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Luther League of America
Tenth Biennial Convention at Albany, N. Y., November 12, 13 and 14, 1912
National Committee was especially wise and happy. All the addresses and papers, from the keynote utterance of Dr. Fry, of the Theological Seminary at Mt. Airy, to the last word spoken by Hon. Curtis H. Gregg, of Greensburg, Congressman for the Twenty-second District of Pennsylvania, were on a very high plane.
The first session of the convention opened promptly at 8 o'clock. William C. Stoever, Litt. D., President of the Luther League of America, presided. The devotional services were conducted by Revs. W. L. Genzmer, of Pittsfield, Mass., and William M. Baum, D.D., of Canajoharie, N. Y. After the anthem "Love Divine," the entire audience joined in singing "Now Thank We All Our God." At the conclusion of the devotional services, Corporation Counsel Arthur L. Andrews, on behalf of the Mayor of Albany, extended the welcome of the city, which was followed by that of the churches by Rev. Oscar Krauch. Mr. Andrews said in part:
It was my pleasure and privilege once before to appear at this church to speak before a convention of this kind, and while I regret, as you all must re gret, that his Honor, the Mayor, is prevented, by serious and sudden illness, from being with you, I assure you it gives me great pleasure to extentd to you a welcome.
In looking over the program of the evening, 1 notice the convention theme, "Creed and Flag." wish to impress on every one the duties of citizenship, and if there is one thing for which I would welcome you, it is because you are here to deliberate on such a theme. If there is one thing in this country today, among all kinds of people, among all classes of people, if there is one thing which is needed, in my opinion, it is good citizenship. We need to teach the duties of holding public office and performing services which these offices devolve upon the holder, and so I am glad you have come here into our city to consider such a theme as this and to base it upon Holy Writ. If the Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ, our Lord, as we have just sung, blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord, says the Holy Writ. So this nation, this city. this State, and every city in the country depends upon just such organizations as yours for extending the faith.
I welcome you most heartily to this city and I am glad that over and above your creed there lies the hope that comes from the flag, the common flag which stands for the common country, for which we may live, if need be, for which we may die. We should live in order that we may do good to those with whom we come in contact in our daily lives, that finally when we come to our final reward we may receive the "well done, good and faithful
Rev. Oscar Krauch spoke eloquently as follows:
Upon the unfortunate chairman of the 1912 Albany convention committee devolves the great honor and privilege of extending to you, our guests, our most cordial greetings and welcome.
As pastor of a German church, I welcome you. If I am not mistaken. it is the first time in the history of the Luther League of America that your national convention has been held in a German church. Now, when we bear in mind the fact that the Luther League came into existence in the German Church and when we remember still more what the
Lutheran Church of this land owes to the Church of th tongue of Martin Luther, it seems to me very appropriate that tonight, tomorrow and the day after, the walls of a German church can shelter a 1912 convention, and I hope and pray that it will not be the last time in your history that you can come into a German church.
I welcome you and I cannot help but congratulate your executive committee upon the program which lies before you at this convention. I welcome you for the motto and theme of this convention-"Creed and Flag." Creed-Christ, and then Flag. O, what an opportunity these days, this week, in Albany, to impress upon you young Lutherans that we are bound to teach our nation and our Government that which perhaps they have failed to see and learn; that on our Lutheran faith and on the loyalty to that faith will hang the faith of our land. What an opportunity to have presented to us in these days the glorious themes which you find in your programs.
My prayer is that God may so guide and direct our proceedings that the Luther League may attain unto that object which it has set before itself as its goal. We do not want to flatter ourselves. Every one of us who is familiar with this movement, started many years ago and which has developed and grown, nevertheless knows that we have numberless difficulties to face; and if anything done here in Albany can help us to solve these problems to make our Luther League a force for righteousness in this land and for the upbuilding of the beloved Lutheran Church in this land, for which it was intended, then we will not have spent our days in vain in preparing for your coming and I feel sure you will not feel you have come here in vain.
We welcome you into our midst and we hope when you depart from Albany you will take in your hearts with you fond memories of our Albany.
The response to the address of welcome was delivered by Mr. E. F. Eilert, chairman of the Executive Committee, New York. Mr. Eilert said in part:
Mr. President, Mr. Andrews, Pastor and Members of the Luther League of St. John's and Members of the Luther League of the Albany District:
Not only do we accept the hospitality so kindly extended by the gentleman on behalf of the Mayor, the hospitality of Albany, the capital city of the State, for which we are indeed thankful-it is a privilege to be with you here in Albany, not only with Albany Lutherans, but with Albany people, but it is a greater privilege to be in this church. The pastor has already alluded to the fact that this is the first time the Luther League of America has had the privilege of meeting in a German church, and he has also referred to the fact that the Luther League had its inception in a German Lutheran church in New York. We are indeed grateful for that, but particularly grateful to know that it was twenty-five years ago this year that the Luther League had its inception in a German Lutheran church in New York City; twenty-five years ago this movement was started by St. Peter's Young Men's Association, of which the late Dr. Moldenke was the pastor. They started the movement; they started to visit other organizations in New York and the date of the anniversary of a central organization is only a few months hence, for on April 18, 1888, twenty-five years next spring. the first Central or District League had its beginning.
