History of Strand Street Lutheran Congregation and the early Lutherans at the Cape

by Reino Ottermann

Presented at the General Synod of UELCSA, Cape Town, 4 May 2012

For this presentation I will extensively (and often verbatim) make use of my book published on the occasion of the centenary of the Cape Church in 1995, my recent contribution about German-language settler communities in South Africa to a German research project, some other smaller publications by myself and, most important, of publications by the late Dr John Hoge of the University of Stellenbosch.

Two distinct lines of development can be traced in the history of the Lutheran Church in South Africa, namely the immigrant or settler line and the mission line. In many, and sometimes fundamental respects, these two lines show strongly differing characteristic features. But they also have many aspects in common, of which two - both rather negative - are mentioned here. The first one is the fact that a diverse and fragmented Lutheran Church was planted here by a variety of Mission Societies from Europe and America, and in Lutheran settler communities with their roots in different German and Scandinavian regional churches. This legacy of fragmentation, brought to us from the "old world", is a heavy burden with which the Lutherans in South Africa are still grappling today.

Strand Street Church Cape Town

The second aspect common to both is the fact that a meaningful measure of independence, self-sufficiency and self-reliance only gradually came about in the second half of the twentieth century. The process of indigenization was, therefore, slow and halting. Things did, of course, differ individually in the case of each Mission Society or group of immigrant congregations. But the basic features were present in all of them.

The only exception to the above development is the Strand Street congregation in Cape Town which was founded in Dutch colonial times in 1780 and which soon developed a strong sense of independence. But it had to go its own isolated way for more than one and a half centuries until the above-mentioned measure of independence came about in the other strands of Lutheranism and it was able to gradually join in with the movement towards greater Lutheran unity.

The early history of the Lutherans at the Cape was thoroughly researched by Dr John Hoge. His publications are still the most comprehensive source. The two most important ones are: Die Geskiedenis van die Lutherse Kerk aan die Kaap. Argiefjaarboek vir Suid-Afrikaanse Geskiedenis, Vol. 2, Cape Town 1938, and Die Geschichte der ältesten evangelisch-lutherischen Gemeinde in Kapstadt, Munich 1939. A condensed survey, compiled by myself, can be found in the Afrikanischer Heimatkalender of 1968. Also of eminent importance is Dr Hoge’s Personalia of the Germans at the Cape 1652-1806, in Archives Yearbook for South African History, Vol. 9, Cape Town 1946. Here follows a brief account of the most important facts.

The first European settlers at the Cape were dispatched there by the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC) under the command of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652. These settlers were mainly of Dutch and German origin. Most of the Germans were Lutherans, although some could have also come from Reformed German territories. But the Cape settlement, being a settlement of the Dutch East India Company, fell under the ruling of the Union of Utrecht of 1579 which had adopted the basis of the Religious Peace of Augsburg (1555) that the religion of a country or territory was to be determined by its ruler (Cujus regio, ejus religio). This was also agreed to in the Peace Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 after the Thirty Years War. (Some Lutheran congregations did exist in Holland but a number of restrictions were imposed on them, the details of which I will not mention here.) Consequently the only recognized Christian denomination at the Cape was the Dutch Reformed Church. However, the existence of the Lutherans could not be ignored. Several church documents refer to the "brethren of the Augsburg Confession". They were, for instance, explicitly admitted to Holy Communion in 1665 and again in 1719 when nine Lutherans are mentioned by name after the note: "Ex fratribus Augustanae Confessionis ad S. Coenam admissi sunt."

Two of these early Germans were Jan van Riebeeck’s successor, the second Kommandeur of the settlement from 1662 to 1666, Zacharias Wagenaer (Wagner), born in Dresden-Neustadt, and one of the earliest so-called free burghers or free people, was Henning Hüsing, a very successful farmer who had arrived from Hamburg in 1673. John Hoge cites several differing reports about the number of Germans at the Cape, including one from a Swedish traveller who in 1770 claimed that Germans made up half of the European population. Germans were identified as such by their place of origin.

For various reasons, the German language was only with difficulty able to survive in this early settler community. First of all, many of the Germans came from Northern Germany and spoke Low German (Plattdeutsch) as their native language. Secondly, the men at the Cape usually could only marry Dutch women, of whom there were not many, or freed female slaves whose freedom had been bought for this purpose, most of them from South-East Asia. In the period from 1700 to 1795, the overwhelmingly Dutch-influenced white population was primarily comprised of male immigrants from Northern Europe who had freed slave women in order to marry them.

