Henry F. Schuh
On May 30, 1890, Henry Frederick Schuh was born in Tacoma, Washington. Both branches of Henry’s family, the Loys and the Schuhs, were quite prominent in the history of the American Lutheran Church (ALC). Henry attended the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, from 1911-1915 where he received a certificate in theology. After teaching at Luther College, St. Paul, Minnesota, for one year, Henry was ordained into the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States (JSO) at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Toledo, on July 4, 1915.
When the JSO merged with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa and Other States and the Lutheran Synod of Buffalo in 1930 to become the ALC, Pastor Schuh became its first Director of Stewardship and Finance. He served in this capacity for 19 years and during his tenure total benevolences to the church increased more than four-fold. Under his watch, a debt of more than $800,000 that the new church incurred upon its creation was eliminated and a capital fund of almost $1,000,000 was established. Pastor Schuh, known as a specialist in church finance, steered the ALC through difficult financial times resulting from the Great Depression and the years of sacrifice and measured spending that were required while the country was at war in Europe and the Pacific. Schuh remained in this post until 1950 when he was elected president of the ALC.
During Schuh’s tenure as third president of the ALC, the church confronted such issues as declining supply of men to become ordained pastors, merger with other Lutheran church bodies, continued support of the National Lutheran Council (NLC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and clarification of the church’s policies on holy communion, divorce, and remarriage.
Outside of the church, Pastor Schuh held other positions in Lutheran cooperative bodies as well as ecumenical councils. He served as a member of the Joint Union Committee (JUC), the committee created to plan for the merger of the ALC with the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church that would create The American Lutheran Church (TALC) in 1960. He served as a vice-president of the NLC, a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, a member of the executive committee of the LWF, and a member of the LWF Commission on World Service.
In recognition of his contributions to the church, Pastor Schuh received several honorary degrees. He received honorary doctor of laws degrees from Capital University in 1937, Carthage College, Illinois, in 1951, and Augustana College, Sioux Falls, in 1953. Warburg University honored him with a doctor of divinity degree in 1957.
In 1960 when the merger occurred that created TALC, Dr. Schuh was named honorary president for life. This was an honor bestowed upon him by unanimous vote of the JUC. In addition to his honorary presidency, he was given West Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit for his efforts to provide aid to Germans after World War II and to promote exchange programs between West Germany and the United States.
Dr. Schuh above all was honest with his own convictions, and honest with the Church. The greatest thing that can be said of him is that he was God’s man for the hour and willing to accept the demands that circumstances of economics and church history placed upon him.
-Dr. George Schultz, longtime friend and colleague
Records date from 1913-1965 and include handwritten and typewritten sermons and addresses, handwritten and typewritten business and personal correspondence, news articles, newspapers clippings, minutes, reports, agenda and exhibits, circular letters, typewritten and handwritten family histories, pamphlets, orders of service, and one photograph.