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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Work of Your Synod 1929

One of the historical professors at Concordia Seminary found this document in some of his research and sent it to me. (Thanks Gerry!) The document shows some striking similarities between the Synod of 1929 and of today; as well as some differences -- some perhaps due to the age and some perhaps due to changing priorities and or piety. In any case, take a look at the images below. Some of the images will be captioned with highlights from the page. Enjoy!

FYI: President Fredrick Pfotenhauer, the last German born president and one of my favorites, was Synodical President in 1929.

The Synod was no doubt "missional" with some 902 church workers in the mission field -- 730 were ordained clergy. Also, educating pastors and teachers was considered missions. It is striking how transparent this report is; its honesty is almost shocking -- no one writes reports like this any longer.

For some perspective here, according to $100 in 1929 is equivalent to $2300 today, or $100 of today's dollars would by $4 of stuff in 1929.


The Work of Your Synod 1929

Summary of Synodical Budget

Synodical Treasury Budget 1929

For me this is one of the most interesting pages. It is of the Synodical Treasury Budget 1929. I haven't extensively studied the structure of 1929, but it seems that this in some ways is akin to the International Center's budget today. Note that of the $625,000 total, about $523,000 or about 84% goes to the Synod's colleges and Seminaries (the largest some to Concordia Seminary St Louis). Also, in 1929 the Synod President was paid $4,000 per year. Of this salary, he paid his own travel expenses and the salary of his secretary.

Home and Negro Missions

Foreign Missions

South American Missions and European Missions

Deaf-Mute and Blind Missions | Immigrant and Seamen's Missions

Indian Missions | Board of Support

Church Extension and Building Funds

Our Deficit 

In 1929, the Synod had a $751,000 deficit. Financial challenges are nothing new for the Missouri Synod. Nonetheless, in 1929, the Synod kept to its goals and borrowed money to support its mission. 


  1. Thanks, Al. I bet large part of the $751,000 deficit in 1929 was due to the cost of the new campus of Concordia Seminary in Clayton. I haven't checked the numbers, but if this is the case, it is another testimony to the Synod's commitment to theological education at the time.

  2. The synodical president's salary then would be about $92,000 today. That sounds about right.
    Robert at

  3. Compare the numbers of missionaries then to our numbers today:
    So very, very sad and just plain pathetic.