The Lutherans were in an invidious position. Many eventually joined the Reformed Church in order to be considered for any high public office. But in 1740, 509 inhabitants were still confessing Lutherans. They had not joined the Dutch Reformed Church and thereby forfeited promotion. This was in the eighteenth century, when there seems to have been a general awakening of confessional consciousness amongst the Lutherans.

Meanwhile, Lutheran chaplains on mainly Danish and Swedish ships passing through Table Bay had occasionally been allowed to conduct services in Cape Town, where they preached, administered Holy Communion, and baptized and confirmed children. It is interesting to note that, unless these pastors were able to preach in German, they were of no use to the Lutherans ("voor hen van geen nut"). In these services the hymns were sung from German hymn-books.

In the eighteenth century the religious climate changed in the Lutherans’ favour. Baron van Imhoff, who was later to become Governor- General of Batavia, in 1741 drew up a memorandum to the Here XVII (the Council of Seventeen, the administrative body of the VOC in Amsterdam), suggesting that the Lutherans in Batavia, as well as in Cape Town, be granted permission to establish their own congregations. The Lutherans in Batavia subsequently succeeded in being granted permission to found a congregation in 1743. The first Lutheran Pastor in Batavia, Christoffel Michaels, on his way to Batavia in 1746, held four services in the house of Daniel Pfeil in Cape Town, in one of which 200 persons partook in Holy Communion. Johan Christoffel Morhard also preached in Cape Town on his way to Batavia in 1749.

The Lutherans at the Cape were not as successful as the Lutherans in Batavia, partly because of the intolerant, sometimes vitriolic, attitude of the local Reformed clergy. (This attitude would later also cause unpleasant disputes about baptism and confirmation of children whose parents where not both Lutherans.) In 1770 the Reformed minister Appeldoorn in Stellenbosch, e.g., reported that several Lutherans had taken part in a Communion service. From this he concluded that they could quite happily exist without a congregation of their own in order to be able to enjoy the means of grace. Protests from the Reformed clergy also cut short the early work of the Moravian missionary Georg Schmidt amongst the Khoi in Genadendal from 1737 to 1744.

In 1741 the Politieke Raad (Political Council, the local government) at the Cape was requested by the Here XVII to determine the number of Lutherans in the settlement. The statistics revealed that there were 509 who confessed the Lutheran faith. On 19 June 1742, 64 Lutherans (57 of whom came from Germany) signed an application to the Governor and Politieke Raad seeking permission to establish a congregation with its own Pastor. From 1742 onwards several requests were forwarded to Amsterdam by the Lutherans (1743, 1751, 1753 and 1778). When the Here VII finally gave the Cape Lutherans their approval on 18 October 1779, the congregation numbered 442 people, of whom some 375 were from Germany; 27 of these were women. Thus despite the unfavourable circumstances involved in practising their own denomination openly, many immigrants clung to their Lutheran heritage. They already had a church building in Strand Street which had been built some time before as a warehouse or barn by the prominent Lutheran Martin Melck and given to the Lutherans in 1774. They also had silver Communion vessels, a small organ and a lectern, the latter having had to be removed after complaints by the Reformed clergy. Melck also donated a site next to the warehouse for building a manse.

No picture exists of the warehouse in its original form. From 1787 to 1792 several changes and additions were made. The sculptor and wood-carver Anton Anreith created the front elevation of the building. Drawings of this striking front elevation by Lady Anne Barnard and John Barrow have been preserved. Anreith also created the figure of King David with his harp on the organ loft as well as the façade of the organ. The centerpiece of all the bigger and smaller sculptures by Anreith (e.g. also the doors to the vestry) is the pulpit which you should study in detail and at leisure.  Anreith also carved the figure of the swan on top of the pulpit, on the lectern and above the entrance door, as well as the memorial plaque for Martin Melck in this church.

