The Second Pastorate
Following Pastor Siebenpfeiffer's resignation on September 14, 1893, a successor to his pastorate was sought and found in the Reverend J. F. W. Helmkamp, who preached his first sermon in Salem Church on November 5, 1893. At this time he was completing his fifth year as pastor of St. John's Church, Sharpsburg, Pa., where he had served with signal success. Upon acceptance of the call tendered to him by Salem Church, he was installed as the second pastor on January 4, 1894. On the occasion of his tenth anniversary Pastor Helmkamp, telling of his first experiences in Rochester, wrote as follows: "How strange everyone and everything seemed to us; but we had great confidence that we would find people good and true. We were not mistaken. Pastor Siebenpfeiffer was then still alive. He extended to us many kindnesses. Pastor Carl Loos was assistant at the church and gave us much valuable information. It was a difficult period for me, hut the difficulties have passed. Ten years have gone by." Pastor Helmkamp devoted himself whole-heartedly to the many duties which faced him in his new charge. He gave much attention to the various flourishing organizations in the church which had been established during the previous twenty years; namely, the Ladies' Society, the Sister Society, the Young Ladies' Society, the Men's Benevolent Society, the Young Men's Society and the Christian Endeavor Society. The Christian Endeavor Society had been organized less than a year before the new pastor's arrival, and it made flue progress under his leadership. He was unremitting in his zeal to contact the hundreds of families in his widely scattered parish and devoted many hours each week to house visitations. On March 15, 1894 appeared the first edition of the monthly church paper known as the "Salem's Bote," under which name it continued to be published until January, 1923, when the name was changed to "Salem Outlook." Pastor Helmkamp edited the paper, and Henry Albrecht served as business manager. The Young Men's Society sponsored its publication, and free distribution was made at the church door on the Sunday nearest the fifteenth of each month. Through the medium of the "Bote" Pastor Helmkamp was enabled to bring matters of vital importance concerning Salem into the homes of his parishioners.
As early as June, 1894, the need for enlarged quarters for the Sunday school was recognized and discussed at a special, congregational meeting. On the last Sunday in March, 1895, the annual congregational meeting considered the enlargement of the Sunday school rooms. After a lengthy debate the matter was referred to a committee which was authorized to devise a plan and estimate the approximate cost, at a special meeting to, be called later. This meeting was held on May 12, when it was decided to proceed with the work of enlarging the Sunday school, and to effect some changes in the church auditorium, principally the removal of the organ from the rear to the front of the church and the addition thereby of seventy-four seats in the former choir loft. The following were appointed to the building committee: Frank Fritzsche, Rudolph Weis, George F. Roth, Carl Priem, George Zimmer and the Trustees, Carl Hempel, Charles Weis and Henry Husmann. The building operations progressed nicely during the summer months, and by September 23rd, the Sunday school rooms were ready for the opening of a fair which was conducted from September 23 to 28. This fair, under the general chairmanship of Charles Suss, was a huge success, netting a profit of $5,802.76, which sum was used toward defraying part of the total expense of $13,722.55 incurred in the work now nearing completion. The date of the dedication was set for October 20, 1895. Clear skies greeted the hundreds who strean1ed from all parts of Rochester to attend the dedicatory services. The Sunday school met at nine o'clock with 840 present. A fine program was presented in the main Sunday school room with greetings by the superintendent, Henry Albrecht, and addresses by Pastor Helmkanip and Thomas Drausfield, the first superintendent of Salem Sunday School. The church service at ten-thirty o'clock was of a festive character and was very well attended. In the afternoon a memorial service was held at the grave of the lately departed Pastor Siebenpfeiffer. Despite the fact that a raw cold wind had arisen, a large multitude attended. A monument in the form of a twelve foot cross was unveiled with Pastors Henckell and Baur from Trinity and St. Paul's Churches, respectively, assisting Pastor Helmkamp in the service. The same evening another well attended service was held in the church auditorium in which Pastors Gundlach, Loos, Henckell, and Baur participated.
The work just completed increased the indebtedness of the church to $18,000, and Pastor Helmkamp strove diligently to reduce it. The first Easter offering was solicited in 1896, and yielded the sum of $987.18. During that year $4,000 was paid on the indebtedness. Steadily and persistently further payments were made until in May, 1904, the total amount owed on the church property was reported to be $2,500. Beginning with October, 1904, and continuing through the early months of 1905, a house to house collection by Pastor Helmkamp, with the assistance of the Vicar, Reverend Emil Jaeger, netted the splendid sum of $2,500. During 1904 the church was renovated at a cost of $4,000, increasing the indebtedness. However, in May, 1906, this amount had been paid, and the total debt of the church was again only $2,500. In the spring of the same year a plot of ground adjoining the church on the north side was purchased for $3,000, to provide against encroachment on the light and the air of the church building. This purchase and several necessary improvements which were made in the church and Sunday school building during the next three years, at an approximate cost of $3,000, raised the total indebtedness to $8,500. In October, 1907, an envelope system with a yearly pledge to supplement the revenue from the pew rents was introduced among the young people. It did much to encourage financial support from them.
Two years after the beginning of Pastor Helmkamp's ministry in Salem an average attendance of 800 to 1,000 at the Sunday morning church services was reported, with a new high record of 2,110 communion guests for the year. During Holy Week and on Easter Sunday in 1904 a total of 1,726 partook of Holy Communion. Despite these seemingly encouraging records of attendance it had been obvious for many years that the German language was creating a serious problem, causing many to seek other church homes, or to attend less frequently at Salem than they formerly did. With the decline of the parochial school, the language question had already become evident in Pastor Siebenpfeiffer's ministry. For nineteen years, until 1893, this school had as its leader, Dettmar S. Poppen, and during the last few months of its existence it was served by Professor Meyer. As a marked decline in the attendance became apparent, serious efforts were made to revive it. Tuition payments were abolished, and much money was spent by the congregation out of the church treasury to maintain the school, without producing the desired results. When Pastor Helmkamp became the minister of Salem the school existed in name only. It still had a teacher, but there were not sufficient pupils (five to seven in number) to justify its continuance. In April, 1894, it was announced definitely that the parochial school was closed, but that other ways would be found to teach German to the children of the church. An evening school, meeting on Tuesday, for children over eleven years of age, was started in the autumn of 1894, with one hundred pupils in attendance. Pastor Helmkamp, George Becker and Charles Kaelber were the teachers. German classes also met on Saturday morning before the confirmation class sessions, and for a number of years a daily vacation church school was conducted during the summer season. To encourage attendance at divine worship and to stimulate interest in the German sermons, Pastor Helmkamp announced on the first Sunday of January, 1902, that a "beautiful present" would he given to the boy or girl who would write the best extract of any sermon preached within the month. however, the young people were insistent upon a more general use of the English language in the Sunday school and the church services. In the year 1907 a Bible class conducted in the English language was started. In the "Salem's Bote" of May, 1908, this noteworthy and history-making statement from the pen of Pastor Helmkamp appeared.
"Within the last fifteen years the question of conducting services in the English language has been agitated in Salem Church. Before receiving and accepting the call to its pastorate the pastor was informed by his predecessor, Reverend Carl Siebenpfeiffer, that English services would be required and that additional work would be involved. There is no doubt that even at such remote a time there was a strong sentiment within the church favoring the introduction of the English language into our services. On the other hand there was even a stronger sentiment which was strictly, and out of principle, opposed to it. Both were right and both parties had a right to be heard. The advocates of the English movement had in their favor the actual conditions and the obvious necessity of giving, especially to our young people, a public worship in a language which they could understand, while the other side stood firm on constitutional grounds and pointed out to these would-be reformers the time honored traditions of the church and the precious heritage of the German language sacred to the heart of every child of German parentage."
"So the years have passed by, and in the course of natural events the development of this language question has taken its natural course also. The agitation in favor of it has never been carried on with any determination. Nothing has been done hastily. While other German churches have for years past, opened their doors to the English-speaking public and have unreluctantly given way to the pressure brought to bear upon them, Salem Church has held back. Some have thought the pastor rather slow along this line. Others have blamed, certain members in the church council that things English did not move on as rapidly as could be. But, looking back today, I do not think we have anything to be sorry for. True, we have lost some of our young people to English churches, but we have a larger church today than we ever had. And most of those who have gone from us, have probably gone for some other reason than the difficulty to understand the German sermon. This much, however, must be said to the credit of many of our young people, that they love their mother church and that they have clung to it, even though they found great difficulty at times to fully appreciate a sermon preached in German. And from what I have heard, they have lived in the hope that sooner or later things would come their way and the opposition would finally concede to them the privilege of introducing the English services. At the last annual meeting this concession was made. A resolution, giving the pastor the privilege to arrange for an English service at such times as would seem best to him, was almost unanimously adopted. It is hard to tell what has brought about such a radical change in the sentiment of our people. But the occasion which precipitated this event in the history of Salem Church may he recorded here for reference in later years. Several weeks before Easter the question arose in the meeting of the church council, whether our church might not extend to the Masonic Order of Monroe Commandery an invitation to attend our Easter service on the evening of Easter Sunday. A motion to that effect was made and unanimously adopted. Of course, in consideration of the honored guests, these services were to be conducted in English. At the annual meeting of the congregation, the pastor thought it best to lay the matter before that body, inasmuch as he was bound by the constitution to use the German language only in our public services. There was not one in the whole meeting who objected to this departure from our custom. It was at this juncture that the pastor, in behalf of those in our church who have been wishing and hoping for an opportunity to introduce the English, made an earnest appeal to the meeting and, as stated before, the request was almost unanimously granted. This is the situation today. I am not prepared to say just what will he done in the future. I feel that the congregation, by passing that resolution, has placed upon me the whole responsibility. Heretofore there was some comfort in the consciousness that, if nothing was done, I could not he blamed. But now the church may look to me to settle this question, and settle it wisely and to the best interest of all. How shall I do it? I have as yet not found sufficient time to think the matter over carefully. The next 'Bote', I hope, will bring something more definite. In the meantime I would kindly ask all who are interested to express their opinion to me in writing. I shall be thankful to every one who may show his interest in the church work by writing me a letter and giving me all the good advice he can offer. A general reply to these expressions will be made in the next issue of the 'Bote.'"
