President Harrison to Preach at 175th Anniversary of Zion, Bensenville, Illinois

President Matthew Harrison will be preaching at the 175th anniversay celebration of Zion Lutheran Church in Bensenville, Illinois this Sunday afternoon.

Zion is a confessional church and school in the western suburbs of Chicago and is pastored by The Rev. Stephen Heuser. Congratulations to all our BJS readers at Zion, Bensenville!

Adult Bible Class 9:20 AM
Sunday School 9:15 AM
Divine Service 8:00 & 10:30 AM
175th Anniversary Service 3:00 PM
    LCMS President Matthew Harrison guest preacher
175th Annivesary Reception approx. 5:00 PM

Here is the 175th anniversary service:


Zion Lutheran Church is a founding church of Walther Lutheran High School, and Zion-Concord grade school is a feeder school to Walther.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


President Harrison to Preach at 175th Anniversary of Zion, Bensenville, Illinois — 24 Comments

  1. The historian in me wonders……By my math that was founded in 1837. Martin Stephan and his followers, what ultimately became the LCMS set sail in 1838 and landed in Jan 1839 if I have it right.

    So what lutheran body did this church belong to before it joined the LCMS and when did it join ?

  2. In addition to Northern Illinois’s Zion Lutheran Church, Bensenville, Illinois, founded in 1837, there are also these LCMS churches founded before 1839 (according to Wikipedia):

    Atlantic District:
    1664 – Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saint Matthew, Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York (Oldest congregation in the Missouri Synod and in North America. In 1750, Rev. Henry Melchoir Muhlenburg became pastor and helped found the New York Ministerium. In 1885, St. Matthew left the New York Ministerium to join the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other States – the LCMS.)
    1838 – Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Albany, New York

    Southeastern District:
    1772 – Bethany-Trinity Lutheran Church, Waynesboro, Virginia
    1798 – Saint John’s Lutheran Church, Conover, North Carolina
    1825 – Saint Peter Lutheran Church, Conover, North Carolina

    Eastern District:
    1833 – Trinity Lutheran Church, Silver Creek, New York
    1835 – Saint Luke Lutheran Church, Cabot, Pennsylvania
    1837 – First Trinity Lutheran Church, Shadyside, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Indiana District:
    1837 – Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana
    1838 – Saint John Lutheran Church, Seymour, Indiana
    1838 – Zion-Friedheim Lutheran Church, Decatur, Indiana

    Ohio District:
    1838 – Saint John’s Lutheran Church, Marysville, Ohio

  3. There’s also –

    Central Illinois District:
    1837 – Saint John Lutheran Church, Quincy, Illinois

  4. This Sunday afternoon, at 4 p.m., the Reverend Dr. Scott Murray, Fifth Vice-President of Synod, will give the sermon at an anniversary celebration of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Kilgore, Texas. Pilgrim is not nearly so grand as Zion but it was founded only 60 years ago, (on rockier soil, I think).

    It has clung and survived, and even spun off two ‘daughter’ congregations in adjacent towns, giving up some of its membership to them each time. This summer Pilgrim undertook an extensive renovation. [I understand the finishing touches are being applied as I write this Saturday after noon. Is n’t that always what happens with big events?] 🙂

    God bless those who rejoice and give glory to God at both observances!

  5. St. Paul’s. Edna, Texas. has its Centennial (as did my miniature flock earlier this year).

    Arch-Bishop Harrison preached.

    Great stuff. I do believe we are on a path to greatness, despite our nay-sayers.

  6. There were also rumors that Pontiff Harrison or Patriarch Harrison or maybe Primate Harrison preached at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Edna, TX.

    But a quick check in the Texas Messenger determined that actually, just as planned for Zion Lutheran Church in Bensenville, IL, it was President Matthew Harrison of the Missouri Synod who preached there.

