On October 11, the day after tomorrow, there will be an interesting anniversary for our church body. It is a part of a story of congregations getting together and forming associations to support hospitals and homes for children. It was from the hard work of a Pastor named Buenger and his work happened 153 years ago Sunday.
The association of congregations that was formed to care for the sick was expanded to include a home for childten in 1867 when its charter was filed under the name Lutheran Hospital, Asylum, and Orphange Association of St. Louis. The story of Pastor Buenger’s involvement in the creation of a home for children is told by Henry P. Wind as follows: “One day there came to his home a widower, a member of his congregation, who through adverse circumstances was compelled to leave Saint Louis. There was a minor child and no one to care for him. So the man came to his pastor seeking help. The problem seemed simple to Pastor Buenger. ‘Why,’ he exclaimed, ‘bring the child here. We have lots of room in the parsonage.’ So the child came to live with the pastor’s family. On the day following the child’s arrival an unsigned note was delivered to the parsonage. It read, ‘For the orphanage: Attached was a $5 bill. So the seed was planted. The idea of an orphanage grew quickly. Soon Pastor Buenger was compelled to act, for the news of his kindness had spread and after a few months dependent children occupied every nook and corner of the pastor’s home. With charac-teristic energy Pastor Buenger rented a house and installed an aged couple to take care of the children who soon overflowed this house also. Thus the first orphanage in the Missouri Synod came into being.” The orphanage itself was located on land purchased by St. Paul’s Church of Des Peres in 1867. The cornerstone for the building was laid March 15, 1868. Pastor Buenger preached the sermon. The dedication occurred on Oct. 11.