This article was written in German by Rev. G. Birkmann for the 26 April 1934 edition of the Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt and translated by Ray Martens.
To my knowledge, no account of this important gathering has appeared in the Giddings Volksblatt, and, yet, I think many readers would be happy to learn something about it.
I was not commissioned to provide such a report—I am doing this of my own accord—nor is it my intention to produce a complete report because I was not at every session of the conference, nor can I remember everything exactly from when I was there. So one must make do with what I report here until he finds something additional and more exact in the Texas Lutheran Messenger.
The south Texas Pastor/Teacher Conference (Missouri Synod) was invited by Salem Ev. Luth. Church to hold its post-Easter gathering in Rose Hill. The sessions occurred in the church on three days, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (April 3-5). The conference was well attended, as is usually the case. Almost ninety persons took part, about half pastors (including several candidates and vicars) and the other half teachers in our congregations’ schools.
With Easter, a time filled with work came to an end for all of them, and not a few made a long trip to get here, but one noted little weariness during the discussions, and these became days of diversion and refreshment.
The chairman was the Rev. A. E. Moebus, who has filled this position faithfully and capably for years. Teacher Twenhafel from Manheim was elected secretary.
Papers, that is, reports and lectures, were delivered alternately in part by teachers, in part by pastors. I wish to mention these, though I do not know whether I can name all who served the conference in this way.
Teacher Wittmershaus delivered the concluding part of his paper on the creation account, Genesis 1, which he had begun in Warda last year. The paper, like most of the others, was [ ] and produced general interest. Rev. Rische in his paper illustrated how regular attendance at conferences is useful and beneficial, and the experiences that we have had until now in these relationships confirm all of that fully. What would happen if such conferences as we have were to be discontinued, or if pastors and teachers chose to sit at home instead of talking with their brothers in ministry about correct Christian teaching and practice in order always to promote more service to others?
Teacher Dube lectured about the correct relationship between pastor and teacher. The word of the Psalmist also applies to this, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” [Psalm 133:1]
Teacher Baden had brought from Houston a whole group of his pupils, who sat before us, and the teacher then took them through a rehearsal and showed what methods he applied to make good singers of his pupils, which they obviously were. He also delivered a special lecture on this subject.
On each of several afternoons, Director Studtmann spoke for one or two hours about an amendment to our national constitution, already adopted in twenty-four states, which makes the provision that children under eighteen may not work. In brief, this is called the “Child Labor Amendment.” It was established in detail by the speaker how dangerous it would be, were this amendment actually to attain the power of law, how ruinous it could be for us, and the like. Our state legislature declined this amendment some time ago, but it could be put before another legislature anew, and as faithful citizens we must do all we can to prevent its adoption. Our Christian schools, our family rights, our civic freedom, are threatened by this amendment. We should stay well informed on this matter.
Naturally, Director Studtmann also reported on our college in Austin. Through God’s blessing and gracious help, the institution has experienced the result that thirty students are enjoying good health and are studying diligently. Meeting the budget is also carefully considered by many of our congregations, and one can only wish that the members of our congregations continue to grant their participation and aid.
The archives of our district have a good and experienced manager in Prof. Viehweg. The writer of this article would like to add here that each congregation should count it important for the sake of recording their own history to send the desired contributions to the archives: printed matter, programs, pictures, and photographs which relate to the congregation.
The vice-president of the general synod, J. W. Behnken, spoke in quite a moving way ab out the financial state of our beloved synod, and showed us according to God’s Word what is incumbent upon us to do at the present time. It is also to the point that we inform our congregations well and show them again and again what is lacking and how the situation could be improved.
Vice-president Osthoff presented what had been sent to hum by District President C. M. Beyer, all kinds of things needing to be decided in our district. Rev. Heckmann, our Second Vice-President, appeared as a member of the Mission Board and reported on the progress of our home missions in the state of Texas.
On Wednesday night, a service was held with a confessional address (Rev. Elser), a sermon (Rev. Schreiner from Sealy), and Communion. Lunch and dinner were served in the school by the host congregation.
A gratifying fact is that in Texas we have so many congregations who are happy to accommodate and entertain a conference, even if attendance is quite large and makes much preparation and the like necessary.
Fully satisfied and strengthened physically and in every other respect, the conference adjourned on Thursday afternoon, and the guests took leave gratefully, and one soon saw the cars driving away to Houston, to Giddings, to the Valley, etc.
Then Rose Hill became quiet once again, but the pleasant memories of the conference are still here, and the gas flares from the oil wells are still flaming, and their luster brightens the night today as it did yesterday.
G. Birkmann, pastor em.