Christ's Lutheran Church in 1979

Paul Swank conducted services as an interim pastor.

The proposed budget for the year was estimated in January as $41,944.00 ($121,638 in 2006 dollars).

The following is from the Report of Annual Congregational Meeting, on January 26(1):

Unless otherwise indicated in a footnote, excerpts from church records or from The Scroll are cited in Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], Chapter 9. (Close)
Pastor Swank submitted his Pastor's Report verbally. He mentioned that Pastor Kortrey's "shoes were difficult to fill." He described his duties as Vice Pastor. He gave his thanks to the volunteer staff--Elsie Conroy, Joan Donohue, Peggy Johnson and Alice Weider as Editor of The Scroll. Pastor mentioned that the daughter of two of our active members, the Burhans, Vanessa Burhans, now attending Texas Lutheran College, is doing some work, including visitation, for Christ's and Redeemer.…

Magda Moseman, member of the Worship and Music Committee, advised that the committee has a plan for learning the new liturgy.…

The church purchased the green 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship hymnbooks, and the congregation was taught some of the new music. As historian Mark Anderson has pointed out, the music in the Lutheran hymnals had been steadily revised since the 1888 common service book (the Book of Worship, the 1898 edition of which our congregation had acquired more than seven decades earlier), eliminating most of the old Protestant and "gospel" favorites of other sects in favor of old-fashioned Lutheran hymns of Reformation days. The 1958 Service Book and Hymnal, which our congregation had purchased in 1963, had apparently been the apogee of this trend; the book had included many of the harmonizations of J. S. Bach as well as some beautiful plain-song melodies. With this new Lutheran Book of Worship, there was something of a reversal. Almost all of the Bach works were eliminated, and there were more works from early nondenominational American hymnals, folk-influenced songs, and "modern" harmonizations of many of the old favorites. The publication was also part of the new movement to use "inclusive" language, in hopes of eliminating confusion regarding gender.

Anderson illustrated the fascinating history of this newest hymnal's publication(2):

Quoted in ibid., pp. 158-60, citing Schalk, Carl, God's Song in a New Land: Lutheran Hymnals in America [St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995], p. 177. (Close)
The work was begun by the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (LC-MS), a synod that has historically been antagonistic toward the synods that Christ's Church has been affiliated with. The LC-MS invited the other Lutheran synods to participate in the preparation of this book. It was a time in American Lutheran church history when it seemed as though a unification of all the disparate Lutheran churches in the United States might be within reach, and work on a major new book of worship was seen as a possible major step in that direction. Ironically, once the work was finished, the ardor of the Missourians for fellowship had once again cooled, and they withdrew their support for the book.… [This book] contains 520 hymns, canticles, and chants, three settings of the communion liturgy, and an emphasis on baptism and congregational singing of the psalms. The hymnody
included a significant number of hymns from that normative core of Reformation hymnody, and… for the first time in American Lutheranism… provided an official place for the Hymn of the Day in the Eucharistic liturgy.
As with all the previous hymnals, the editors and promoters would have us believe that we are becoming more authentically Lutheran, in the pattern of the Reformation and of that great patriarch of American Lutheranism, Henry Muhlenberg:
The services of The Lutheran Book of Worship embody the tradition of worship which received its characteristic shape during the early centuries… and was reaffirmed during the Reformation era. As such, they are an emblem of the continuity with the whole Church and of particular unity with Lutherans throughout the world. At the same time, the services are adaptable to various circumstances and situations. Freedom and flexibility in worship is a Lutheran inheritance, and there is room for ample variety in ceremony, music, and liturgical form.