The figure of the swan as a symbol in Lutheran churches, on church towers and in Lutheran art in Holland and also in some churches in Northern Germany can be traced back to the legend that the last words of the Czech Reformer John Huss (whose name literally means “goose” in Czech) before he was burnt at the stake in Constance in 1415 were: “You are now going to burn a goose, but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil”, or something to that effect. This prophecy was later understood to have referred to Martin Luther, and was, so I read somewhere, even mentioned in the sermon at his funeral in 1546. Whether this is true or not, I couldn’t ascertain.

Something more about the building history: In Holland the Lutheran churches were not allowed to have a tower and this restriction had also been enforced at the Cape. In 1818 it appeared that the roof of the church building had to be replaced. It was also discovered that the walls had dangerously tilted and the building had to be completely rebuilt.  In this process, from 1818 to 1820, a church tower was added and three bells were hung. As a result nothing of the original, elegant front of the church by Anreith was preserved.

Now back to 1780. The Lutherans at the Cape expressed the wish to call Christiaan Frederik Blettermann who was born in Cape Town, educated at the “Franckesche Stiftungen” in Halle and had studied theology in Leipzig, as their first Pastor. Governor Van Plettenberg would, however, only allow a Dutch-born Pastor to be called. As a result the first Lutheran Pastor, Andreas Lutgerus Kolver, arrived from Rotterdam, Holland on 22 November 1780 and held his inaugural service on 10 December in this building. The language of the services had to be Dutch, but the sermons were allowed to be based on the Augsburg Confession. Like the Lutheran churches in Holland on whom restrictions had been imposed by the Reformed rulers, the church also had no altar and the order of service differed very little from that of the Reformed Church.

The service on 10 December 1780 was a festive occasion, attended by “een ontzaggelyke toevloed van menschen”. At the beginning and the end of the service vocal and instrumental music was performed. A boys’ choir under the direction of the “voorsanger” Johannes Esler (from Sachsen-Eisenach) sang the German Te Deum (Herr Gott, dich loben wir), accompanied by the organ and other musical instruments, as was the congregational hymn singing. Kolver based his sermon on Isaiah 6, verse 8: And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ”Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

(On a personal note: Almost a 185 years later, in the opening service of the first General Synod meeting of UELCSA in Strand Street on 4 March 1965 in which I played the organ, I conducted a combined choir of our Western Cape congregations, which amongst other music, also sang the German Te Deum.)

Back to 1780. The congregants had brought along many different hymnals from their various places of origin. They came from a multitude of bigger and smaller independent duchies, counties, principalities and free cities in the then German empire, as well as from German-speaking territories outside the empire. Most of these had their own hymn-books. The Dessinian Collection in the South African Library in Cape Town holds a number of such hymnals brought along to the Cape by Germans during the eighteenth century, e.g. Hannover (1712), Hanau (1713), Darmstadt (1718), Kursachsen (Dresden 1720), Braunschweig-Lüneburg (1722), Schleswig (1725), Riga and Leipzig (1726), Greifswald (1727), Rostock (1728), as well as the hymnal compiled by Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen (this copy Halle 1718).

One can only imagine the measure of confusion when hymns had to be announced during the services held by Scandinavian chaplains in earlier years. This variety of hymnals was also identified as a problem after 1780. Although the services had to be held in Dutch, the congregation decided to continue singing in German, as had always been the custom. So, in a letter of 1781 to the Lutheran Consistory in Amsterdam it was stated “dat men geen egaale gesangboeken, maar de eene dit en de andere weederom een ander heeft". A uniform hymnal had to be introduced and the Consistory was requested to send 600 copies of the best hymnal in High German recently published. The choice finally fell on the hymnal of the Lutheran cathedral (Dom) in Bremen (Neues Gesangbuch der evangelischlutherischen [sic] Domgemeinde zu Bremen). This hymn-book was used in the congregation for at least 125 years until 1908 when German hymns were still sung from this book in the Dutch morning services.

Dutch services with exclusive German hymn singing were continued until 1830, when the new Dutch Lutheran hymnal of 1826 (Christelijke Gezangen voor de Evang. Luthersche Gemeenten in het Koningrijk der Nederlanden) was adopted to be used alongside the German hymn-book of Bremen. It was, however, decided not to sing in both languages simultaneously. Hymns were to be sung from either the one or the other, according to a fixed order. The organist was instructed to play strictly according to the corresponding organ book (Choralbuch) for the German and Dutch hymns. Now, the Dutch hymn-book contained text and tunes, whereas the Bremen hymn-book contained only text. Soon the organist complained that the diverging versions of the tunes in the German and Dutch organ books caused confusion in the congregation - a problem which has later repeated itself in similar situations in many of our congregations to this very day. But the church council did not budge! - The Dutch hymnal, later with its supplement (Vervolg) of 1850, was used in the morning services for 129 years until 1959.