We are proud to be here, Pastor Krauch, because of that fact, a church connected with the same synod with which you are connected, a man who was well known and greatly loved in the city of New York, inspired his young men to start this movement, and we are here today to reap some of its benefits. glad to be in this church because twenty years ago next February the first State League had its inception in the pastor's study of this church. Representatives from various districts were gathered together here in February, 1893, and we planned for the first State League of the Luther League of New York State which assembled in May, in Utica. Your church therefore figures in the history of the Luther League very materially, Pastor Krauch, and for that reason if for no other, notwithstanding the cordiality with which we have been received, we are very glad to be here.
Now, my Luther Leaguers, we are gathered here to do the Master's work. The motto of this conven
tion has been alluded to and we need to give it careful and prayerful consideration. Twenty-five years is a long time. There are not many of us that are still in the work, but those of us who are are thankful that God has blest us through these years and that we have seen the work go on, go forward, and that the Luther Leaguers, the young Lutherans of our churches are today stauncher and more loyal members of the Church than they ever were before. It depends upon you, each individually, upon me, upon the officers of this League, to see to it that the work is perpetuated, for as some drop by the wayside, falling as some may who are no longer young, or others for other reasons, we must secure recruits. This work must and will go on, come what may, and we are here in our convention to discuss ways and means to inspire every delegate to go home and give to the young people of his church new ideas and new thoughts and make sure that the work which is planned will bear fruit.
Following the offertory anthem, "Praise the Lord," President Stoever delivered the biennial address:
President Stoever's Address.
Twenty-five years ago the Luther League of America had its inception at a meeting of the young men of St. Peter's German Congregation, New York City. Tonight we meet for the first time in a German church, whose pastor is an ardent believer in the Luther League, as is attested by its membership in this church, the largest on our record. We are here tonight representing different nationalities, with the determination of the German, the loyalty of the Scandinavian and the ardent progressiveness of the American.
In these days of unrest and change we need a strong manhood, men, women, young men and maidens, who have principles and who are not afraid to stand up for these when necessity requires; who are interested in the daily study of God's Word and who are not ashamed to own that it came from Him; who are unwilling to admit that any part of it was ot man's construction; who believe that it is not a athering of myths and symbols, but that every word therein counts for truth, and is the lesson which God Almighty gave first to His people of old, and through them to us. It is a matter of great thankfulness to me that my parents were strict in their religious duties, believed in the Word of God from cover to cover, and were fully satisfied that it was given by God Himself through the pens of those whom He chose to present His truths to His people; that they gave me a training in church work, that it has always been laid upon me with great emphasis that the Lord's Day is to be kept holy, and that His work is to receive my first service.
We are to talk during this convention upon "Our Creed and Our Flag," and it seems appropriate that our attention should be called to the present-day methods of some who call themselves Christians, but who seem to have forgotten the teaching of God's Word. Let us study this Word faithfully and prayerfully and catch from it the inspiration and the instruction which are necessary to make us earnest and faithful! followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and active in His service.
We are often sad because there does not seem to be a work for us to do which is agreeable and attractive to us, and therefore we often overlook that which is at our hand, and which God means us to do. We boast of our catechetical instruction and of the large additions to the church thereby. It seems to be the best way for educating and preparing our young people for that which they must undertake and which they, when they confirm their baptismal vows, ought to understand, so that when the time comes they may be able to take the places of their elders and those who are experienced in the work. But it is sad to see that so many, who, by this course of instruction are introduced into full membership in the Church, are afterward neglected, overlooked and forgotten by the church which should take an oversight of them and care for them in the first years of their active membership in the church. So often we lay stress upon the head instruction, forgetting the heart culture, and many who come into the church from the catechetical class do not appreciate their position or understand their duty. Some of our pastors, realizing this fact.
continue to instruct the confirmed for a year or more after their reception, and thus guard them from the temptations which come to those who in their early years openly confess their faith in Christ, and thus save them from falling away from the faith. The Luther League aims to supplement this work through the "Topics" and Reading Courses.
No man should be a Lutheran simply because his father and mother were Lutherans; he should believe in its interpretation of the Word and in its teaching of the truth. Every church has something in it which distinguishes it from others, and we laymen should know wherein we differ, and be able to give a reason
ST. JOHN'S CHURCH,
Where convention sessions were held.
for the faith that is in us. One of our editors is responsible for saying that "the church which neglects to develop in its young people an intelligent devotion to its own doctrines, usages and methods of Christian work, is neglecting to cultivate in them one of the chief factors of their efficiency in the Kingdom of God."
It is equally necessary to have a knowledge of the history of the church. As we study American history we are impressed with the loyalty, the sacrifices, the noble deeds, patriotism and bravery of our countrymen, and we rejoice that we belong to the same nation; as our people through their deeds receive honors from other people we are honored too. From the period of the Reformation to the present day there