Image from page 131 of "History of the Alleghany Evangelical Lutheran synod of Pennsylvania, together with a topical handbook of the Evangelical Lutheran church, its ancestry, origin and development" (1918)

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg was a German Lutheran missionary during the colonial period. He is often considered the patriarch of the American Lutheran Church. He was known for his preaching in Pennsylvania all the way down to Georgia. His is a story of devotion and dedication to sharing the Gospel.

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg was born in 1711 in Germany. He was ordained in 1739 and in 1742 was sent by a request from German Lutherans in America who were in need of a pastor. He arrived first in Charleston, South Carolina on Sept 22. In his journals he writes a funny anecdote about trying to make his way to Philadelphia where he was called to pastor. He wanted a ship but was told the it was too dangerous. In response he wrote that “God was well able to preserve me on a little ship and, even if I were to swim there on a plank, his hand would not be shortened. Then I went back home again, considered that I was called, not to Charleston or Georgia but to Pennsylvania.”1 Muhlenberg did make it to Pennsylvania where he eventually helped found The Ministerium of Pennsylvania in 1748. It became the first permanent Lutheran synod in the Americas. Throughout his 45 years of ministry Muhlenberg worked with other Christian traditions and even preach to Dutch, Swedish and English congregations in their natives tongues. He died in 1787. His son Peter was a general during the Revolutionary War and become a US congressman. His son Frederick become the first Speaker of the House in the US Congress. And his son Henry jr. became a pastor.

The Reverend Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, was a true man of God. He helped found the American Lutheran church and preached the Gospel to all who would hear. We commemorate Henry Melchior Muhlenberg on Oct 7th.

Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your Servant Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock; and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life, we my by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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