    The last Missouri Saxon Lutheran Arch-Bishop in Missouri was deposed and rowed across the Mississippi River to exile in Illinois eight years before the Missouri Synod was founded in 1847.

  7. @jb #6
    St. Paul’s. Edna, Texas. has its Centennial (as did my miniature flock earlier this year).

    I would like to have accepted the invitation to Edna, but I wasn’t driving just then, if I remember correctly. St. Paul was a place I was fond of attending whenever I had the opportunity. 🙂

    Yes, Carl, but before throwing too many rocks at episcopal structure, we should pause to remember that the Saxons did agree to have it, and but for delinquency might have it still. [If I hadn’t lived through the last 20+ years in Texas, I’d wonder what possessed those people and pastors!]

  8. Which structure we utilize is not mandated by Scripture. (Neither is becoming a Republican or Democratic…)

    What our current structure has allowed our beloved synod to become over the past few decades shows that congregational is not necessarily better than episcopal. Not to mention the two foxes and the hen voting on what to have for supper…

  9. @helen #8: “we should pause to remember that the Saxons did agree to have it, and but for delinquency might have it still.”

    It wasn’t Stephan’s “deliquency” that cause the Saxon Lutherans in Missouri to recognize the perils of a Stephanite episcopacy. As C.F.W. Walther noted at the Altenburg Debate:

    “But although many with me handled with great unfaithfulness the light which was granted to us, yet God did not cease to cause ever more beams of truth to fall into our darkness; to tear us away from many a point which we, in our perverseness, sought to hold; to uncover to us great and perilous injuries, and to lead our hearts more and more in the way of truth.”

    As for wondering what would possess the Saxons to initially agree to have an episcopal structure (and come to America), one should recall William Cowper’s hymn (LSB#765, TLH#514, LW#426, LBW#483, ELH#434, CW#420), based on Romans 11:33.

  10. Strickert –

    You have your agenda – all well and good. Gerhard would argue with your legalism strenuously, were he present to do so.

    There is NO prescribed “authority” in the Church, in Scripture – but that of Shepherd, and there is no prescription of Scripture that puts the sheep in charge of the Shepherd.

    That ought to get you going, I know 🙂 . . .

    But despite your erudition, your word is neither the first nor the last on the matter, but merely one opinion among many. While the sainted Dr. Walther was worth his weight in gold to the LCMS, he was no more infallible than the Papacy he, and the rest of us, rightly denounce. Nor was Vehse any model, since he sought to somehow allow Confessional Lutherans to settle in America on his quite false view of democracy.

    His advice was practical in intent, I grant , but it was not binding Scripturally, since Divine Writ simply does not prescribe, beyond the episcopal model (not binding), any other format. Any attempt to minimize the Holy Ministry, in whatever form not prohibited by Scripture, is injurious to the Holy Office of Jesus!

    You appear on many sites and say many things, and I am not at all sure you have thought through all you say – erring on the side of the Gospel as should you , and as I was well taught to do by one of the best Waltherians to have ever lived.

    How the Church organizes itself is pure adiaphora – or – you have chosen to replace said Christian freedom with your demand to adhere to one particular position, and none other.

    Most simply put, you have neither the right, nor the authority, to demand such of a single soul. Period. You will continue to do so, I understand, but you do so at your own peril.

    I really have no dog in your hunt. I defend neither Luther nor Walther. That is not my given task, nor is it yours. We are to defend the Lord Jesus Christ. Luther and Walther happen to agree.

    All the best in Jesus . . .

  11. Post #10 provided a quote from C.F.W. Walther referring to God’s “beams of truth” uncovering the “great and perilous injuries” of the Stephanite episcopacy. In his rambling Post #11, “jb” states the obvious, that Walther was not infallible, but jb does not indicate if he considers Walther’s statement in #10 as erroneous.

    jb’s post also violates the 8th commandment with his false accusations against Dr. Vehse.

    Near the end of his post #11, jb claims, “I really have no dog in your hunt.”

