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Daniel Schumacher: First Lutheran Pastor in Canada – Almost

Terrence M. Punch, D.Litt.

One of the more educated and promising of John Dick's recruits was a 22-year-old “Candidate in Theology” from Hamburg. . . . A probationer minister, one step away from final examination and ordination, Daniel Schumacher . . . was living alone in the North suburbs. . . . German Lutherans – hungry for church services in their own language – gathered in a dwelling to hear him preach. Subsequently, however, his career took a bizarre course.

Schumacher was among those who founded Lunenburg in June 1753, but he stayed there only long enough to receive his town lot. . . . Shortly thereafter, he returned to Halifax, where he married Catharina Hown on 13 July 1753. Unhappy with both Halifax and Lunenburg, Schumacher left the new colony and turned up eight months later – without Catharina – in Philadelphia. . . . He presented credentials from the Lutheran pastor in New York and from the Hamburg Synod. Mühlenberg had reservations, but needed a supply minister. . . . . .

As Schumacher's past was revealed, partly by Germans who had come from Nova Scotia, . . . that Schumacher had “deserted his wife . . . [in Halifax. Schumacher] himself admitted this, and gave as his reason . . . that he was persuaded to marry her while he was under influence of liquor and that he could not live with her because of her homely appearance. And it is sadder that he continues . . . when it comes to drunkenness.” . . .

Schumacher never was ordained. Embittered against the Pennsylvania Lutheran Synod, he continued to hold services and baptisms as an independent preacher. Despite his poor start in the New World, he became a talented and intelligent speaker. . . .

 

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