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New Book Traces Lutheran Parochial School History

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is pleased to announce the availability of a new book, “The Lutheran Parochial School: Dates, Documents, Events, People,” written by former Concordia Seminary professor Dr. Wayne E. Schmidt. The book is the latest publication in Concordia Seminary Publications Monograph Series. Beginning with Martin Luther’s 1524 publication, “To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools,” Schmidt traces the history and development of the Lutheran parochial school.

Schmidt states that the purpose of the book is, “to provide a framework within which to view the history of the Lutheran Christian day school in the United States…The story of these schools is a small but not unimportant part of both American Lutheran church history and American educational history and for that reason worthy of being chronicled” (p. 449).

The book was a work-in-progress when Schmidt, a professor of practical theology and Seminary carillonneur at Concordia Seminary, died suddenly on June 6, 2000. His widow, Bonnie Schmidt, oversaw the final editing of the book.

Many of the source documents used by Schmidt exist only in the German language and were translated by him for use in this book. The Concordia Seminary, St. Louis library, the Concordia Historical Institute archives and the archival collection of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod served as the major sources for the primary documents used in writing the book.

In the book’s preface, Schmidt expresses the vision he had for his work as “a resource for college and seminary courses in the history of Lutheran education and American Lutheranism. Those who are preparing themselves for professional service in Lutheran church bodies which maintain parochial schools should be able to use the book with profit in order to gain an understanding of the origin and purposes of such schools. In-service Lutheran teachers, administrators, and parish pastors may also find the book instructive and informative. And, finally, it is hoped that ‘The Lutheran Parochial School’ will serve other readers who might have an interest in the history which lies behind today’s full-time Lutheran elementary and secondary schools in the United States. A knowledge of that history is not without its own worth and the study of it can be fascinating besides” (p. 16).

The 466-page, hardbound volume costs $16.95 (plus shipping and handling) and is available from the Concordia Seminary bookstore. For information, call 314-505-7315;