    That is another false statement since one can see that jb let his dog cover over half of his Post #11 with ad hominem deposits.

  12. Rick . . . do me, and your bile duct a favor.

    Just be a good pope in your own mind . . .

    And condemn me to hell quickly. Be done with it, ok? 🙂

    For the record, you have raised “ad hominem” to an art form, so I guess you would know exactly what anyone was/is saying. I shall request the Lord grant me the clairvoyance you possess.


  13. jb,

    You need to scoop up the lies about Dr. Vehse and your dog’s ad hominem mess before posting your own inanities about someone’s bile duct on this Bensenville anniversary thread.

  14. Mr. Strickert,

    My Good Man –

    My words stand as written. Vehse’s view was of “democracy” – NOT a constitutional republic which we truly are (so he was demonstrably wrong!), and to insert “mob rule” into the Church as he advised Walther to do was neither his place nor task to do.

    Stifle the “ad hominem” bit . . . it is tiresome, and given your penchant for it at most every turn, rather hypocritical. You are correct, however, regarding “my dog.” I actually have three, but none of them want to go hunting with you.

    Nor do I. I do wish peace upon your soul, my man.

    😉 jb

  15. I remember going to many services as a young boy at Zion. The pastor was the Rev. Tyrus Miles, a wonderful leader and servant.

  16. @jb #15: My words stand as written. Vehse’s view was of “democracy” – NOT a constitutional republic which we truly are (so he was demonstrably wrong!), and to insert “mob rule” into the Church as he advised Walther to do was neither his place nor task to do.


    If you stand by your public accusations against Dr. Vehse, then provide the evidence to support those accusations! As Luther stated:

    “False witness, then, is everything which cannot be properly proved. Therefore, what is not manifest upon sufficient evidence no one shall make public or declare for truth.”

    Furthermore, I will show here why your latest claim is also a falsehood, so that other BJS readers are not misled by your words.

    First, it was not Dr. Vehse, but Wilhelm Loehe who, in 1849, referred to the Missouri Synod polity Walther had established as “American mob rule” (amerikanische Poebelherrschaft). Vehse had left Missouri a decade earlier.

    Second, in his Protest document, and in his entire book, Dr. Vehse does not refer to “democracy” or “democratic” rule for the Church.

    Third, Dr. Vehse was very well placed in his tasks among the Missouri Saxons. Vehse was probably the most educated layman among the Saxons, and as a member of the Gesellshaft he had been given the responsibility of assembling the library and archives the Saxons were taking with them to America.

    Fourth, after Stephan was deposed, Vehse was one of those elected to a newly created St. Louis Administrative Board to represent and act for those Saxons still in St. Louis.

    Fifth, it was the clergy’s demand that they retain the Stephanite episcopacy of control in both secular and ecclesiastical affairs of the Saxons that led to the resignation of Vehse, Fischer, and Jaeckel from the Board and their study of the writings of Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, Martin Luther and other Lutheran theologians concerning the rights and responsibilities of a congregation.

    Sixth, it was Walther who stated in 1848:

    “Thus we see that the apostles did not at all claim any dominion over the congregation. Even in the most important church councils they granted the so-called laymen just as much right, just as much seat and deciding vote as themselves.”

    “To be sure, there are matters which the Word of God does not regulate, but which must be arranged in the church; but all such matters are not to be arranged by any power above the congregation, but the congregation, that is, pastors and hearers, arranges them, free of every compulsion, as it is necessary and appears salutary.”

    “In our Evangelical Lutheran Church, however, we must preach to our congregations that the choice of the form of government for a church is an inalienable part of their Christian liberty and that Christians as members of the church are subject to no power in the world except the clear Word of the living God.”

    Since you use a pseudonym, jb, it is only your words that have weight on this list. If they are to have any value, substantiate your accusing words against Dr. Vehse! Or, as Luther noted, “Ah, indeed, do you smell the roast?” 😉

  17. The Rev. J. Jeffrey Baxter
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
    Palacios, TX

    Uh . . last . . . first . . .