From the foregoing we learn that the first complete service in the English language was conducted on Easter Sunday evening, April 19, 1908. Regular Sunday evening English services were instituted on the first Sunday evening in October, 1908.
After Twenty-five Years
At a congregational meeting held on April 4, 1898, the date, June 19, was chosen for the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the corner-stone laying of our church. The June number of the "Salem's Bote," which was dedicated to this anniversary, contained a short history of the church, the names of all pew holders, and complete histories of all organizations with pictures of the officers, The weather on the day of rejoicing, June 19, was as beautiful as the joyousness of the occasion. After the mighty church bell had pealed forth its call to worship, more than fifty charter members, led by Pastor Helmkamp, proceeded into the church auditorium to be seated in places of honor. The service was most inspiring with festival music by the choir, and a sermon by the pastor. In the afternoon of the same day the church was filled with young people who had gathered for their service of rejoicing and praise, with Pastors Bobolin and Baltzer as speakers. At a union service in the evening, to which members of several other German churches were invited, Pastor Schaefer of Syracuse and Pastor Baur from St. Paul's Church, Rochester, were the speakers. A social gathering was held on the following Monday afternoon and evening in the Sunday school rooms, to which all confirmed members were invited. On May 14, 1899, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the dedication of our church was observed with three similar services, and a social gathering on the following afternoon and evening.
The installation of electric lighting of the church auditorium was first suggested at the congregational meeting on April 4, 1898, and again urged upon the church council in the yearly meeting of April 3, 1899. After many delays and some misunderstandings and differences of opinion, the announcement was made in October of that year that the contract for the electric installation had been let to "Loeffler and Sykes" at a cost of $800.00, with "Higgins" and Almstead" providing the fixtures. On Saturday, November 18, 1899, at nine o'clock in the evening, 250 brilliant electric lights were turned on for the first time. On the following Sunday evening a large congregation availed themselves of the opportunity to admire the grandeur and splendor of this "new-fangled" and "radical" system of church illumination. However, not until August, 1903, was an electric motor installed for pumping the organ. The faithful "hand-pumper" was more to be trusted in those pioneer days of electrical development.
St. John's Home for the Aged
As long as the "Altenheim," or "The St. John's Home for the Aged," as it is now called, exists, Pastor Helmkamp will be recalled as the one man who envisioned such an institution in Rochester. Some time after coming to Salem, he made the following statement at a meeting of the Christian Endeavor Society: "We as a church should take care of our own sick, aged and orphans. This conviction grows on me as I visit the people of my own church." In November, 1897, a Sunday school union was organized at Salem Church with Pastor Helmkamp as the moving spirit. The union was composed of ten schools from five denominations among the German churches in Rochester. Pastor Helmkamp was its first president. There the seed was sown for unanimity of action. There the first attempt was made to consider matters pertinent to the interests of all Protestant, German speaking, congregations in Rochester. When the time was propitious for launching this greater project of establishing a "Home for the Aged," it was possible to obtain the necessary co-operation of the churches which were invited to share in this important undertaking. The first meeting took place on December 18, 1898. Subsequent to this meeting Pastor Helmkamp interviewed several prominent Rochesterians, among them George Ellwanger, co-founder of the Ellwanger and Barry Nurseries, and the Honorable Frederick Cook, former Secretary of State of New York State. From these gentlemen, who later made substantial contributions to the Home, much encouragement was received.
In May, 1899, in a preliminary gathering of the clergy and representatives of the laity, at the Y. M. C. A. hall, the decision was reached to further the establishment of a "Home for the Aged" by inviting the members of all the German Protestant Churches in Rochester to a meeting on July 3, 1899, and by drafting a constitution to he considered at that time. The meeting was held in the large Sunday school room of Salem Church. Here it was decided to call into being a "Home for the Aged." The constitution, having been carefully considered at this meeting, was presented for adoption on the eventful evening of August 14, 1899, when the permanent organization was effected with the election of twenty-four members to the Board of Directors. Pastor Helmkamp was chosen as the first president and served ably in this capacity for eleven years. The first Home, located at the corner of Lake Avenue and Flower City Park, was opened November 1, 1899, with Mr. and Mrs. George Bernhardt in charge. On December 1 the first inmate was admitted, and by the end of that year the family had grown to ten in number. On December 28, 1899, the "German Home for the Aged" was incorporated, pursuant to the laws of the State of New York, under the name "The German Evangelical St. John's Charitable Association." At the annual meeting held October 31, 1918, the name of the association was changed to "The Protestant St. John's Charitable Association." August 11, 1900, will long be remembered in the history of the Home. On that day George Ellwanger presented to the organization a house and a large acreage of land at the corner of South and Highland Avenues, extending to Highland Park. The house was first occupied on April 9, 1901, and the rich soil of the garden was prepared for the first crop of vegetables and fruits. The need for more room was soon apparent. An addition for which the sum of $11,000 was expended, was dedicated on November 13, 1901; The first issue of "Gruss aus dem Altenheim," a quarterly devoted to the interests of the home, made its appearance on March 15, 1902. During the year 1905 the Honorable Frederick Cook left a bequest of $25,000 to the Home, and another addition to the building, known as "The Cook Memorial," and costing $37,000 was erected. The laying of the corner-stone of this memorial took place in June, 1906, and the dedication on April 25, 1907. The crowded condition of the Home and the long list of applicants awaiting admission made additional room necessary. On January 11, 1931, it was possible to dedicate the new "Deininger Wing." This addition, costing $55,000, is the munificent gift of Mr. and Mrs. William Deininger, who thereby expressed their interest in the aged and dependent fellow-pilgrims. Sixteen rooms and several spacious sun porches were thus added, and the capacity of the Home was increased to seventy-five persons. All the rooms in the new wing were completely furnished through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. William Bausch. Mrs. Frank Ritter furnished the apartment for Sister Christine Schwartz, who has been in charge since 1903, and has rendered niost unselfish and faithful service through the thirty years of her notable ministry. Since the establishment of this haven of rest and comfort for the aged, 387 people have been admitted, and at the present time the family numbers seventy-four. With total assets of $450,000, including an endowment fund of $225,000, "St. John's Home for the Aged" should be able to carry out the vision of Pastor Helmkamp and his early associates for many decades to come.
The Interest in Missions
For many years Pastor Helmkamp served on the Foreign Mission Board of the Evangelical Synod. Through stereopticon lectures and addresses he did much to awaken and encourage the interest of his parishioners in this noble cause. As early as 1897 the first orphan child in far away India was adopted by the Sister Society. The name of this child was Salome. In 1899 we find that both the Sister Society and the Sunday school had adopted Indian orphan children. Elizabeth, one of the children in whom much interest was taken, died in March, 1902. Early in the year 1906 the Synodical Board of Foreign Missions suggested that our Sunday school undertake the full support of a missionary in India. This suggestion met with immediate response. Later the school decided to enlist the support of the entire church, and in the congregational meeting of that year approval was given to the enterprise. On Sunday morning, December 16, 1906, in the presence of a capacity congregation, Miss Adele Wobus was ordained as Salem's first missionary in the foreign field. How splendidly she has continued in this work to the present day will be revealed in a later chapter of this history.
The Printed Program
In July, 1904, the Young People's Society, which had been organized in 1902, undertook to provide regularly a printed program for the church services. Sacrificially and faithfully this organization labored for nearly two years to finance the project. On December 15, 1905, an organization known as the "Willing Workers" was formed and at its first meeting the statement was made "that its present object is to find ways and means for the continuation of our Sunday programs." An entertainment to raise funds for that purpose was held on February 23 of the following year. Various organizations were solicited by the "Willing Workers" for support, and guarantees of one or two months of financial aid were obtained. Thus the first systematic regular distribution of our present day church program was established and financed.
At the congregational meeting held in April, 1906, Pastor Helmkamp urged that consideration be given to the placing of memorial windows in our church. The first of these appeared in the vestibule of the church in the summer of 1908 and was given by the confirmation class of that year. Soon thereafter the second vestibule window was donated by the Young Ladies' Society. The fourteen large side windows in the church auditorium were given by the following donors in memory of loved ones:
These memorial windows are placed in two sections; the lower section in the main auditorium, and the upper section in the gallery. We list here the Bible scenes which they depict and the inscriptions which they bear.
