The following was shared by a fellow WELS pastor:
For those appreciative of history, we have over 100 years of St. John’s monthly newsletter. I read through a few to see what went on here in Minneapolis during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. I pasted the whole announcement for October 1918 and then a partial for November 1918. This hasn’t been enjoyable to cancel in person worship. I learned this wasn’t the first time here. Again, prayers for all of you and your people that you’re able to the use the gifts to you and your congregations to faithfully and clearly proclaim the gospel.
Der St. Johannes Bote
Terrible times. May God preserve our people from the terrible scourge of Spanish influenza. Thus far we have only three reported cases in our midst, viz. Mrs. H Festin, Mr. H Sandhoff and Miss Tilly Kircher. All have improved.
For two Sundays, we have had no divine services in our church. How empty and dead those two Sabbaths appeared. Let us hope that next Sunday (October 27) the ban will be lifted.
As to the service for the coming Sunday we are unable to make any definite announcement. In the Saturday’s Tribune and Journal church advertisement section you will find our announcement for the coming Sunday. It is too early at the time of this writing to state definitely our course of action.
The partial lifting of the ban with restrictions looked good at first sight. However, on closer inspection it was found to be difficult to carry out. Only every other pew could be used and then only half of the one taken possession of. One-half of our seating capacity would be 250, and again one-half of that 125. With an average attendance of 300 people this would mean that 175 individuals would either have to be unceremoniously escorted out of the church, or else not permitted to enter it at all, when the full quota of 125 were seated. Besides the influenza danger was a little better than the Sunday previous. It was mostly a Roman pressure demanding its presumed right from the Board of Health. St. John’s church council after viewing the situation from every angle decided to show obedience to law and hence kept its church doors closed.
And now the school board has started to wrangle with the health board. If we were only permitted to look behind the scenes would we be able to detect any selfish, hateful, or political motives? We wonder if Deutsch, the Christian Scientist, is a fair spokesman for the health of the children?
If the school board were composed of men of German extraction and such a fuss were started, what would happen to the school board? We have a dollar which we are willing to offer for a safe bet.
On Saturday, October, the children’s confirmation class will meet again. We are able to seat them according to the law. There is a yet time for newcomers to enter. Send your children aged 12-15, to the church basement Saturday, 2 p.m.
While the church doors have been closed for two Sundays and the expenses to uphold the church went on. Kindly bring back envelopes with you for the first service. The treasurer will soon need more funds.
The mission offering received on the festival day totaled $150.93. How many envelopes will be forthcoming ye? It is never too late.
Remember, please, on the second Sunday in November, being the 10th day of the month, our “drive” for the Lutheran Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Fund is on. We would rather have had it on a Sunday with German and English service, but the Reverend Mr. Kumnick has arranged to be here on a Sunday with two English services. The home pastor will preach the morning’s English sermon and Henry H. Kumnick, chaplain at the Great Lakes, will preach the afternoon’s English sermon. You ought to be there for both services.
Tuesday evening following this great “drive” this same chaplain, Reverend Mr. Kumnick will give an illustrated lecture with slides in our church auditorium. Entrance free to all. We expect you to put a liberal offering in you’re your envelope. Our collection ought to run far over the one thousand mark. So you can leave your purse at home when you come to view the moving picture slides November 12, 8 p.m.
Please do not forget to designate your fourth liberty loan purchase on the special envelope. If you have bought none, say so by filling in the space with the word “none.” If you have purchased one or more, write so either in putting in the figure in so and so many dollars or the amount of bonds bought.
The reason why this issue contains no German ought to be obvious after a slight perusal of its contents. In the next issue we will offer the more the other way.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Jones, nee Mathilda Grotefend on October 17, a girl.
Reformation festival will be celebrated on the first Sunday in November.
Gladness and thanksgiving everywhere.
Come to God’s house Thanksgiving day (November 28) and help us celebrate a real thanksgiving. English service at 10:30 a.m.
Did you miss anything during the five weeks’ close-up order? How barren and dreary the Sundays without worship.
Just how many of our people had a touch of influenza we are unable to say. Probably some had it and didn’t even know it.
Also Mr. Gorder, our St. Jon’s treasurer, somehow got in the way of the “flu” and was humbled physically for some time. Incidentally the St. John’s treasury, too, became contaminated with the germ. It got a terrible siege. In fact it sneezed out everything the treasury had and then some more. The indebtedness ran close to $200.