Pieces of Our Past
May 2, 2014
Artifact: Wyneken Oil Paintings
Significance: Friedrich Conrad Dietrich Wyneken (b: May 13, 1810; d: May 4, 1876) is often referred to as the “Father of Lutheran Home Missions in America.” While in Germany in 1842, Wyneken wrote Das Noth der deutschen Lutheraner in Nord-Amerika (The Distress of the German Lutherans in North America), which described in great detail the immense need in America for Lutheran pastors. Wyneken’s distress call (Notruf) resounded in the hearts of many pastors and candidates who answered the call to preach the Gospel to the many German Lutherans in America.
About the Paintings: These were painted in Germany in 1842 at the request of Wyneken’s brother, Gustav. The artist is unknown. F. C. D. Wyneken had traveled to his fatherland because he was suffering from a throat ailment and to bring attention to the spiritual plight of German Lutherans in America. It was on this trip that he wrote his distress call. Newly married in 1841, he brought his young wife, Marie Sophie Wilhelmine (Buuck), along. Wyneken was 32 years old when these were painted; Sophie was around 18. Pictured with Sophie is their eldest child, daughter Luise, who was born during this trip on May 23, 1842.
“Dear Brethren: . . . I, a preacher of the church, appeal to your hearts and beg of you with tears: Help your brethren, who are bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, indeed, who are sanctified by the same precious blood, by the same Spirit, by which they and you are sanctified. They are united with you into one holy family, by the same baptism, the same communion, even more closely still than by flesh and blood.”
Opening words of The Distress of the German Lutherans in North America, translated by S. Edgar Schmidt (Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 1982), 17