"Easter Morning" "The Risen Christ"
"Given by the Frauenverein, 1909"
"Christ Blessing the Children" "The Good Samaritan"
"In loving memory of Gertrude, wife of John Weis"
"Christ in Gethsemane" "Christ with the Crown of Thorns"
"In loving memory of Elizabeth, wife of Charles Rau"
"The Baptism of Jesus" "Come unto Me"
"In loving memory of Mother, Julia Roth Baetzel"
"Christ Rescuing Peter" "The Sower"
"In loving memory of our Parents, John F. and Rosina Kaelber"
"The Wise Men from the East" "The Angel Announcing the Birth of Christ"
"In loving memory of Angelica Mannes, by her sister, Maria Buck"
"Jesus in Bethany" "Jesus and the Samaritan woman"
"Given by the Schwesterverein, 1909"
"The Building of the Temple" "Joseph's Dream"
"In loving memory of their Father, Conrad W. Zimmer
"Jesus among the Doctors" "Jesus and His Mother"
"In memory of Frederick Deininger, from his sons"
"The Feeding of the Multitudes" "The Bread of Life"
"In loving memory of Mother, Catherine E. Zimmer"
"The Sermon on the Mount" "The Transfiguration"
"In loving memory of Charles Priemn, and his wife, Martha Zimmer Priem, by the Family"
"The Flight to Egypt" "Christ Knocking at the Door"
"Presented by Julia, daughter of Conrad W. and Catherine Zimmer"
"David Playing the Harp" "Paul in Athens"
"In loving memory of Peter Paul"
The triple art window in the front wall of the church was presented by the children of the Reverend Carl Siebenpfeiffer and was dedicated to his memory on December 22, 1912. This window represents the Good Shepherd leading homeward his flock in the light of the setting sun. In 1922 the idea was suggested to Mr. J. George Kaelber, the son-in-law of the deceased Pastor Siebenpfeiffer, that this window be illuminated so that it might send out its message during the night to those who passed by. Mr. Kaelber gladly arranged for the installation of the necessary lights which are controlled by means of a clock, so that they are automatically turned on and off at certain hours of the night. Thus the window sends out its silent but eloquent appeal to join the flock of the Good Shepherd and to follow Him home.
The General Conference
The first General Conference of the Evangelical Synod of North America held in our church met in September, 1905, when the Reverend J. Pister was President General. The sessions and the services were well attended, and the precious memory of those eventful days still lingers in the minds of many of our people. District Conferences were entertained in June, 1891, and again in June, 1899.
Increasing decline in health made it impossible for Pastor Helmkamp to continue as minister of Salem, and on January 17, 1910, his resignation, which had been written on January 6, was read at a special congregational meeting. The resignation follows.
"After a service of sixteen years in this congregation I feel compelled to submit my resignation. The reasons which move me to take this step lie in the consciousness that I lack the necessary strength and health to continue this great work in a satisfactory manner. This feeling prevents happiness in the laborious efforts, which are constantly required. For the church, too, a change will prove beneficial, as general experience teaches. In the sincere wish that the congregation will accept my resignation and with gratitude for all the kindnesses shown me in the past, I am, respectfully
J. F. W. Helmkamp."
With deep regret the resignation was accepted. The Reverend J. F. Klick of St. Louis, Missouri, was secured as supply preacher until a successor could be found. Thus ended a long and fruitful ministry of sixteen years. During this time Pastor Helmkamp officiated at 2,045 christenings, 1,052 weddings, 1,426 burials and confirmed 1,4% young people - a total of 6,019 official acts were performed. At various times in his pastorate he was assisted by the following associate pastors:
|Reverend Alex Siegenthaler||June, l902 - Oct., 1902.||
The interior of the church as it appeared at the close of Pastor Helmkamp's ministry.
|Reverend Emil Jaeger||July, 1903 - May, 1905.|
|Reverend Theodore R. Schmale||July, 1906 - May, 1908.|
The following persons served as teachers in either the former day school or in the summer schools conducted during Pastor Helmkamp's ministry: Mr. Dettmar Poppen, Mr. Rehbahn, Miss Carrie Burke, Professor Meyer, Miss M. Betz, Miss Linke, Miss Dora Hussmann, Mr. Kramer, Mrs. Marie Krause (from June 1, 1896 to May 7, 1910), Mr. Albert Helmkamp, Reverend O. Wittlinger, Reverend P. Sandreczky, and Reverend E. Jaeger.
The Ministry of the Rev. J. Frederick Frankenfeld
The Reverend J. Frederick Frankenfeld was born at Concordia, Missouri, on the first day of January, 1878, as the third son of the Reverend Frederick G. Frankenfeld and Louise Stoenner Frankenfeld. His father was a native of Germany, but he had come to this country when only a boy eight years of age. The mother was horn in America. The present pastor of Salem spent his boyhood days at Augusta, Missouri, where the father served two rural churches for a period of eighteen years. After graduation from time local schools, he entered Elmmhurst College, near Chicago, Illinois, where he began to prepare himself for the Christian ministry. In the fall of 1897 he went to St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended Eden Theological Seminary, from which he was graduated in 1900. On the 22nd of July, in the same year, he was ordained to the Christian ministry, at Augusta. Missouri. His first work was assigned to him by the Home Mission Board of the Evangelical Synod, at Springfield, Illinois, where he labored for eighteen months.
ln April, 1902, Pastor Frankenfeld accepted a call to become the minister of the Salem Evangelical Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. In September of this year he was united in marriage with Miss Louise Kramer of Quincy, Ill- inois, whose father had been the pastor of Salem Church, New Orleans. from 1875-1883. Together they ministered in the Southland until 1910. In these happy years Pastor Frankenfeld devoted a considerable portion of his time to the Interdenominational Sunday School Association, which organization he served for nearly eight years as its state secretary. Since his coming to Rochester, Pastor Frankenfeld has not limited his activities to Salem Church. He has served the Ministerial Union as its president; for two consecutive terms he was the president of the Federation of Churches of Rochester and Monroe County; for a number of years he was the chairman of the committee of religious education and, later, of the committee of evangelism. The Rochester School of Religious Education grew out of a training class for church school workers which Pastor Frankenfeld conducted in the years 1912 and 1913. He has assisted in establishing training schools for church school workers in six different cities. For twenty-one years he has been the president of the Board of Directors of the "St. John's Home for the Aged." Until 1930 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the "People's Rescue Mission," having been elected as the successor to Professor Joseph Gilmore.
As time would permit, Pastor Frankenfeld has also given his services freely to the larger work of our denomination. For a number of years he was a member of the Board of Foreign Missions; later he was elected as the chairman of the Seminary Board, and during his term of office the new buildings of Eden Theological Seminary were erected at Webster Groves, Missouri. In 1919 he was chosen as one of two members of a special committee which was instructed to make a missionary investigation tour through Honduras, for the purpose of ascertaining the possibility of opening a new mission field in that Central American Republic. The report of this committee was a favorable one, and the survey resulted in the flourishing missionary work which is being done in Honduras today. After the Lenten season in 1920, Pastor Frankenfeld was released by Salem Church for a period of six months to assume the leadership of the "Evangelical Forward Movement." At the present time he is a member of the Board of Directors of Elmhurst College and of the commission which formulated the "Plan of Union" for the merger of the Evangelical Synod of North America with the Reformed Church in the United States of America. In 1927 Elmhurst College awarded Pastor Frankenfeld the honorary degree LL.D. (Doctor of Laws).
Mrs. Frankenfeld has also been active through the years in various departments of the church-life and in the larger kingdom enterprise. She has served the Salem Missionary Society as its president; the Sister Society, as first vice-president and as the chairman of the committee on missions; the church school as teacher of a young ladies' class and as the superintendent of the Junior department; the community as a member of numerous committees, notably the committee on missions of the Federation of Churches; and the denomination as a member of the Executive Committee of the Women's Union of New York State.
The family of Pastor and Mrs. Frankenfeld consists of four children: three daughters, who were born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and one son, who was born in Rochester, New York. Helen Louise is the wife of Professor John C. Slater, the head of the department of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a lecturer at Harvard University, and resides at Cambridge, Massachusetts; Alma Hildegard is married to Mr. Clarke W. O'Brien of the brokerage firm of "Gleichauf and O'Brien," and lives in Brighton, New York; Lydia Lenore is the wife of the Reverend G. Merrill Lenox, pastor of the Judson Memorial Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Hubert Frederick is a student at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All the daughters are graduates of the University of Rochester.
During the twenty-three years of his ministry in Salem Church, Pastor Frankenfeld has officiated at 2,142 baptisms, 1,409 weddings, 1,974 funerals, and has received 1,596 young people into the fellowship of the church through the rite of confirmation. In addition, 650 persons have been admitted into the membership of Salem Church by letters of transfer and on confession of faith. For the work of the denomination and for various other benevolent purposes the sum of $264,226.77 has been given. These figures do not include the large amounts, running into many thousands of dollars, which have been contributed by the organizations within the church for numerous charitable institutions and missionary enterprises.