Having considered their resources and their customs, congregations will find their own balance between fully using the ritual and music possibilities of the liturgy, and a more modest practice. A full service should not allow secondary ceremonies to eclipse central elements of the liturgy, nor should a simple service omit essential or important parts. Every service, whether elaborate or spare, sung or said, should be within the framework of the common rite of the Church, so that the integrity of the rite is always respected and maintained.(3)

Ibid., citing the Lutheran Book of Worship, p. 8. (Close)

[ Historic pipe organ ] Barbara Pickhardt had pointed out the previous December that the accompaniments in the new hymnal were all pitched lower than they had been in the book it was replacing, the Service Book and Hymnal, and that this would make the music easier for ordinary people to sing. She had not mentioned that our organ, in its high tuning, rather than the hymnal, was probably the culprit and that the new accompaniments would thereby offset the difficulties. Our congregation had been adjusting itself to the pipe organ it had obtained 8 years before (click the picture to enlarge it), originally built in 1885 by Hook & Hastings for the Baptist Church of Hopkinton, NH. According to historian Anderson(4):

Ibid., p. 156. (Close)
The Hook and Hastings organ is almost perfectly matched to the acoustic and architectural space of the church building. It is a small, single manual (keyboard), and pedalboard instrument, with a tracker action (direct mechanical linkage), and with a limited number of stops. It was built in Boston in 1885, just ten years prior to the dedication of Christ's Church.
Our Hook and Hastings organ has been placed on the register of historic American pipe organs. Unfortunately, however, there had been a problem. Here is an excerpt from the November issue of The Scroll:
Over the years and even in the beginning, we were a little disappointed in that we felt the organ was capable of producing better results than we were getting. We had great difficulty in finding competent tuners.
According to Anderson:
What was not known when the organ was purchased… was that the instrument is pitched nearly a half tone higher than standard tuning. It is not possible to add lengths to pipes and so it will always remain at that high pitch. This can be a challenge for tenors trying to sing high parts! It was also quickly learned that wind instruments (clarinets, trumpet, oboes, etc.) could not tune high enough to play with the organ.(5) Ibid. (Close)
Here is more from the November Scroll:

We finally came to the point where something had to be done! Contacts had been made and we had one estimate, when the article appeared about Archie Marchie in the Sunday Freeman. He was contacted, thoroughly examined the organ, gave us his estimate, references, presented the proposal to the council and you know the rest!

This repair and reworking of the organ brought the instrument as closely as possible at this time to its original tonal quality. This work has been dedicated to Victor Lasher to commemorate his faithful, lifelong service to Christ's Lutheran Church.

The Worship and Music Committee was especially proud to invite all members and friends to our organ rededication on Sunday, November 4th.
Magda Moseman, Chairman

The organ was tuned, but it was still a half tone higher than standard tuning ("its original tonal quality"). According to Anderson(6), Ibid., pp. 156-57. (Close)
[It] was discovered that many wind instruments of the nineteenth-century American bands were also made to play in this high tuning. There is speculation that the organist and music director of the church in New Hampshire may also have been the local bandmaster (every New England town had its own brass band in those days), and so he may have specified the high tuning to Hook and Hastings, knowing that he would then be able to use his band members in church.

[ French horn ] [ Cornets ]

Serendipitously, a number of these kinds of instruments--three cornets and a french horn--came into my hands. [From then on] we have been able to use some of the considerable literature that is available for the combination of organ and brass instruments.

In August, Douglas H. Strachan became the new official pastor.

Miss Lydia Russell celebrated her 100th birthday.

The Seedling Play Group conducted their licensed all-day child-care program in the parsonage. (Pastor Strachan and his family used a house rented for them in Zena.)

There was a large and active Sunday School and a children's choir.

The youth group (20 people) took a trip to Philadelphia.

Mark Anderson was appointed building inspector for the Town of Woodstock.

The Woodstock Region in 1979

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The United States in 1979

[ Jimmy Carter ]

Jimmy Carter (Democrat) was President. The newly elected 96th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $2.90 in 2006 for most consumable products.

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The World at Large in 1979

Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti, 42, with U.S. approval, seized power in Iraq, changing its Cold War allegiance from the Soviet Union to the U.S.

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