It is interesting to note that the notorious "language issue", which later plagued so many congregations, seems to have been solved amicably at its first occurrence. But it was to become one of the major issues some 80 years later when the congregation split and the German St. Martini congregation was founded.

If I may briefly digress along this line: As we have seen, Dutch services with German hymn singing were continued as a tradition until at least 1908. English evening services were only introduced in 1889 and Dutch was replaced by Afrikaans in the morning services as late as 1959. This dragging of feet in facing up to the linguistic realities amongst the congregants has been repeated in Lutheran congregations in South Africa ever since.

After the official establishment of the congregation other matters came to the fore. In 1781 the Lutheran and Reformed congregations came to a satisfactory agreement on measures to deal with the poor in Cape Town (“armesorg”). The Politieke Raad in 1784 gave the Lutherans their consent to the founding of a school for reading and writing and the first teacher, Lourens Erzey, was appointed in 1791.

Pastor Kolver died in Cape Town in 1797. His successor, as locum tenens from 1799 to 1800, was Pastor Johannes Haas, formerly chaplain of the Württemberg regiment at the Cape. He preached in German as he did not know enough Dutch.

The Cape had, in 1795, become a British colony. As the King of Great Britain was also the Elector of Hannover, the Governor of the Cape, Sir George Young, in 1799 requested the Lutheran Consistory in Hannover to send a Pastor to the Cape. So, in September 1800 Pastor Christian Heinrich Friedrich Hesse arrived in Cape Town where he served until 1815. He initially preached in German, but soon learned enough Dutch to be able to conduct the services in Dutch, according to what had now with complacency been accepted as usage in the congregation. After his return to Hannover he became Superintendent in Hoya where he died in 1832. With Hesse began the long and fruitful association of the Lutherans at the Cape with the church in Hannover. Apart from his undisputed qualities as a Pastor, Hesse also was an entomologist and botanist of considerable repute. He also played a role at the Cape as an educationist, and was secretary of the school committee and the Bible committee of the colony.

Hesse’s activities in the general cultural life at the Cape were the result of a new atmosphere of religious tolerance at the Cape which was brought about during the brief period under the Batavian Republic (1803-1806) by the Church Order of Commissioner-General Jacob Abraham De Mist of 1804 which stipulated that the Lutherans and all other denominations were to be treated on equal footing with the Reformed Church. The second (and final) British occupation in 1806 perpetuated this new atmosphere of religious tolerance.

A large new organ was installed in 1814. Some of the Strand Street organists played a decisive role in the public musical life of Cape Town, like C.F. Lemming (1814-1817), Wilhelm Brandt (1820-1838), Frederick Logier (1838-1839) and Ludwig Beil (1839-1847). Tempting as this may be, I will not pursue this line of thought today.

Pastor Hesse’s successor was Pastor Friedrich Justus Rudolph Kaufmann, also from Hannover who served from 1817 to 1827. Kaufmann played an important role in the work of the public library which was established in 1818, and of which he was honorary librarian from 1821 until his departure from the Cape. He also assisted his colleague at the Dutch Reformed Groote Kerk, Johann Heinrich Wilhelm von Manger (also a German, born in Detmold and having studied in Utrecht) in compiling the catalogue of the first private book collection that was to be the founding collection of the public library (now the Cape Town branch of the National Library), namely the collection of Joachim Nicolaus von Dessin who had bequeathed his library of almost 4000 books to the Dutch Reformed Church at his death in 1761.