The Third Pastorate
At a special congregational meeting held on February 25, 1910, a call was extended to the Reverend Frederick Frankenfeld, of New Orleans, to become the third pastor of Salem. Mr. George F. Roth and Mr. Charles Suss, members of the church council, were elected as a committee to wait upon Pastor Frank- enfeld and to inform him of the action which the church had taken. On May 4 the Salem congregation of New Orleans accepted Pastor Frankenfeld's resignation and left him free to come to Rochester. A letter, dated July 5, advised the congregation that he would be in Rochester on the first Sunday in August, the seventh, to begin his pastorate. Immediately, a committee consisting of J. George Kaelber, Charles Suss and Benjamin Haag, with power to choose additional members from each church organization, was appointed by the church council, to arrange for the installation and reception of the new pastor. The installation took place on Sunday, August 7, in the presence of a throng which filled the church auditorium. The Reverend Adolf C. G. Baltzer of Trinity Church, Rochester, preached the sermon and conducted the rite of installation. The reception for Pastor Frankenfeld and his family, which followed on Wednesday evening, September 7, was a happy occasion for all who participated.
Immediately upon his arrival, the new pastor engaged in the multitudinous tasks which confronted him. The re-organization of the Sunday school received his early attention. A goal of 1,000 in attendance was sought on Rally Day, September 18, and despite the fact that the weather was most unfavorable, 1,090, the largest attendance in our school's history up to that time, were present. On this occasion Pastor Frankenfeld stressed the thought that the secret of success in church and church school work lies in two things: "Plan your work and work your plan." In the following year, on the second Rally Day, September 11, 1911, 1,470 persons were in attendance. Out of an enrollment of 1,150, no less than 1,064 were present, with, thirty-eight classes reported perfect in attendance. The greatest rally, both in attendance and interest, was held on October 4; 1914, at Convention Hall with more than 3,000 persons present, and fifty-three classes reporting a perfect attendance. The reason for holding this rally in Convention hall was stated as follows in the "Bote":
"In view of the fact that during the entire summer our church was always filled at the English service, we realized long ago that a special effort to hold a great rally was useless for the simple reason that the people who desired to come on that day could not be accommodated."
A Notable Convention
The Convention of the Young People's Societies of the New York District, with the Reverend P. C. Bommer of Buffalo as president, was entertained in our church, August 3 to 6, 1911. The principal theme of the convention was the foreign mission enterprise. Three missionaries, Miss Martha Graebe, who after seven years of strenuous labor was at home on her furlough, Mrs. Enslin Sueger, and Miss Katherine Brueckner, who were ready to sail to India before the close of the year, were the special guests of the convention. It was indeed a time of blessed fellowship and spiritual uplift. The memory of the farewell service on Sunday evening, with its inspiring singing, its heart to heart addresses, its mighty spirit of devotion and consecration, will linger through a life time. Perhaps the most impressive moment came when, for the last time, the convention hymn, "The Way of the Cross Leads Home," was sung. At the close of the first stanza, all the lights were suddenly turned out; for a moment the church was in darkness while the singing went on; then, in an instant, there flashed forth from above the altar a huge cross and the crown which follows it.
The Advisory Board
On September 19, 1911, an associate, or advisory, board consisting of twenty members, among them representatives of every organization in our church, was called into existence. For many years this board functioned and rendered a helpful service in the study of existing problems in our church, and in the suggestion of ways in which they could be solved.
Training for Service
A training class, called "Training for Service," and using Herbert Moninger's text hook, was organized October 6, 1911, with an enrollment of ninety-five students, The great interest manifested in the class is revealed in the average attendance of eighty-five. Fifty-two members of the class took the first written examination and fifty-two succeeded in getting the required grade. On April 13, 1913, thirty-nine members of this class received a diploma, awarded by the New York State Bible School Association, in recognition of the completion of the first standard course in teacher training. Dr. Joseph Clark, known in the Sunday school world as "Timothy Standby," then superintendent of Sunday schools in our Empire State, was the speaker.
The Great Reunion
On the evening of Pentecost Sunday, May 26, 1912, a reunion service of all who had been confirmed in Salem Church since its organization was held at Convention Rail. Thirty-eight classes, totaling 3,335 members, were invited to participate. Over 3,000 people filled Convention Hall in a service never to be forgotten. In the auditorium, classes were grouped in thirty-eight sections under banners denoting the year in which they were confirmed. The large galleries were filled with hundreds of relatives and friends, and on the platform a chorus of 150 members of Salem, directed by Professor Ludwig Schenck, led in the singing. Pastor Frankenfeld preached the sermon, which was published, upon numerous requests, in the June issue of the "Bote". The service was followed by a reception on Wednesday evening, May 29, in the same hall. Again a similar throng attended, and the reception proved to be a most enjoyable affair. Through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. William Bausch, a handsome souvenir badge, bearing miniature pictures of the three pastors who have served Salem Church, were distributed to the guests as they entered the hall.
Cancellation of Indebtedness
When Pastor Frankenfeld became minister of Salem Church, the indebtedness was $8,500, with an annual budget of less than $10,000. In July, 1912, the church council voted to retain the pew-rental system, but also to initiate the use of the weekly envelope system, as a supplementary source of revenue. Progress in this direction was slow at first, but the new method of giving steadily grew in favor. In March, 1915, 418 persons were using the Duplex envelopes, and 803 names were found on the list of pew holders. During all these years, Christmas and Easter offerings were generously contributed by our people. The Easter offering in 1913 totaled $1,355.00, and in 1917 the amount thus realized was $1,684.00. At the beginning of the year 1913, the indebtedness of the church had been reduced from $8,500.00 to $3,000.00. On the afternoon and early evening of August 25, 1913, in six hours time, a house to house collection, conducted by 150 canvassers, netted the splendid sum of $7,512.14. This was sufficient to pay the entire indebtedness and also the expenses incident to the renovation, then in progress, of the interior of our church. At last the congregation was entirely free from debt.
The Every Member Canvass
The first Every Member canvass for the purpose of enlisting, if possible, all the communicants in the financial support of our church was planned for the early part of March, 1917, but, owing to unfavorable economic conditions, the original plan was changed, and from the list of non-contributing communicants the names of five hundred persons were selected for special solicitation. On the afternoon of March 18, seventy-two men, with William H. Brown as chairman, made the canvass with the gratifying result of 195 pledges for a total of $910.00.
On the afternoon of Sunday, March 2, 1919, all communicant members of the church were invited to one of the most momentous gatherings in our history. It was stated that the purpose of the meeting would be to consider the question - "What Share Will Salem have in the Reconstruction Program of the Christian Church?" Among the topics listed for discussion were the early erection of a new church school building, and the adoption of an adequate financial policy (which included the general use of the Duplex envelope system). To all who were present at this meeting the opportunity to assume their share of the budget for the year 1919 was given. Those who did not pledge on that day were visited during the following week in their homes by 250 men chosen for the task. The canvass was a complete success with the budget fully subscribed. At the mass meeting on Sunday afternoon, March 2,354 pledges were received for a total of $148.32 each week. The total number of pledges reported one week later was 2,290, yielding $494.41 per week. Later, over one hundred additional pledges were received, increasing the amount per week to $520.00. When the canvass was completed, it was found that only five per cent of the 725 pew holders had insisted upon retaining their pews, a truly remarkable achievement, when it is considered that at the beginning of the year less than one-half of our total membership of 3,200 adherents were contributing to the church treasury in a regular and systematic manner. As a result of the success of this canvass, it was announced that the usual Easter and Christmas offerings would he discontinued in the future, and that the "Salem's Bote" would he mailed free to every contributing member. Year by year the amount contributed through the medium of the Duplex envelopes increased, until in 1926 pledges totaling $54,608.00 were received from 2,963 contributors.
The Ministry of Flowers
The beautiful custom of placing flowers on the altar every Sunday began November 26, 1911. The first flowers were given by Mrs. Minnie Nelson Gerhard, Miss Amelia Kall, and Miss Lena Kettwig. Immediately thereafter Mrs. J. George Kaelber spoke to Miss Kettwig and suggested that flowers be placed on the pitar every Sunday. Mrs. Kaelber offered them for the following Sunday, and the donors on the remaining Sundays of the month were: Mrs. Julius C. Hoffman, Mrs. Katharine Loeffler, Miss Emma Hess, and Mrs. Mary Milow. Since that time there has not been a Sunday without flowers on the altar. After accomplishing their purpose in church on Sunday, these flowers have been sent with messages of comfort and cheer to many hundreds of sick, shut-ins and afflicted in homes and hospitals.
Since the first observance of Mothers' Day in our church on May 10, 1914, there has been an outpouring of flowers in memory of the dearly beloved, departed mothers. As many as 113 mothers have been remembered on a single occasion. A few years later, when Fathers' Day was first observed, nearly seventy-five tributes to fathers who had been called home were placed on the altar. How was all this made possible? It has taken thought, time and loving interest on the part of someone to bring this about. The person primarily responsible for this splendid service is Miss Lena Kettwig. She it is who started this noble ministry, gladly assumed the responsibility to continue it, and has never failed us through twenty-two long years. She it is who continues to acknowledge the donations with a card of thanks and sends on the fragrant messengers to those who need comfort and encouragement. A noble work, faithfully done!