    Richard – do you really want to discuss “pseudonyms?” I mean really? My nickname is not false, Carl Richard Vehse Stricket – yours is. But I digress. I mean, I do not go online borrowing someone else’s name (as do you) as my “handle.” My flock calls me “jb” – my friends and family know me as “jb” – I mean – where in God’s name or your own mind do you get off telling me I am using my own name as a “pseudonym?” Are you daft?

    Now, were you as observant or as conversant as you imagine yourself to be, you would know that about me – I have been “jb” since I was 8 (1961), so I beg your forgiveness for my being myself. I know that is quite incovenient to your final point (which I am sure you thought quite conclusive, however wrong!), but I trust you will gracefully grant that fact, and stop your silly ad hominem on that count. That was totally unwarranted on your part, although I am happy to grant you grace on that count.

    In the very words of Walther you quoted, you proved precisely what I said, and others have said, in response to your postings. Walther either agreed with Gerhard (which he did and I learned first year in Sem), or Walther was wrong.

    My friend, I have yet to see, in a single one of your postings, anything of the Gospel, but only your accusations against some perceived (on your part always) wrong that seems not so much against the Church . . .

    But against you.

    Clue . . . Find a new target, because I come with serious barbs attached.

    If you think different, then hustle your posterior down here to my joint – 1206 4th, in the beautiful bay side city of Palacios. I’ll get my CC to gather our clan of orthodox pastors together (Yeah – a whole circuit full of us confessional creatures), and we can have us a good old roundtable where everyone is clearly identified, seen, and one has to pull out conclusive proof, rather than tossing comments around online like so much flotsam and jetsam.

    No skin off my back, Dude. You good for November? I want my flock to hear it all too, so I need to make plans.

    Let me know . . . jb

  18. Rev. Baxter,

    While declaring C.F.W. Walther “no more infallible than the Papacy” you have not indicated whether you considered Walther’s statement in this post to be erroneous.

    Contrary to the LC, you have not provided evidence to support your public accusations against Dr. Vehse made in your Post #11.

    And the excerpts from his 1848 Presidential Address show that, rather than Vehse, it was the Missouri Synod polity as described by Walther that brought on Wilhelm Loehe’s accusation of the Missouri Synod as “American mob rule” (amerikanische Poebelherrschaft).

    It is also puzzling why you continue to spit and sputter ad hominems (or letting one of your dogs deposit them) and then spit and sputter some more when such behavior is pointed out to you. All your splatter is irrelevant to the claims in my earlier posts:

    1. in Post #7 that President Matthew Harrison of the Missouri Synod preached in Edna, and will be preaching in Bensenville;

    2. the last Missouri Saxon Lutheran Arch-Bishop in Missouri was deposed and rowed across the Mississippi River to exile in Illinois eight years before the Missouri Synod was founded in 1847;

    3. And in Posts #10 and #12 the quote from C.F.W. Walther, referring to God’s “beams of truth” uncovering the “great and perilous injuries” of the Stephanite episcopacy.

    On top of all this, you now announce to the internet world that you are a pastor. And now the whole world can google, read, and conclude that your posts are the way a called and ordained servant of the Word in the Evangelical Lutheran Church behaves in public.

    This most certainly is not the way a Lutheran pastor should behave. It was not the way the Lutheran pastor I grew up with ever behaved. It was not the way his father and brothers who were pastors ever behaved.

  19. Let me tell you something, Bubba –

    Besides being daft, which I would have thought you caught, you ramble on . . . and on . . . and on . . . ok . . .

    You don’t know squat about being a pastor – a seelsorger. You live in a pretend world of your own making and every pastor reading this knows you live in a pretend world.

