[trans. John Daggan, 2004]
Fifth Annual Report
of the Activities of
the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stapleton, S.I.N.Y.
Beach Street, Corner of St. Paul’s Avenue
Pastor Frederick Sutter
Introduction to the Fifth Annual Report
With thanks to God it was granted us in October of last year to celebrate the 50th year Jubilee of our congregation. The festivities that took place were:
Sunday, Oct. 7 at 10:30 am, was the Festival Service for the church; the guest preacher was Pastor A. Richter from St. Matthew’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hoboken, N.J.
That afternoon at 3 o’clock: a celebration for the Sunday School; with an address by Pastor J.C.R Lührs from St. John’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jersey City Heights. Memorial photographs of the Jubilee were distributed.
Sunday evening at 7:30 pm: Festival Service for the Organizations of the Church: Ladies’ Guild, Sunday School, Choir, along with a celebration of the founding of the Ladies’ Guild. the guest speaker was Pastor F.W. Oswald, President of the New York Ministerium, of St. John’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7:00 in the evening: a social reception given by the Ladies’ Guild in the schoolhouse, to which all the church members were invited..
Thursday, Oct. 11, at 8:00 pm: an organ recital by Mr. Hugo Troetschel, organist of the German church in Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, N.Y., for all church members, who received free tickets.
May it be permitted to us in years to come, after 25 and 50 years, again to come to a similar Festival in our church!
Continuation of the History of the Church
(from October 1895 to March 1905)
The last historical report reached through the beginning of Pastor Krause’s term of service. His introduction was held, with the help of three guest preachers, on Oct. 1, 1893. For this celebration, the church was bedecked with flowers, and the entire Board of Trustees and many members were present.
The Board of Trustees for the following 10 years, until the appearance of these pamphlets, were, chronologically, composed as follows:
From 1893-1895, elected in the year 1892: Mr. Heysich, Mr. Stake, Mr. Ehlert, Mr. Meuerer, Mr. Siemer, Mr. Zentgaf, Mr. Harder, Mr. Robert, Mr. Pape, Mr. Meyer and Mr. Horrmann. Chosen for office: President, Mr. Herpich,; Vice-President, Mr. Horrmann; Secretary, Mr. Zentraf; and Treasurer, Mr. Siemer.
In March 1895, Mr. Siemer, Mr. Ehlert, Mr. Zentgraf, and Mr. Lindemann were elected as Elders, and Mr. Schumann, Mr. Stake, Mr. Meyer, Mr. Pape, Mr. Meurer, Mr. Wedemeyer and Mr. Harder were elected as Trustees. Mr. Lindemann served as President; Mr. Meurer, Vice-President; Mr. Zentgraf, Secretary, and Mr. Siemer, Treasurer. At this meeting, the congregation expressed its gratitude to Mr. Herpich, who declined re-election, for him many years of service, during which the church and school had prospered.
In March 1898, Mr. Meyer, Mr. Pape, and Mr. Wedemeyer stepped down as Trustees, and were replaced by Mr. Bardes, Mr. Kumm and Mr. Schaus. For the period from 1901-1904, the Board of Trustees from 1898-1901 was re-elected. The only exceptions were in the offices of Treasurer and Vice-President. Mr. Siemer could no longer serve as Treasurer because of a long absence from the island. After a long debate, Mr. Meurer declared himself ready to undertake that office, and gave his resignation as Vice-President and was then elected Treasurer. Mr. Siemer was elected Vice-President in place of Mr. Meurer.
During the period from 1893-1905, many things were done, so the interest of old members was re-awakened, and new members were attracted. The Pastor, with the help of the Board of Trustees, made it their business to promote all of these efforts.
In the year 1894 it was decided to undertake Religious Instruction in the school curriculum, and Pastor Krause declared himself ready to do his part. In the same year, the envelope system was introduced, by which everyone, with a small weekly contribution beginning at 5 cents, eventually could become a member of the church. The congregation purchased advertisements in certain German newspapers of Staten Island.
The Sunday School was given more attention and more space was found for it. Through a base of Sunday School teachers, Ladies’ Guild, and Youth Group, a close connection with the church was brought about.
An evening school under the leadership of the Pastor was organized.
Through distribution of a yearly pamphlet, every member could get insight into the work and growth of the church. The women of the church made it their special concern to beautify the church by adorning it with stained glass.
The report of 1903 showed that there were 260 members (the report of 1906 reported 350 members).