The Fortieth Anniversary
Sunday, September 7, 1913, was chosen as the day for the celebration of the fortieth anniversary. At nine-thirty o'clock all departments of the Bible school met in the church, where an interesting service in the English language was held. Mr. Thomas Dransfield, the first superintendent of our school, delivered the address. The Reverend J. Pister, D.D., preached the German sermon, and at the English evening service we had the pleasure of hearing the Reverend H. A. Kraemer of Buffalo. The attendance was good at all services. The work of renovating the interior of the church was sufficiently advanced to permit us to worship in our newly decorated sanctuary. The organ had been rebuilt and enlarged, and a new lighting system had been installed, which filled the auditorium with a soft mellow light and proved highly satisfactory. On the following Tuesday a social gathering was held at Convention hall which was filled to capacity.
Home Church Sunday
November 30, 1913, will long he remembered by the Protestant churches of our city as one of their "red letter" days. It was "Home Church Sunday." The various denominations had banded themselves together in an united effort to bring every church member, every church supporter, and every church sympathizer to the church of his own choice on that day. Every Protestant church in our city was filled. Many churches were crowded to the doors. Some could not accommodate the people who gathered to show their interest. By actual count the services at our own church, including the Bible school sessions, were attended by 3,116 persons. This was the best record made by a Protestant church in Rochester on "Home Church Sunday." The patients in the numerous hospitals and the inmates of the charitable institutions were not forgotten. To each was given a white carnation accompanied by a greeting card, Twenty-five of our young people visited the Almshouse in the afternoon and there rendered this beautiful service.
In May, 1914, the former residence of Mr. Henry Bausch, corner St. Paul Street and Huntington Park, was purchased for the sum of $12,500, to be used as a parsonage by the pastor and his family. They occupied it until May, 1927, when it was sold for $20,000. In September of the same year Pastor Frankenfeld purchased his own home at 175 Highland Parkway, where he continues to reside.
Motion Pictures and the Radio
Believing in the great educational and inspirational value of pictures, Salem decided to purchase, as early as June, 1917, a motion picture machine. The machine was known as the Pathescope and cost $200.00. Upon the completion of our new parish house, in 1923, the finest projector then obtainable, a Simplex, was purchased and placed in a fire-proof booth in the balcony of the new auditorium. It has proved to he a most helpful and valuable adjunct in the work of our institution.
At a Sunday school workers' social on April 19, 1922, an attempt to bring a radio concert over the ether waves to the assembled guests proved unsuccessful. It had been arranged to have Mr. Carl Paul, pianist, Mrs. Florence Crosby Cooke, vocalist, and Mr. Arthur Brill, violinist, render several selections from the broadcasting station of the Times-Union newspaper office on Exchange Street. The time for the performance came, and we waited in silent awe to hear Mrs. Cooke's familiar voice sing to us through space, but all that could be heard was a loud buzzing noise, intermingled now and then with a strain of music. The radio operator explained that a storm was brewing which prevented good reception, and several hours later his prognostication proved to be true, Strange to relate, a letter was received a week later from one of our Salem boys, stating that the latter had heard the broadcast of our artists on board a battleship south of New Orleans. Radio broadcasting was in its infancy then, but by February 3, 1926, it was so much improved that we were privileged to send over the air, through Station WHEC, the first mid-week Lenten service ever broadcast in Rochester. The remaining mid-week services were also sent out and, judging from the numerous telephone calls and letters received, proved a great blessing to many who tuned in on the program.
Worshippers at our Christmas morning service in 1918 were treated to a great surprise, when without any previous announcement a set of organ chimes pealed forth the beautiful Christmas melodies. The chimes were given by Miss Emma Hempel in memory of her dear grandmother, Mrs. Christiana Vetter, who in days gone by was one of the staunch and loyal members of Salem Church. When the new organ with its own twenty chimes was installed, the chimes given by Miss Hempel were mounted and placed upon our auditorium stage to continue their ministry of music.
An Important Annual Meeting
At the forty-sixth annual meeting of the voting members of our church, held Monday evening, April 7, 1919, several important matters were decided upon. First, that the corporate name of the church he changed from "German United Evangelical Salem Church" to "Salem Evangelical Church"; second, that the financial year at our church begin January 1 instead of April 1, as heretofore; third, that all meetings of the congregation and the church council he transacted and recorded in the English language. An unusual feature of the meeting was the admission of twenty-three women into full voting membership. This action marked a new epoch in our history, since thereafter both men and women shared equally in the conduct of Salem Church affairs.
Numerous "Father and Son," "Mother and Daughter" services and banquets have been held in our church during the past fifteen years. The "Mother and Daughter" service on Sunday evening, February 22, 1920, with 540 mothers and daughters present, was outstanding. On the following Thursday evening, February 26, a "Mother and Daughter" banquet took place in the new spacious dining hall of the Bausch and Lonth factory. Originally, plans had been made for 300, but the demand for tickets continued until it was necessary to lay covers for 1,044. Sixty-six men from the Bible class served as waiters. An interesting program was provided with Mrs. Arthur B. Sutherland as the principal speaker.
At the close of the Lenten season, 1920, Pastor Frankenfeld was released for six months from his duties as minister of our church to assume the leadership of an "Evangelical Forward Movement," which was inspired, to a great extent, by the "Inter-Church World Movement" which had for its purpose the development of a plan whereby the Protestant Churches of North America might co-operate more fully in carrying out their educational, missionary and benevolent programs at home and abroad.
Upon the completion of this work, Pastor Frankenfeld was joyously welcomed on the first Sunday in October at a special "Welcome Home" service arranged in his honor.
In the years following the World War a large number of Germans came from the Fatherland to make their homes in Rochester. Their arrival offered an opportunity and an unmistakable challenge to our church. A special committee was appointed to aid these people in finding a church-home. Social gatherings were held for this group on the last Sunday evening of each month, and on Easter Sunday, 1924, forty-eight were received into the fellowship of our church. Twenty-four of their number met regularly for some time, in a German Singing Society under the efficient leadership of Professor H. Bachman. Subsequently, more rigid immigration laws restricted the number of immigrants, so that at the present time very few Germans are coming to the shores of America and finding their way to Salem Church. However, many who joined at the time of this unusual influx continue as regular attendants at our Sunday morning German worship.
Sunrise Easter Services
The first Sunrise Service with Holy Communion was held on Easter Sunday, 1924. The response by our people surprised the most optimistic expectations. Nearly 1,000 persons attended this first service, and 733 participated in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. At the Sunrise Easter Service in 1925, the plan of serving the elements in the pew was tried out with the members of the church council participating in the ministry as assistants to the pastor. This innovation proved very successful and met with such favor that the council voted to have at least four. such communion services during the year. In 1925 the number of communicants reached the total of 2,891 which exceeded by 200 the largest figure ever before recorded in the history of our church.
A Memorable Occasion
Sunday, August 2, 1925, will ever stand out as one of the truly memorable days in the history of Salem Church. It was Pastor Frankenfeld's anniversary of twenty-five years in the ministry of Christ, of which fifteen had been spent at Salem. As the pastor was on his vacation during July, preparations for the event could be made without his knowledge. A happy thong attended the session of the church school and then taxed the seating capacity of our spacious auditorium for the ten o'clock worship. An unusually large attendance also marked the later German service. With radiant faces, in joyous song by congregation, choir and soloists, in responsive Scripture reading and fervent prayer, a grateful people gave expression to the affection which they felt for their pastor and for his good wife, who has given herself so faithfully at alh times to the ministry in the church. The Reverend Theophil F. Bode, pastor of St. Peter's Evangelical Church, Buffalo, was the preacher at both services, and his very appropriate and eloquent message did full justice to the occasion. The presence of the venerable parents of the pastor was felt by all as a special benediction. After the sermon Mr. William H. Brown, as chairman of the committee in charge, voiced the congratulations of the congregation and presented to Pastor Frankenfeld a bank hook showing a deposit of $2,200 which sum, given as voluntary offerings, represented the tangible expression of the love and gratitude of our people. Mr. Charles Suss, president of the church. presented the pastor with a highly artistic testimonial. A fitting climax to this most extraordinary occasion was the delightful afternoon spent by the Frankenfeld family with the members of the church council, and their wives, at the Conesus Lake summer home of Mr. and Mrs. George J. Hafner.
For a period of twenty-eight years, Mr. Kilian Schaeffer has served most devotedly and acceptably as church secretary - from 1905 to 1912 on part time, and since April, 1912 ona full time basis. The congregation gave special recognition to his faithful ministry at the time of his twenty-fifth anniversary. In July, 1917, Miss Mary Enmich was engaged as church clerk, and still continues in that capacity with a record of sixteen years of loyal and efficient service. She also assists the pastor in many of his routine duties.
During the winter of 1928 to 1929 the renovation of the exterior of the church was accomplished at an expense of $47,674.08. The steeple was taken down, because orders to this effect had been received from the Department of Public Safety. Both towers were rebuilt in part to conform to the architecture of the entire church plant. A new slate roof was placed on the building, and the entire exterior was given brick veneer to make it harmonize with the new church school building.