    I have invited you to come down to my joint, where I will gather not only my flock (I really want them to hear you say what you have to say!). along with the brethren of the Circuit, and, as I think of it, a goodly number of LCMS theologians that I know.

    November works for me . . . if you’d like to make it an Advent event, I can work with that. I am really easy to please. My Head Elder and his wife still have, and occasionally employ, their former #1 in America Bed and Breakfast for our guests. You and your Bride are most welcome to enjoy what would probably be one of your better weekends home away from home.

    I will treat you to a confessional, thoroughly Lutheran sermon (I can infuse it with any number of Waltherian quotes for your pleasure). Then, you can state your case, up front and to the point – mano-a-mano . . . to all the brethren and laity involved and listening.

    Up for it? Or are you just all about your keyboard? Because I guarantee you a hearing here. I guarantee you a hearing, Strickert. I am calling you out, as St, Paul would do in a heartbeat. I will personally pay your expenses to get down here to prove what you say.

    Bring it on Bubba. I love a challenge

    Or . . . go find a new target.

    jb (my name) . . . (what’s yours?)

  20. As an aside . . .

    My Brother Genius Whom-ever-you-are-by-whatever-name – Are you able to get over the dogs?

    Sheesh! I am beginning to think you are scatological in your thinking.

    I did not announce my presence as a Pastor online by your account. You give yourself credit where you have earned none. My miniature flock might not be much compared to others, nor does what I do (obviously) in your sight amount to much (which speaks volumes) (but then again, what do you really know about me? Very little of anything – unlike you, I take no offense).

    My presence online was well established before I ever tangled with you, so please, disabuse yourself of that notion. 2002 I was here, so this is a late date.

    Your opinion(s) abound on every Lutheran site I visit. I read what you write and wonder, truly, if the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, the One who gives us His Body and Blood at the Altar, is in your lectionary. Erring on the side of grace I would say so, but you seem adamant to prove otherwise. You simply want to be “right.”

    Okay, Richard Karl Vehse Strickert is right ALWAYS and Amen . . .

    Does that satisfy your ego? Let me know if I need to say more to satisfy you.

    You servant in XP

    jb (my real name) Will you come out from your shallow cover, or do I need to send my dogs over to chase you out?

    Just asking . . . kinda kidding, but I realize “kidding” ain’t in your lectionary, either.

    However -Pax


  21. @jb #21

    Please calm down, jb! If you’re of ’61 vintage, you ought to begin worrying about your blood pressure!

    As for rambling, IMHO, you are both rather long winded (and off topic) here. I occasionally tease Dr. Strickert about Missouri’s narrow escape from episcopal polity, [I was born in Loehe “sendling” country and what became the ALC, besides.] so if I accidentally initiated this exchange, (#8) I apologize to you two and everyone reading.

    About accuracy, there is nothing wrong with being right, if you are right. Dr. Strickert has a talent for turning up a variety of facts, usually with citation. 🙂

    [Pastor Baxter, I hope you are not suggesting that Rick Strickert is a pseudonym, too!]

  22. “Let me tell you something, Bubba”… “Besides being daft”… “you can state your case, up front”… “mano-a-mano”… “Sheesh!

    Rev. Baxter,

    All of this you spout to avoid providing an answer about Walther’s statement and substantiation of your accusations against Dr. Vehse?!?

    As for your invective-laden invitation, analogous to a KKK invitation to a Negro in the 1920s to join them in a lynching party, I’ll pass.

    Since you claim to have read what I’ve written, there’s no need to repeat it, nor to repeat the excerpts I have posted from books by C.F.W. Walther, Walter Forster, Carl Eduard Vehse, and others.

    These excerpts describe the history and Lutheran understanding of church and ministry (and polity), expressed among the Missouri Saxons, in the founding of the Missouri Synod, and with the decisions to become LCMS members by churches such as St. Paul, Our Redeemer, and Zion, celebrating their centennial or dodransbicentennial anniversaries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.