkler, as overseer of the account, handed over to the man appointed to take his place, Mr. Christiansen, the fund with a balance of $5.00.

Thus Pastor Grabau committed a new lie and slanderous remark with these words:
With this the synod was also informed in what way Mr. von Rohr along with two other men in authority, with the excpetion of Pastor Grabau, might have discounted a thousand volumes of our songbook to a ridiculous price (in 1868) under the pretext of being fair to Georg Schmidt; what resulted was that the songbook fund, in existence since 1842 and having risen to $500 for the synod, was depleted. (Whatever Rohr does is known to be holy; if he builds up, it's holy; if he destroys, that's holy too.)

Our synods, Grabau's followers, and even he himself know well that this is a lie! Well known facts contradict this publically pronounced lie:

In 1866 Grabau reminded the ministry and the synod that Georg Schmidt in Humberston had loaned the synod $1000 for the songbook fund. The money was to be used for the printing of the 4th edition of the songbook and he was given a promissory note for the full return of this loan from the proceeds of this edition.

When the entire sum could not be raised an understanding was reached with Georg Schmidt and a new promissory note with the same terms was issued and signed by acting senior minister P. Maschhop. The sum was kept for another year.

In 1867 the songbook committee changed and fund overseer G. Rother, G. Henning and Pastor Hochstetter, turned the fund over to Senior Minister Masschop. Notification was sent that G. Schmidt was not inclined to take in payment the entire fund and the remaining stock of songbooks; he just wanted money.

After Pastor Masschop retired as senior minister and Pastor von Rohr was chosen his successor, the fund overseer and G. Schmidt came to the new senior minister. They communicated


June 1, 1870 - pages 22 & 23

that several failed attempts had been made, even by the songbook committee and G. Schmidt, to get Pastor Grabau to turn over the money and the surplus stock of songbooks or to pay the debt. After consulting with his church committee and others, they decided to reject a plan to split the cost of repaying the debt. Immediately afterwards the songbook committee received a grossly unfair counterproposal from Grabau.

In consideration of payment of the $1000, Grabau not only wanted the entire surplus stock of books and the fund but also he wanted the fund overseer and Henning to make up the deficit, around $400, out of their own pockets.

With justification G. Schmidt turned to our synod to make good on the note, which Masschop [sic] had signed in the name of the synod. Schmidt did not want the surplus books. — The two members of the committee and later G. Schmidt himself had gone over to or fallen in with the Missouri Synod, having appealed to its governing body for advise and assistance. It was decreed that the entire stock of books, etc. should be turned over to G. Schmidt in lieu of payment.

Since the committee and Schmidt knew that they administered the songbook fund for our synod and persisted in demanding payment from us, von Rohr, as acting senior minister brought the matter to the attention of our synod and the congregations. He also pointed out that our synod was duty bound to make things right with G. Schmidt, to turn over the entire sum of the songbook fund and pay Schmidt, while on the other hand the books themselves were worth little considering the reduced chance of sale since the greater portion of consumers, namely our synodal congregations, had fallen in with Missouri.

For the sake of righteousness each housefather, through his congregation, was asked to pay for a proportion of the debt and to store up the surplus books for himself and his children and future growth within the congregations. This made it clear to our fellow Christians that this was not an advantageous purchase but the fulfilling of a duty and each declared himself willing to make the sacrifice.

The congregations elected 4 deputies, who concluded the sale contract with G. Schmidt, the owner of the delinquent note, and in accordance with his wishes, with the fund overseer and G. Henning. Pastor Hochstetter was elected to the songbook committee by the synod in place of Grabau after his desertion and dismissal from office. Around this time it became known that Hochstetter too had fallen and abandoned Buffalo.

The 4 deputies, P. F. Müller, Wilh. Devantier, Christoph Walk and G. Schmidt, as deputy from Humberston in Canada with a vested interest, closed the contract for our congregations and bought 7 tenths of the surplus from the songbook commission for $700. Humberston took 1 tenth and families in Bergholz and Buffalo took 2 tenths. Portions of these congregations had already fallen to Missouri.

And now Grabau is not ashamed of himself for stating this in the Eleventh Synodal Letter and his followers have allowed it to be printed: "Mr. v. Rohr has sold thousands of copies at a loss and has depleted a fund of $500." This sum, as profit from the first three editions, was eaten up by the commission of the 4th edition of the songbook and could have been spared! How long would it have taken for things to turn out well? Could the greater portion of the books in stock have remained in stock for another 10 years until they could be sold in a single transaction? Should Schmidt have been happy with that? Grabau didn't answer these questions. He obstinately rejected them.

However concerning the men in authority, G. Rother and G. Henning, and the sale of the books below cost, we still have something to say.

Until 1866 Grabau claimed the reputation that except for his household expenses he had never demanded payment for the instruction duties at the College. But when he was asked by those sent to him from the synod, Pastors Eppling, Maschop and von Rohr, to keep his publically spoken promise to turn over a valid deed to the Martin Luther College instead of the invalid deed (with which he secured the rights of ownership for his personal use and which later assisted him in winning and taking over the Martin Luther College in court) he said: "I may very well do that but first I want the assurance of the synod that it will pay me for my 19 years of service to the College." For a long time he intended to firmly secure his position with his false deed to the M. L. College.

And now to this incident! The entire synod and the world knew only that Grabau accepted no payment for the editing of the songbooks, which were printed at the cost of the synod and proven to be its property and that the work was done and continues to be for nothing. Although the synod may have been willing to offer a stipend if it had been asked.