Through the active interest of the congregation, one of the members was permitted to distribute circulars on Easter Sunday, 1898 to raise money to reduce the outstanding mortgage of $5,000 on the church properties. A total of $502 was collected. A church concert under the leadership of Mr. Schaefer on May 7, 1898 for the benefit of the church brought in $200.45. Our fair held in Oct. 1901 to defray the cost of the necessary repairs to the church and schoolhouse raised $1,826.99. Instead of the recurring deficit for 1893-1899, the following year closed with a surplus.
At the same time, though, it is a matter of concern that the income of the church from the parish school have steadily become smaller. This school, which Mr. G. Schumann had led as director -- and which Pastor Krause, having received a very good impression of it, took over shortly after the beginning of his ministry – counted 91 scholars on the roster in 1893; and according to the Treasurer’s report, the school had a surplus of $417.30 in the fiscal year 1894-1895. In the following year’s audit of the school’s finances, Mr. Schumman carried over a surplus of $350. In the following year it was $300 and in 1899 it was down to $200 per year. So because the enrollment was becoming smaller (many children had started to attend the improved public schools), Mr. Schumann feared the school would come to an end. He then attempted to make a contract between the Westerleigh Institute and the church, in which the Institute would have a preparatory school, on a trial basis, for 6 months. But this contract was annulled on Oct. 4, 1901. Another attempt was made to reorganize the school by combining the position of teacher and organist. It was to this end that requests for applications for the position were placed in 10 newspapers. But still, no success.
Later, a parish school under the leadership of Pastor Krause was founded, for which purpose the schoolhouse was made available free of charge.
Also, a bequest by an anonymous donor did not help to reduce the burdensome mortgage of $4,500 on the church property, since the donor stipulated that interest on the mortgage only was to be paid, the rest of the bequest being kept in a savings account.
When the American church in Brownell St. instituted German services and Sunday School classes, our church lost a number of members. They also started a free German school in 1898, held on Sundays, which was attended by about 140 children.
In spite of all these worries, the church moved on, and as the report of the last year shows, the efforts of the Pastor and the church leaders were accompanied with blessings. The position of organist was filled by Miss Francke from October 1893 until March 1894, by Miss Taege from March 1894 until her death in March 1896; by Mr. Bayerl from 1896-1899 and by Mr. Schaefer from 1899-1903.
In March 1896, the Board of Trustees was informed that Mr. Schaefer had a bequest, in which a sure amount was pledged, to allow the church, as well as the building inside the fence, to be painted. The name of this donor was not ascertained.
At the meeting of the Board of Trustees on March 22, 1901, the Committee reported that they commissioned a letter of condolence to the family of the late Pastor Kühne, the letter to be sent to Mrs. Steimle to be written in old calligraphy style, and the same to be delivered to Pastor Kühne’s daughter.
Regarding the aforementioned Fair in October, 1901, it was decided in the Trustees meeting of April 18, 1901, that the Board would like to be included in the coming Spring fair, to be held for the benefit of the church’s finances. The Board pledged to assist the ladies of the church in this endeavor. An amendment to appoint a committee for this purpose was immediately accepted. Pastor Krause spoke about this proposal, saying that he would support and promote it. These men were proposed for the committee: Mr. Lindemann, Mr. Meurer, Mr. Schaus, Mr. Siemer and Mr. Bardes; and these men were appointed by the chairman. It was further resolved that the fair would be held on the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th of October. The council was to speak with the various standing organizations of the church in order to invite them to the fair. IN the same meeting it was proposed that the unknown donor of the money towards the liquidation of the mortgage on the property be given the thanks of the Board, and that this resolution be recorded in the minutes.
On April 18, 1900, the resolution was made that with the end of every church year, the report of the Pastor and the Treasurer by published in pamphlet form. These reports should contain the names of the church members, Sunday School teachers, Ladies’ Guild, the choir, as well as the members of the other organizations connected with the church; and also every member in good standing as of Oct. 1 of every year.
On Oct. 17, 1901 it was resolved that money raised by the fair, in the amount of $1,826.99, be deposited in the Staten Island Savings Bank. The Board approved the expenditure of necessary funds to repair the pews in the church, that sum not to exceed $250.00. The board expressed their thanks by letter to the Ladies’ Fair Committee. An estimate would be obtained for the necessary larger repairs. An accurate list of church members was established.
At the congregational meeting on March 9, 1902, the Treasurer’s report was read, and it reported a surplus of $1,745.20 for the fiscal year 1901-2. Pastor Krause reported that the invitation to participate in the Easter festivities was very successful, and it was decided to issue another invitation that year. It was further resolved that the by-laws of the church be reviewed point by point, which task would be undertake in a later meeting.
We believe that this report has stressed the important points of the history of the congregation during the years 1893-1902, and we refer the kind reader to the already published pamphlets for the years 1903-1906 for information about the following years.
