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The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A brief history of Rader's Lutheran Church near Timberville, Virginia (Rockingham County) from May 20, 1765, to April 11, 1921

by Jerome Paul Stirewalt


Upon investigation we find that the records of Rader's congregation during the first fifty years of her existence were inadequately kept, and during the rest of the time they have not been kept as they should have been.

The true, authentic history of an organization is ordinarily interesting and instructive to its members. This is as should be. It is becoming, for certainly every member should be proud of and feel an abiding interest in the welfare of the congregation to which he belongs and with which he worships God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This History, too, is likely to exert a wholesome influence over any others who may chance to read it.

Rader's Lutheran congregation has not existed in vain. Its aim and object always have been to teach, preach, and spread the Word of God in its purity for the honor and glory of God, for the edification of God's people, and the general welfare of the surrounding community, and even for the betterment of the world. This congregation has always stood well in its own neighborhood and in the esteem of the Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod to which it belongs.

Its existence was necessary. It has done a great and good work, its usefulness still continues, and its influence is, to this day, recognized and felt.

The Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod was organized July 17, 1820, in Solomon's Church, Cove Creek, Greene County, Tennessee. In receiving its name, " The Tennessee Synod," it was not intended to limit it to that State, but to distinguish this synod from other synods in existence at that time; such as, the Maryland, the North Carolina, and other synods. There seems to be no definite record of the exact date of the organization of the said Rader's congregation, but from the language of the deed for the land upon whch the church edifice stood at that time on the west side of the road near the cemetery gate, it is safe to infer that the organization was effected prior to May 20, 1765. Now remembering that the Tennessee Synod was not organized until July 17, 1820, about fifty-five years after the congregation was organized, the reader of this History may desire to know the synodical relation of this congregation during these fifty-five years, before the Tennessee Synod was brought into existence, or even thought of. This congregation, together with four others in Virginia, was received into the North Carolina Synod in 1813, and remained in thig synodical connection until the organization of the Tennessee Synod in July, 1820, a period of seven years. It then became a member of the Tennessee Synod. Thus it will be noticed that this congregation has' been a loyal member of the Tennessee Synod for about one hundred years. She has never been ashamed of her synod. We must account for the relation of this congregation to others during that fifty-five years between its organization in 1765 and the organization of the Tennessee Synod in 1820. It may seem strange to many of us, and yet it is true, that in the beginning of the Lutheran Church in America a number of years passed by before congregations were gathered together and formed into synods. So then Rader's congregation, like others of that day, was not in connection with any synod during these fifty-five years. As to the reason of a long delay in organizing synod, it is only a matter of conjecture, because we know of no records along this line. The four other congregations in Virginia received into the North Carolina Synod at her eleventh convention along with Rader's congregation, in 1813, were Mt. Calvary, on the "Hoxbiehl," then Shenandoah County, now Page County, Virginia; Solomon's, Shenandoah County; Stuart's, in Rockingham County; and St. Paul's, then in Shenandoah County, now Page County, Virginia. At that time, i. e., 1813, John Roller and John Bowman were the Elders in Rader's congregation. This Rader's congregation is now about 155 years old.

Notwithstanding what has been said already, yet we desire to say that the first Lutheran immigrants from Germany arrived in Pennsylvania some time in 1680, or thereabout, and their congregations were organized at once, yet it was sixty-eight years afterward, that is 1748, that the Ministerium of Pennsylvania was organized. "The first Lutheran immigrants settled in New York in 1621, and their first congregation was organized in 1664, yet it was not until 147 years later, and thirty-eight years after the formation of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, that is, 1786, that the Ministerium of New York was organized."

Thus it was in regard to the planting of the Lutheran Church in the " Piedmont section" of North Carolina, which began in 1747, and "the congregations were organized somewhere between then and 1766. These congregations were about forty years of age when the North Carolina Synod was formed in 1803. The purpose of this digression in writing the history of this congregation, (if it is a digression,) is to show that one pastor, the Rev. Adolphus Nussman, planted the Lutheran Church in North Carolina before the Revolutionary War, maintaining its relation to the mother church in Germany, because that thereby the church here was greatly benefited by the church in Germany, in that it received men and other means from Germany for its support. Rev. Adolphus Nussman made efforts to renew relations after the war with the church in Germany, which had been broken by the war. The point to be made is that Rev. Nussman, possibly did not favor, as a matter of courtesy to the church in Germany, dissolving relationship with her, and forming a synod in this country, separate and apart from other ecclesiastical bodies. This may account, in a way, for the long delay in organizing the congregations into synods in this country.

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