English Morning Services
At the annual meeting in 1913, a committee was appointed to consider the reasons for the noticeable decrease in attendance on the part of our young people at the morning worship, which was then conducted in the German language at ten-thirty o'clock. On April 20, 1914, a report submitted by this committee attributed the decline to the young people's inability to understand the German language. A resolution favoring the inauguration of a morning English service from ten-fifteen o'clock to eleven o'clock, with the German service following immediately thereafter, was recommended and adopted. Accordingly, English morning services were inaugurated on the second Sunday in May, 1914, as an experiment, and in September it was reported that for the first eighteen services an average attendance of 1,050 each Sunday had been recorded, it was realized that forty minutes was hardly sufficient for a full service, but since it was primarily a children's service, satisfaction was felt over what had been accomplished, and it was decided to continue the experiment during the following winter months. Nearly a year after the inauguration of these services it was found that they had not detracted from the interest and the attendance at the English evening services, which were maintaining an average of almost five hundred worshippers. At the annual meeting of the congregation in April, 1918, the church council was authorized to appoint a committee of five members for the purpose of considering the advisability of changing the main service on Sunday morning from German to English. The church council was given full power to act in the best interests of the congregation when this report would be received from the committee. The report, submitted in October, 1918, recommended the lengthening of the English service by fifteen minutes, with a sermon suitable for adults; a German worship at eleven o'clock, and a children's service in the large Sunday school room from ten to eleven o'clock, simultaneously with the English church service. This program continued until 1931, when it was decided to begin the German service at nine o'clock.
Organists and Choir Directors
During the sixty years of her existence, Salem has been most fortunate in the caliber of the men who have served as organists and choir directors. The following have held these positions:
Dettmar D. Poppen, organist and choir director, 1874-1893
Professor Meyer, organist and director, 1893-1894
Henry Greiner, organist and director, 1894-1901
Charles F. VanLaer, organist and director, 1901-1903
Carl Paul, organist, 1903-1926
Professor Ludwig Schenck, director, 1904-1922
Frank Showers, director, 1922-1926
A. Irvine McHose, organist, 1926-1932
Herman H. Genhart, director, 1926-to the present time
H. Wellington Stewart, organist, 1932-to the present time.
All of these men have made notable contributions to the department of music in our church. Carl Paul's ministry as organist covered a period of twenty-three years. In 1926 constantly increasing demands upon his time in looking after his business interests, compelled his resignation, and on August 26 a grateful congregation paid a very cordial tribute to his long and efficient service. At the English church service on Sunday morning November 7, a token of sincere appreciation was presented to Mr. Paul on behalf of the congregation, and in the tribute which the pastor paid on that day to the blessed ministry of our esteemed friend, he emphasized the exceptional faithfulness, the unchanging cheerfulness and the commendable unselfishness which characterized the many services which Mr. Paul had rendered to Salem through twenty-three long years.
For nearly nineteen years Professor Ludwig Schenck served as director of music. In the summer of 1922 he accepted a position with the recently completed "Eastman School of Music" which required all of his time and strength and made it necessary for him to resign the position which he had filled so long and acceptably in our midst. The regard in which Professor Schenek was held by our people still manifests itself year after year on the last Sunday in July, when a special memorial service of song in his honor is rendered by the choir. His death occurred on April 8, 1929, and the first of these memorial services was held on the last Sunday of the following July. Probably the most pretentious effort made by Salem Church choir during his ministry was the presentation of "Queen Esther" at the Lyceum Theater, on April 19, 1917. On the following morning the Democrat and Chronicle carried this account which speaks for itself:
"The production of the sacred cantata 'Queen Esther,' at the Lyceum last evening, by the Salem Church Choir, brought out an audience that filled the theater from orchestra rail to topmost gallery seat."
"Long a favorite with church, choir and choral societies, the cantata is filled with solos and choruses that are often heard in church services, many of them being written in adoration and praise."
"The Lyceum orchestra was augmented for the occasion and played under the direction of Ludwig Schenck. Mrs. John L. Messmer sang the role of Esther in a most pleasing manner. Her voice is a sweet soprano with an appealing quality in it that fitted her particularly well for the music of her role. Henry Schlegel's fine bass was heard in the songs of Ahasuerus, the king; Fred A. Mueller, baritone, did well in the character and music assigned to the role of the despised counselor, Haman, and W. Stanley Hawkins sang the tenor numbers of Mordecai in excellent voice and with considerable dramatic expression. There were also several singers from the choir who revealed voices of decided sweetness and cultivation, notably, Miss Mamie Zeiner, Miss Alma Geiger and Miss Nora Schindler."
"The chorus of 125 voices showed excellent training and several of the concerted numbers were most impressive. There was a display of elaborate costuming which added much to the realism of the production and the scenery, if not always an exact reproduction of the rooms of the king's palace, was not without features which contributed much to the color and brightness of the acts."
Contributions toward Missions
The interest of our church in missions has continued to grow during the present Pastorate. For many years the pastor served on the Foreign Mission Board of the Synod. Mr. Henry Albrecht has also given many years of devoted service on this same hoard. At the present time Mr. William H. Brown is a member of the Home Mission Board. The following are some of the special contributions which Salem has made to the missionary enterprise during the past twenty-one years:
1912 - A new school costing $500 was provided for Miss Wobus in India, for which the funds were raised through the sale of 5,000 bricks, in lots of ten each at ten cents a piece.
1919 - In April the Foreign Mission Board decided to investigate the possibility of opening another mission field in Honduras. Our pastor and the Reverend Paul Menzel of Washington, D. C., were selected to make the preliminary survey in May, 1919. After a month's journey through Honduras, this committee reported favorably, and the Board decided to launch the project.
l924 - Our church council voted that the support of a missionary in Honduras by Salem should be a permanent undertaking. The offerings received at the Wednesday evening Lenten services in 1924 and in the many years since that time were sufficiently generous to provide the salary for our new worker, Miss Anna Bechtold.
1924 - The church council decided to make a pledge of $10,000, to be paid in three yearly installments from the benevolences, toward the new Eden Seminary at Webster Groves, Missouri.
1925 - A special gift of $500.00 by the late Mrs. Rudolph Weis made possible the enlargement of the church for lepers in India.
1927 - More than $700.00 was contributed to build a girls' school at Baloda Bazaar, in India, where our missionary, Miss Adele Wohus, was stationed.
1928 - Through the generosity of Mr. J. George Kaelber, the construction of a girls' school, known as the "Matilda Kaelher Memorial," was made possible at Bisrampur, India. The new school, costing several thousand dollars, is dedicated to the memory of one who in her life-time sent many noble gifts to India and who always manifested a keen interest in the work that is being done there.
1928 - $1,200 annually was voted to assist in the support of a mission church, St. John's Evangelical, in Los Angeles, California, of which the Reverend H. R. Gebhardt is the pastor. This support in part, still continues.
1928 - In the fall of the year 192 members of the church gave the sum of $5,137 for the Ministerial Pension Fund of the Synod.
1930 - Toward the building of a Protestant chapel at Sonyea, the Craig Colony for Epileptics, the church gave the sum of $725.63.
1931 - $1,000 was contributed for the erection of a community house in the Ozarks, at Shannondale, Missouri.
1932 - Toward the Elmhurst-Eden Advance, members of the church subscribed the sum of $13,290.
A Wise Investment
In a special meeting of the congregation held on April 24, 1924, the members present voted unanimously to purchase a large tract of land in the rear of the church known as the Kuichling property, for the sum of $62,500. The purchase was made to assure protection to our church against encroachment on the part of undesirable neighbors and the possibility of deprivation of light and air from our church school building. It was also to provide room for future expansion and much desired parking space for automobiles. The transaction was consummated in the following manner. When the various rumors that the Kuichling property was about to change hands were heard, the pastor brought the matter to the attention of the church council and recommended the purchase. Mr. William H. Brown and Mr. Fred M. Dubelbeiss volunteered to buy the property and to hold it until the congregation could take action. Aided by Mother Katharine Dubelbeiss, they purchased the property for $62,500 cash and held it until the congregation voted to buy it from them at the identical price for, which they had purchased it. Without question this proved to be one of the most profitable investments Salem ever made, for in the spring of 1930 a portion of this property was sold to the city for the sum of $101,500. The church retained a triangular parcel of land directly in the rear of the church school building which provides the protection against light and air encroachment originally sought. This space is sufficiently large to park about twenty-five automobiles. The church also retained the entire North Clinton Avenue frontage of 134 feet running 250 feet deep to a point in the rear. This plot of ground is being leased as a gasoline and parking station with an income sufficient to pay the carrying charges; it also provides parking space for a large number of automobile on Sunday morning.