From 1827 to 1864 the congregation was served by Pastor Johan Melchior Kloek van Staveren from Holland. During his tenure the first split in the congregation took place when the second Pastor (from 1836 to 1847) Georg Wilhelm Stegmann who was born at the Cape, and a number of members left the congregation to found the St. Martin congregation and built a church in Long Street in 1853. The reasons for this unfortunate split were, inter alia, the changes he made in the wording of the ministration of Holy Baptism, his strict moral and religious points of view and his involvement in pastoral care of the freed slaves, which ultimately resulted in the formation of the St. Stephen’s church on Riebeeck Square. The St. Martin congregation ceased to exist in 1858. Stegmann was ultimately admitted as Pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1857 and went so serve a congregation in Adelaide in the Eastern Cape. After his departure from Strand Street a certain C.A. Bamberger, also born at the Cape, assisted Pastor Kloek van Staveren for a short time.

Then, in 1851 Pastor Johann Ludolph Parisius from Hanover was appointed as second Pastor, in which capacity he served until 1861. Parisius was a talented theologian and preacher and also had gifts in matters liturgical and musical. Apart from the services in Dutch he also held one German service per month. Furthermore, he couldn’t make peace with the almost Reformed order of service that had been enforced on the congregation in 1780 and was now being defended as their tradition. Added to this was repeated tension between him and the much older Kloek van Staveren. Consequently, Parisius decided to return to Germany. When German members of the congregation heard of his imminent departure they pleaded with him to stay and with them establish a German-language Lutheran congregation in Cape Town. He heeded their plea and the German Evangelical Lutheran St. Martini congregation was founded in 1861. They bought the church building in Long Street which was henceforth called St. Martini-Kirche.

During Parisius’ tenure a teacher and organist from Hannover, Friedrich Clüver, was appointed by the congregation 1859. He had also studied theology and he and Parisius complemented one another with regard to liturgical and musical matters. In 1860 they produced an enlarged edition of Parisius' Dutch school hymnal of 1852 which now also included some English songs. Clüver served as organist and teacher until 1864, when he was ordained in the St. Martini church to become Pastor of the St. Johanniskirche in King Williams Town. This was the beginning of the involvement of the church of Hannover also in the Eastern Cape where Clüver was appointed Ephorus by the church authorities in Hannover.

It seems a pity that extension work by the Strand Street congregation which was started in Parisius’ time, never bore permanent fruit, the reasons for which are difficult to ascertain. The more or less isolated existence of the two Lutheran congregations in Cape Town alongside one another since the founding of the German St. Martini congregation in 1861 - another aspect of the burden of the fragmented Lutheranism planted in South Africa - definitely is one of them.

After the appointment of Pastor Parisius in 1851 an effort was made by Strand Street to serve Lutherans in some “outposts”, namely in Stellenbosch, Wynberg and Worcester. A daughter congregation was established in Stellenbosch in 1852 where services were held every six weeks. A church was built and consecrated in 1854. The Governor of the Cape turned an application for the calling of a Pastor for Stellenbosch down because of a lack of the necessary funds. Services were held by a Strand Street Pastor at irregular intervals and the congregation was finally dissolved in 1936. The church now is an art museum of the University of Stellenbosch.

Also in 1852 a Wynberg branch was established, amongst other reasons to serve Swedish beer brewers who had started working in that area. In 1855 the Governor donated a piece of land for a church which was consecrated in 1863. When the Swedes moved away and few Lutherans were left, the congregation ceased to exists in 1865. The church was later used for services by German Lutherans who established a congregation in 1883, initially served at regular intervals by pastors of St. Martini, Cape Town. The church building was first let to the Germans by Strand Street and subsequently sold to them.

From 1852 onwards services were also held at irregular intervals for the Dutch and German Lutherans in Worcester, but no congregation was formally established. From 1861 onwards services were held by Rhenish missionaries and later by the Pastor of Paarl. The building of a church was commenced in 1882 and a German Lutheran congregation was established in 1883.

Now back to 1861. After Parisius and a number of German congregants had left Strand Street to found the German St. Martini congregation, still in 1861 Willem Frederick Gohl from Holland was appointed as second Pastor and then, after Kloek van Staveren's retirement in 1864, became first Pastor. He served the congregation until 1889 when he was succeeded by Pastor Dr. Johannes Michael Zahn, a Rhenish missionary who was born in South Africa. He served the congregation until 1905. In 1889, when Zahn had become Pastor in Strand Street, English evening services were introduced.

From 1898 to 1902 Pastor Carl Krüger from Germany served as second Pastor. He was succeeded by Pastor Johannes Astrup, the son of a Norwegian missionary in South Africa, who also served until 1905.

