It was common in Germany in the 19th century to give people two or three Christian names but to call them by their 2nd or 3rd names. Thus, we have Wilhelm Loehe. Why? I’m not sure. I know it made researching the history of Holy Cross, Collinsville more difficult. One had to carefully look at baptism, confirmation, marriage and death lists to match up names. And women were rarely called by their first names, even in the minutes of the women’s groups, but by Mrs. —-. Notice the stain glass windows of the church.
Wilhelm Loehe proves that a person can have profound effect on the world even from a very small location. Once he became pastor in Neuendettelsau he never moved. It a long time to get through the established system of pastoral training in Germany. He saw the critical need for workers in the new world and did his own training.
Loehe founded the Neuendettelsau Foreign Mission Society where he trained and sent pastors, to North America, Australia, Brazil, New Guinea and the Ukraine. He founded a deaconess training house and homes for the aged. He helped establish a seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana and a teacher’s college in Saginaw, Michigan.
The first four pastors at Holy Cross, Collinsville, Il, from 1848 to 1900, were trained by Loehe. The chapel at Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa is named in his honor. His name is on the wall of the library of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, along with one of his students, Frederick Lochner, first pastor at Holy Cross.
He developed a service in which catechumens were questioned weekly on Luther’s Small Catechism. Holy Cross, Collinsville used the service until the early 20th century. The service of Prayer and Preaching in LSB, pp. 260-267, follows the same pattern.
He died in 1872, having had a significant impact on the church worldwide.