Sixth Annual Report
of the Condition of
the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stapleton, S.I.N.Y.
Beach Street, Corner of St. Paul’s Avenue
Pastor F. Sutter
Introduction to the Sixth Annual Report
For a year now, Pastor Sutter has conducted his ministry with zeal and love, and during this time the size of the membership list has soared joyfully. Under his leadership, a Young Person’s Society was organized, composed of young men and women, which has the special duty to encourage the development of Christian youth.
Meanwhile, the Church Council membership was increased to 18, and attendance at the monthly meetings has been good; however, the attendance at the congregational meeting left much to be desired. Every voting member should make it his duty to appear at all the congregational meetings, so that he can take part in the deliberations.
To seek out more families who do not speak German, Pastor Sutter, with the consent of the Church Council, has held an English service on the first Sunday evening of every month, on an experimental basis. As a result, new members for our congregation were won. However, the council will call a special congregational meeting in the near future to give all members and opportunity to express their views on these important matters.
The congregation is indebted to the Ladies’ Society, as well as the Young People’s Society and the Sunday School; because of them, the treasurer has had a considerable amount of money at his disposal to help towards the cost of painting the church, school and the parsonage.
Annual Report of the
Secretary of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church
of Stapleton, S.I.
for the period from March 1, 1907 to March 1, 1908
The passing of our true fellow-worker of many years, Mr. Charles F. Zentgraf, was duly noted in the Protocol, and the deepest sympathies of the trustees was extended to the family of the dearly departed.
Another long-serving and true member of our council, Mr. Carl Schumann, was released from his heavy burden, and was also remembered honorably.
Also in the last year, Mr. Claus Holtermann, a member of the council, entered the rest of eternal life. His blessed memory remains with us.
The mixed choir contributed to the beautification of the services through their musical offerings, and we are indebted to them for their efforts. The organ concert given in the last week of November was well attended. All of the people responsible were extended the thanks of the trustees.
Under the energetic leadership of Pastor Sutter, happy progress was made in the formation of the Young People’s Society; it is hoped that this Society will in time take a joyful part [in the life of the church].
As can be seen by the appended membership list, a most pleasing number of people have joined our church; and this, along with the gratifying results in this respect of last year, points to the hope of an even greater success in the coming year.
Annual Report of the Condition
of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Stapleton, S.I.
for the period from March 1, 1907 to March 1, 1908
When we look back over the past year in the life of our church, we must praise our God for all his grace, who has so richly blessed us and held us in his fatherly love.
On October 6, 1907, the undersigned began his ministry as Pastor of this congregation, and on October 20, 1907, he was installed by Pastor D.W. Peterson of Middle Village, L.I., with the assistance of Pastor W. Siebert of Newark, N.J.
The divine services, Sunday School, and Confirmation classes were regularly held during the last year. Since the first Sunday in November, services were held every Sunday evening.
Attendance at divine services noticeably increased, and we implore God’s rich blessing for true planting of his holy Word.
The Sunday School was attended by 234 children, who were instructed by 27 teachers. The Ladies’ Society, who performed many blessed works in the past year, alleviating many and sundry needs, enjoyed continuous growth and now has 98 members. In this place I must once again express the heartfelt thanks of the congregation to the ladies for their beautiful gift of 180 chairs. These were put to good use in the school rooms, and contributed greatly to the order and management of the Sunday School.
In February 1908, a Young People’s Society was established in our midst, made up of young men and women of our congregation; they meet every second Tuesday evening of the month. This society promises to have a blessed future.
Mr. Friedrich Harder has been sexton of the church since November 1, and he has performed his duties in pleasing manner. Also, Mr. Franz Fischer faithfully performed his duties as collection-counter. Miss Else Scherz served as the organist this year, to the satisfaction of all.
Regarding the financial condition of the church, reference should be made to the Treasurer’s Report. The Confirmands started an Altar and Chancel Fund, which now runs to $219.48. The sum will certainly be larger by the time of the yearly meeting. In the past Synodical year, $175 was delivered to the Synod Treasurer for charitable works.
In the course of the past month, several repairs were done in the parsonage. The rooms on the first and second floors were painted and papered, while the bathroom was enlarged and outfitted with modern conveniences.
Since the beginning of 1908, at the decision of the trustees, all members of the church were sent, free of charge, the “American Ambassador,” a monthly religious magazine. May this paper richly bear fruit.
49 children were baptized; 20 couples married and 31 persons buried. There were 190 communicants and 36 confirmands.
Friedrich Sutter, Pastor
Stapleton, March 8, 1908