Then, in 1905, the congregation called Pastor François Johannes Retief, formerly minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. He served the congregation alone until 1959. It was only after his departure that Afrikaans finally replaced Dutch in the morning services. During his last few years he was assisted by the Dutch Reformed Pastor Danie Malan.

In 1960 Pastor Gustav Adolf Pakendorf, a Berlin missionary, born in South Africa, became Pastor of Strand Street. During his ministry the mission church at Vasco was bought. It became one of the three preaching points of the congregation, next to Strand Street and Wynberg. Strand Street had started conducting English services in a hall in Plumstead. In 1965 the Wynberg St. Johannis congregation approached the Strand Street congregation with the request to have these services in their church. This was an amicable solution for both. Pastor Pakendorf served Strand Street until 1973 and it was during his tenure that the congregation joined the newly established United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (UELCSA) as an independent congregation. The first General Synod of this UELCSA was held in Strand Street in March 1965, the opening service being attended by the then State President C R Swart.  Pastor Pakendorf was, for a number of years, the first chairman of the Liturgical Commission of UELCSA.

In order to complete the picture, I will briefly sketch the further developments up to the present. During Pastor Pakendorf’s tenure an altar table was placed in front of the monumental pulpit and a cross was placed against the wall to the right of the pulpit, additions not altogether visually satisfactory from an artistic point of view, but the best possible solution in cautiously balancing the given historical artistic facts with the liturgical requirements of the Lutheran communion service. 

Hymnals used since 1959 were: At first the Hallelujabundel of the Dutch Reformed Church which was used for a short time until the Afrikaans hymnal of the Berlin Missions Society, Cantate (first published in 1934, revised and enlarged edition 1959), was introduced in 1960. In the English services various hymnals were used, including Church Praise of the Presbyterian Church, until, also in 1960, the Australian Lutheran Hymn-book was introduced. It has since been replaced by Lutheran Worship, the hymnal of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Afrikaans services were discontinued in 1973, re-introduced in 1980, and again discontinued in 1991.

From 1969 to 1974 Pastor Irvin Tweet from America served as second Pastor, until 1973 alongside with Pastor Pakendorf. His successor was Pastor Charles Ellefson, also from America, 1974-1979. Pastor Ellefsen was suceeded in 1980 by Pastor Albert Alfred Brandt, previously of King William's Town, who served until December 1989. In February 1990 Pastor Charlie Huppe, previously of St. Andrew's in East London, succeeded Pastor Brandt. In 1993 Strand Street relinquished its independent membership of UELCSA and joined the Cape Church. A third split in the congregation occurred in July 1993 when Pastor Huppe and a number of members seceded from Strand Street to found a congregation of the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

From 1993 to 1996 the congregation was without a Pastor. During this time Pastor Erich Rust of Wynberg acted as locum tenens and various pastors of the Cape Church assisted. In August 1996 Cyril Tessendorf who grew up in the Eastern Circuit of the Cape Church, was inducted as Pastor of the congregation. He retired in December 2010. His successor, since January 2011, is Pastor Walter Schwär who studied in Pietermaritzburg as well as in Germany.

In conclusion: Strand Street Evangelical Lutheran Church, the mother-church of Lutheranism in Southern Africa, has for historical reasons had to exist in relative isolation for almost 185 years until it was able to become part of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church and later, through its membership of the Cape Church, part of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa. And yet, during its history - longer than the history of any other Lutheran church body in Southern Africa - it has gone through all the growing pains that the other Lutheran congregations of European descent would later have to suffer, be it language, hymn-book or liturgy, indigenization and denominational identity in a predominantly non-Lutheran environment, and political and social responsibility based on the specific Lutheran proprium of the doctrine of two kingdoms.

From its beginnings the Strand Street Lutheran Church has each year towards the end of June with a special festive service celebrated the Augsburg Confession, the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church that was presented at the Diet of Augsburg on 25 June 1530. For many years this special service was. by invitation, also attended by representatives of city, province and sometimes even state. What with the world-wide momentum building up towards the commemoration of Luther’s 95 theses on 31 December 1517, I sometimes wonder - without in any way meaning to detract from the importance of 1517 - whether renewed interest in 1530 and its implications would not be most wholesome for our Lutheran Church in South Africa. – I thank you.

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