Salem in the World War
When the United States entered the World War in 1917, Salem prepared to do its part. Many of our boys were already in the service, and others volunteered quickly, so that almost immediately a committee was appointed to keep in touch with all the men by forwarding to them reading matter and weekly accounts concerning the activities in their church. In early June the Salem Auxiliary of the American Red Cross was organized, with Mrs. Emil F. Vetter as president. Under her leadership this band of noble women rendered valuable service in the interest of our boys. On Sunday morning, June 24, 1,600 people gathered in Franklin Street and in the church yard to witness the flag raising ceremony in connection with the dedication of the new sixty- six foot steel flag pole, which had been erected on the lawn to the south of the church. While the selective machinery was being set up which subsequently drew into the army and the navy scores of our young men, many additional Salemites enlisted voluntarily in various branches of the service. On Sunday evening, December 16, 1917, the large service flag bearing fifty-nine stars (a star for each Salem man in the service) was presented to our church and church school by the Salem Red Cross Auxiliary. Toward the various loans our people subscribed liberally. In June, 1918, Mr. William H. Brown and the pastor served as Y. M. C. A. workers at Camp Dix, in the state of New Jersey. Armistice Day found 190 Salem men in the service, and eight names on the honor roll of those who made the supreme sacrifice. The Salem bell was among the first to ring out the glad tidings of peace on the morning of the Armistice, November 11, 1918. Soon after four o'clock in the morning our two pastors, Pastor Frankenfeld and his assistant, the Reverend Otto Mayer, ascended the stairs to ring out the long awaited message. Others joined them later, and for two hours the church bell continued to peal forth the joyous news. Before noon, large posters which announced a peace service at Salem that evening had been distributed in many sections of the city. This service was well attended. The pastor pleaded for a peace which would restore goodwill among the nations of the world. By the end of December some of our boys had returned home, and at the Christmas evening service an electric sign flashed forth the words, "Welcome Home." it was so placed that it could be seen from any seat in the auditorium, and it remained in place until the last of our boys had returned. Several "Welcome Home" services, in which our boys stood at the altar to re-dedicate their lives to the service of Christ and his church, were held on Sunday evenings, the last on November 2, 1919, when the service flag, which during the dark and trying days of the war and the demobilization, had been a constant reminder of the 198 Salem men, was removed. The big "Welcome Home" banquet came on the following Thursday. Upon roll call and citation every returned man received a beautiful certificate expressing the appreciation of the church for the service rendered. Memorial Sunday, June 2, 1929, witnessed the unveiling of a bronze memorial tablet, which was placed on the east wall of the church and which bears the following inscription:
"This tablet is dedicated to Salem's Loyal Sons who |
gave their lives in the service of their country.
Carl L. Furstenberg
Albert L. Mueller
World War, 1917-1918
'Shall they have died in vain?'"
Members of the Church Council
From the time of the organization of the first church council in 1874, the members of this body remained twelve in number until, on May 25, 1915, a special congregational meeting voted to increase the membership to eighteen. At the annual congregational meeting held January 8, 1923, the church council was empowered' to enlarge its membership to twenty - seven, until such time when the congregation could legally vote upon the amendment providing for the increased number. This amendment was adopted at the annual meeting, January 16, 1924. Again, in 1930, the council was increased; this time to its present number of thirty-six members. It now consists of six elders, nine trustees, and twenty-one deacons. The names of all the men who have served on the council during the past sixty years, with the year of their election or appointment, are here listed:
1874 John J. Schaeffer |
Wm. Conrad Zimmer
1875 Adam Schake
1876 Frederick Deininger
1877 Frederick Roth
1878 George Zimmer
1879 Frank Fritzsche
1882 John Kaelber
1883 Edwin Beck
1884 George Maurer
Charles W. Dubelbeiss
1885 Carl E. Hempel
1887 August Amish
1888 Valentin Fuchs
1889 John Schwab
1891 Chris Merlau
1892 John Schmidt
1893 Henry Husmann |
John F. Zabel
Charles W. Weis
1894 Louis H. Miller
1895 John C. Nusbickel
1896 Eduard Deusing
1897 George Enisfeld
George F. Roth
1898 Henry G. Lauterhach
1901 Kilian Schaeffer
1902 Henry F. Albrecht
1903 William Deininger
1904 J. George Kaelber
1905 George F. Nelson
1906 George Gernand
1907 Benjamin Haag
Charles T. Rau
1908 Julius J. Andersen
1910 George J. Hafner
1912 Christian Baetzel
1913 George Bareis
1914 Charles G. Gerhard
Otto G. Schlegel
Louis C. Deininger
Fred. J. Schminke
William H. Brown
J. F. Kleiner
George P. Steul
Fred. C. Stehler
1915 Edwin C. Kaelber
1916 Louis C. Schauman
1918 Emil Ludekens
1920 J. George Kaelber
Chas. W. Weis
Alfred F. Scheible
1921 Harry J. Herbst
1923 Fred. M. Dubelbeiss
Walter W. Graeper
Charles F. Spies
George P. Steul
Charles F. Then
Frank C. Titus |
George C. Wickman
William J. Zabel
1924 John F. Zimmer
Robert F. Kaucher
1925 Gustav Schaub
1926 G. Wallace Neth
1927 Julius C. Hoffman
1928 Jacob H. Vogel
William H. Zimmer
1929 Frank H. Walch
1930 Samuel Allen
John H. Cooper
Carl L. Drexler
Henry B. Weber
William H. Lauterbach
1931 Carl Fischer
Wm. Lauterbach, Sr.
G. William Miller
William T. Nowack
1932 Gustav Nowack
Charles A. Stark
Orlo J. Weeks
Louis H. Ehrmann
1933 Charles Bareis
Ernst A. Kurkowski
August G. Reinhardt
Henry J. Schwab
1920 Charles W. Weis
J. George Kaelber
1925 August Amish
1930 Charles Suss
The following have served as Presidents:
1874-1893 Rev. Carl Siebenpfeiffer
1894-1905 Rev. J. F. W. Helmkamp
1906-1907 Charles Suss
1908-1910 George F. Roth
1911-1925 Charles Suss
1926-1930 Henry F. Albrecht
1931 - William H. Brown
The Story of the Church School Building and Parish House
The Urgent Need
As early as 1911 it became apparent to those who were actively engaged in the important work of our Bible school that something must soon be done whereby larger accommodations and more suitable equipment could be provided to meet the needs of this growing department in our church life. The Sunday school building, which was being used at that time, was erected to house 650 persons. In 1910 the average attendance of the school was 679. From year to year this number increased, until in 1917 the average attendance reached a figure beyond 1,000, or nearly twice the number which could be properly taken care of under existing conditions. To provide temporary relief, the church auditorium was used for Sunday school purposes, an arrangement which, for many reasons, was very unsatisfactory.
The First Step
Naturally, the members of the Sunday school, recognizing this urgent need, were first in launching the movement which brought within reach the desired goal. On Easter Sunday, 1911, the pastor presented to the school a large wooden "nest-egg" bearing the inscription: "$50,000 for a New Modern Sunday School Building." At that time most of us merely smiled at the project, and many considered it a wild dream which could never be realized. But the members of the school began to save their pennies and nickels, and within a short time the small beginning grew into a sum of several thousand dollars. Encouraged by the success of this nest-egg, the workers of the school appointed a committee to present the urgent need to the official Board of the church and to secure their hearty co-operation. This was promised and thus the movement was launched.
But not until the time of the annual meeting of the congregation, held April 3, 1916, was the matter given very serious consideration. It was then that the pastor in his annual report to the church presented to the members a five-year program of expansion, which program embodied no less than ten definite recommendations for the various activities of our church. Of these recommendations, the tenth called for suitable accommodations and equipment to make possible the prosecution of the suggested program. This report was most favorably received, and by a unanimous vote of the congregation the entire matter was entrusted to the official Board with the instruction to make preliminary preparations for the accomplishment of the big task.
A Memorable Meeting
On June 8, 1916, a special meeting of the church council thoroughly considered the five-year program. The members were unanimous in their opinion that immediate steps should be taken to provide the required building, and without exception they pledged to the undertaking their hearty support. A committee, consisting of Messrs. Geo. F. Roth, Chas. W. Weis, Chas. G. Gerhard, Geo. J. Hafner, J. George Kaelher, Charles Suss and the pastor, ex-officio, was appointed to consider ways and means and to report back to the official Board at the earliest convenient time.
Sunday School Represented
Inasmuch as the proposed new building was intended to meet, in the first place, the needs of the Sunday school, the special committee requested the appointment of representatives from the school who were thoroughly familiar with the nature and the requirements of this work. The request was cheerfully met and the following representatives were chosen by the workers: Chas. T. Rau, J. J. Andersen, Fred J. Schmninke, Wm. H. Brown and Henry Albrecht. The following advisory members were added to the committee: Mrs. Katherine Tincher, Mrs. Rudolph Weis, Mrs. Elizabeth Norden, Mrs. Julius C. Hoffman, Miss Emma C. Hempel, Oscar E. Zabel and Fred M. Dubelbeiss. In all, this committee held 125 meetings of which 109 were regular and sixteen special. In addition to these meetings it was necessary to have innumerable conferences with the architects and the various contractors. The committee was organized as follows: George J. Hafner, chairman; J. George Kaelber, vice-chairman; Chas. G. Gerhard, secretary; Charles W. Weis, treasurer ; Charles T. Rau, assistant treasurer. Kilian Schaeffer was engaged to serve as clerk, and Emil Ludekens as legal advisor.