Now it comes to light that Grabau had come to an agreement with the man in authority, as he called the fund overseer, without the knowledge of the ministry or the synod to receive 5 cents for each copy of the book in payment for his work and effort.

For an edition of between 4 and 6 thousand books this amounted to between $200 and $300.

Recently these men in authority, as he calls them, have graciously disclosed that with the consent of our deputies and in order to avoid a lawsuit with Grabau concerning his claim, they have given him another 300 copies of the songbook in payment for the remainder of his claim of 5 cents per songbook.

For this Grabau issued the following receipt:
                        Buffalo, January 23, 1868
The undersigned acknowledges the receipt of 300 unbound songbooks from the songbook committee of the Lutheran Synod of Buffalo, whereby his claim to the songbook committee is satisfied and for his part requests nothing more. Mr. Fr. Schottin is commissioned to deliver said 300 books to me.
                        Joh. An. A. Grabau,
                        Pastor of the German Lutheran Trinity Church of Buffalo

Thus hatred and malice can overtake a man so that despite the danger of shaming himself he is prepared to publically lie about his neighbor and our synod. The scriptures speak of those who attempt to harm others -
Proverbs 26, 26: He who would secretly cause harm, his malice will become known to the congregation.


October 1, 1870 - pages 90 & 91

Something for the Rohr Fanatic

(Psalms 119: 41, 42)

Under this title the opposition preacher J. A. A. Grabau issues the following article in the August edition of his opposition newspaper and slanders our synod, our Christian congregation and particularly the church administration of the Christian congregation in New Wallmore, Niagara County, NY. It begins:

"'Electorate of Saxony Church Order, General Article, page 327.

"'However if the excommunicated person shows no improvement and falls seriously ill, the pastor shall exert the greatest diligence to make the person acknowledge his sin, request Christ's absolution and promise to lead a better life. Should this be accomplished through the grace of God, the pastor shall give him absolution and upon his request provide and comfort him with the holy eucharist of Christ.

"'In cases where the excommunicated person dies without atoning, the people of the parish shall not attend his burial and he shall be interred without ceremony by an appointed gravedigger outside the church graveyard and regarded as a member cut off from the holy Christian church.'"

Grabau, dismissed from holy office and excommunicated as an opposition preacher, continues:

"In accordance with this the seduced von Rohr adherents in New Wallmore, unfortuately well trained as his fanatical slaves, have denied burial in the church cemetery to the recently deceased Christian wife of Friedrich Walk, neé Schroeder, who was a true witness against Rohr's teachings and actions. The graveyard was a present from her husband to the church yet her body must be buried outside the graveyard next to the fence!

"Thus the Rohr intellect interprets the Saxon Church Order!

"Who understands the church regulations better than he?" So much for Grabau.

The truth is: Mrs. Friedrich Walk — may she have died repentant and be at peace! — informed our pastor through her father, the church father Friedrich Schroeder, that for the sake of peace within the household she had to withdraw from our synod and follow her husband, who had joined Grabau's sect belonging to the opposition congregation in Martinville, which is served by the opposition preacher Carl Gram. Her close relatives were convinced that she recognized the correctness of the teachings of our synod and she herself had indicated this since she often came to our church and heard the sermons of our ministers plus she sent her children to our Christian parochial school.

She died while our pastor was away on a recreational and vocational trip as Senior Minister to Coopertown in Wisconsin and Winona in Minnesota in July of this year.

Since there wasn't enough time to seek the advise of Pastor Müller in Wolcottsville, 20 miles from here, the church administration answered Friedrich Walk's request that his wife be buried in house church graveyard through his father-in-law, Fr. Schroeder.

With Yes! He could bury his wife in the churchyard in the next grave in the row and if it was necessary to start a new row, the sexton, Mr. Wilhelm Wendt, would show him the spot.

However due to faith and profession, the administration could not allow the mutineer minister Karl Gram of Martinville to perform the service in the churchyard. The understanding was that even if he was present, the burial had to occur without ceremony. No other interdict was placed.

Mr. Friedrich Walk was not satisfied with this and decided to have his wife's service performed by Mr. Karl Gram and bury her on his own land next to the fence on the other side from the churchyard. *

It is also untrue that Friedrich Walk donated the land used as a graveyard for our church. The congregation had bought the land from his late mother, Mrs. Euphorsyne Walk.

We want to reproach Mr. J. A. A. Grabau with a response and a warning for his fiction and his slander with what David has to say to him and others like him:

Psalm 52, 4 - 9: What comfort do you find, you tyrant, that you do such harm; can you still remember God's goodness?

Your tongue aims to injure and cut with lies like a sharp shearing knife.
You would speak of evil rather than goodness, falsehoods rather than truth! So be it!

With a false tongue you would speak of all things, which serve corruption.

For this God will cut you down and completely destroy you, rip you from your abode and purge you from the land of the living. So be it!

And the righteous will see this and be afraid and will laugh at you:

See, this is the man who does not keep God as his consolation. He abandons himself to his own great kingdom and was mighty in the injury he caused. —

We request that he repentantly turn to his own unjust, unchristian and forsaken synod and as much as it is in him, to cease with his public outrages, such as the criticizing of a evanglical Lutheran preacher, scorning, mutineering and public slandering of our righteous-faith synod.

In the name of and by order of the New Wallmore congregation, which was slandered by him.
                        ~ The Christian Church Administration

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* The church father Friedrich Schroeder told the Christian congregational assembly the following: how he understood the response, how the response was brought back to his son-in-law, Fr. Walk, and the words themselves - "We could bury her in the churchyard, quietly and without display or ceremony, in the next grave in the row; the spot would be shown to us by school teacher Wendt." Return to text