Real Estate Purchased
Recognizing the fact that more ground had to be bought before a suitable building could be erected, the members of the Sunday school created and organized the "Salem Sunday School Real Estate Company" and voted to use the funds of the nest-egg for the purchase of additional ground. The special committee also gave much thought and study to this most important matter, and after careful consideration recommended to the annual meeting of the congregation, held on April 16, 1917, the purchase of the two lots on the south side of the present church building, for the sum of $25,500. By a unanimous vote the meeting adopted the recommendation of the committee, and authorized the trustees to buy the property. Thereupon the "Salem Sunday School Real Estate Company," simply as a means of protection for the future and in order to assure sufficient light and ventilation for the new building, voted to purchase the third lot for the sum of $6,000. In this manner the church came into possession of additional ground with a frontage of 133 ft. in Franklin Street, by a depth of 164 ft. toward Clinton Avenue North.
The Funds Secured
From the very beginning, it was the opinion of those interested in this movement, that Salem should not build with borrowed money, but that an earnest effort should he made to secure in advance, if possible, the needed funds. Accordingly, the official Board, upon recommendations of the special committee, entered into negotiations with Mr. H. H. Patterson, of Cleveland, Ohio, whose ability as money - raiser for churches and Sunday schools had been tested, with great success and satisfaction, by other congregations in our city. Upon invitation, Mr. Patterson appeared before the official Board at a meeting held on April 12, 1917, and outlined his methods for a financial campaign. The proposition, as presented by Mr. Patterson, appealed very strongly to the members. After a month's consideration, at tile following regular meeting of the Board, held May 3, 1917, a resolution was introduced and adopted, that we enter into a. contract with Mr. Patterson, whereby he should lead us in a financial campaign to secure the needed funds for our new building. The month of November, 1917, was chosen for the great venture, provided conditions then would be favorable.
A Special Meeting
A special meeting of the entire congregation was called on September 24, 1917, to consider the advisability of conducting the campaign under the then-existing conditions. Only 170 members attended this important meeting, and, although the vote taken was almost unanimously in favor of the campaign, it was not deemed wise to go ahead. After correspondence with Mr. Patterson, the campaign leader, a second vote was called for at all the services on Sunday, October 7, 1917. The result, expressed by a rising vote, was overwhelmingly in favor of the campaign, more than 1,600 persons voting affirmatively.
The campaign was conducted from November 19 to 26, 1917. Mr. George F. Roth served as general chairman and Mr. J. George Kaelher as associate chairman. The men's division, consisting of forty-eight teams with 300 workers, and the ladies' division of twenty-seven teams with 100 workers, under the efficient leadership of Mr. Patterson, secured 2,285 pledges in the six days of the campaign. The pledges amounted to $154,101 (including the "Little Red House"). The individual contributions ranged from seventy-five cents to five thousand dollars. The entire expense of this great effort, including the commissary department, was $3,129.77. The greatest significance of the financial campaign of 1917 lay in the fact that it was successful at a time when our country was involved in the horrible world conflict which was then raging across the sea. On the evening of November 26, the closing day of our campaign, the honorable Mayor of our fair city, Hiram Edgerton, expressed to the workers his great satisfaction "that the church in these days of stress would dare to undertake and to do successfully such a big thing."
The war forced upon us the unwelcome postponement of our cherished plan for a new building. By order of the Government all building operations which were not an absolute necessity had to he abandoned for the time being. The payment of pledges was delayed. Our people needed their money to meet the high cost of living, and they were urged to invest any surplus in government bonds. We were compelled to wait a little while longer. For a time it seemed as if the vision would be dimmed, and faith would falter, and the enthusiasm must wane. But this was only for a time. We learned "to labor and to wait."
Nearing the Coal
Through nearly five long years the building committee continued its work until, at a special meeting of the congregation held on Monday, June 12, 1922, bids for the new building were submitted and opened. The total bids, exclusive of all unavoidable extras and necessary equipment, amounted to nearly $165,000. The committee was urged to award the contracts to the lowest responsible bidders without delay, and to begin work immediately. Seven days later on Monday morning, June 19, at 8:30 o'clock, members of the building committee and of the church council assembled to break ground for the new structure.
Once begun, the work progressed with greater speed than we had anticipated. Three months after the breaking of the ground we were privileged to celebrate the laying of the corner-stone, on Sunday, September 17, 1922. More than 1,000 members and friends of our church assembled at 3 o'clock in the afternoon to witness the great event. Our heavenly Father blessed the occasion with glorious sunshine. The Reverend Richard Stave, Ph.D., of St. Paul's Church delivered a splendid address. Professor Ludwig Schenck led the singing and the joyous strains were accompanied by Mr. Carl Paul on the organ and by several bass instruments. The corner-stone was laid by Pastor Frankenfeld. In the center of it was placed a copper receptacle containing the following documents: The Bible, The Elmhurst Hymnal, The Evangelical Catechism, "Our Evangelical Church," a copy of the constitution; the picture and the story of the nest-egg; copies of the "Salem's Bote," giving information about the financial campaign of 1917, the list of contributors, our larger program, annual reports of 1921 ; a list giving the names of the officers and the members of all organizations, the church council, the building committee, the architects and contractors; copies of "Der Friedensbote," "The Evangelical Herald," "The Evangelical Leader," "The Year Book," 1922; copies of the "Democrat and Chronicle," the "Rochester Herald," the "Post Express," the "Times-Union," the "Rochester American," "Die Abendpost"; the Christian flag and the American flag.
Dedicatory services for the new church school and parish house were held on the tenth day of June, 1923. All the work was not completed; indeed many details were still in an unfinished state, but the building had progressed so far that we could occupy the various rooms for Bible school purposes. In less than a year from the day on which ground was broken, we were privileged to enter the new building. No unwelcome delay of any nature had occurred; no serious accident marred the progress of the work. The spirit of co-operation and harmony prevailed throughout, and God led us to build at the most advantageous time. If the various contracts had been awarded a few months latem the cost of erecting our new building would have been increased by at least $45,000.
We began the day with a dedicatory service in the church auditorium at nine o'clock, the members of the elementary division meeting in their accustomed places. The Reverend Reinhold Niebuhr of Detroit delivered the sermon in which primary stress was laid upon the most important task of religious education. After the service, the departments of our Bible school formed in line and marched, with the members of the cradle roll in the lead, to the front of the new building. Nearly 2,000 persons participated in this great procession of which a film was made for future enjoyment and for the benefit of those who will come after us. At the entrance of the new building the architect handed the key to the chairman of the building committee, Mr. George J. Hafner, who received it with appropriate words and passed it on to the president of the church, Mr. Charles. Suss. With the words: "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory," the president accepted the key and opened the door leading into the spacious vestibule. Then followed the dedicatory prayer spoken by the pastor through a megaphone, whereupon the audience sang the last stanza of "Onward, Christian Soldiers" as the departments entered the building and occupied the rooms which had been previously assigned to them. Here addresses were given by Miss Hulda Niebuhr of Boston, who spoke to the elementary division, and by Messrs. Wm. J. MacFarlane, Wm. H. Stackel and the Reverend John S. Wolff, who addressed the senior, the young people's and the adult departments respectively. The evening witnessed a rally of the young people who listened, to the inspiring messages given by Miss Hulda Niebuhr and the Reverend Reinhold Niebuhr. And thus ended the great day, June the tenth.
A whole week of special events had been arranged by the committee and all of these were carried out as scheduled with not a single disappointment. The program, which was very exceptional in character, follows.
Monday - Men's Night - Speaker: The Reverend Theo. Bode, Buffalo.
Tuesday - Young People's Night - Speaker: The Reverend Orb J. Price, D.D., Secretary of the Federation of Churches of Rochester and Monroe County.
Wednesday - Bible School Workers' Night - Speaker: Dr. Herbert S. Weet, Superintendent of Public Schools.
Thursday - Three o'clock, "Frauenverein" - Speaker: Professor Wm. Baur, D.D., St. Louis, Mo. Eight o'clock, Women's Night - Speakers: Mrs. Geo. Hafner, Professor Wm. Baur, D.D., St. Louis, Mo.; Reverend Paul Frankenfeld, Buffalo; the Hon. Mayor VanZandt, Rochester.
Friday - Evangelical Night - Speakers: Reverend Adolf Baltzer, Mr. John Bernhard (for Reverend Otto Reller), Reverend Hernnan E. Koenig, Reverend Bernard J. Tepas.
Opportunity was given each night to see the entire building. Well-informed guides conducted the several groups, and the good women of Salem served refreshments gratis to all who came. Each night of dedication week was a spiritual, an intellectual and a social feast.
Sunday, June 17, was opening day, the various departments of our Bible school meeting for the first time, in regular session, in their new quarters. Only those who were present know what this statement means, and how the members felt about it. At the English service on this day it was our great pleasure to hear the venerable Mr. Thomas Dransfield, of the Central Presbyterian Church, who had organized Salem Sunday school fifty years ago and who had been an exemplary leader of Salem's youth for five years. About twenty-five men and women who were boys and girls when Mr. Dransfield assisted the Reverend Carl Siebenpfeiffer from 1873-1878, were present on June 17. Notwithstanding his eighty-eight years, Mr. Dransfield gave a thirty-minute address in which he offered his sincerest felicitations and brought us many reminiscences of days gone by. He still found great joy in the fact that the Lord had privileged him to have a share in the development of Salem Church.
The members of the dedicatory committee were fifty-seven in number, with William H. Brown, chairman; Henry F. Albrecht, vice-chairman; Miss Mary Emich, secretary; and Mrs. George J. Hafner, treasurer.
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