Friends of the Archives Banquet
The "Friends of the Archives Banquet", once scheduled for April 17, 2020, has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19. Please stay tuned for further developments and the rescheduling of this annual event.
The Archival Survey is the Archives's news-letter, published twice annually. Browse our issues and stay up to date with current events, archival projects, and learn more about Lutheran history from our historians, theologians, and scholars.
What's in Your Closet?
The Kinard Papers
Dr. Susan Wilds McArver
“I have a box of old sermons from my father, a Lutheran pastor. Do you think the Archives or the Seminary would be at all interested in them?” Um ...Yes ... !
It’s a question often heard by archives staff and church history professors: “Do you think the Archives would be interested in... fill in
the blank?” Sermons, journals and letters are often particularly important, as they can give us a glimpse into the religious life of a community over time in a way that religious periodicals and Synodical Minutes – though important – cannot. In this particular case, the donation contained some real treasures. Digging through to the bottom of the box revealed not one, but two generations of sermons, as well as an essay reflecting on America’s future, as seen in 1919.
The bulk of the collection consists of sermons given by the Rev. Dr. Karl Kinard (pictured, 1902-1983), who graduated in 1922 from Newberry College and in 1925 from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Kinard was pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, Columbia, SC from the mid-1930s until 1943, when he became president of the South Carolina Synod (a title changed to “Bishop” after his tenure). He served in that role until his retirement in 1971. His sermons from these years, all carefully typed, focus most centrally on the biblical text of the day, but his sermon illustrations often reveal the backdrop of the Great Depression, the coming of World War II, and the anxiety experienced by his parishioners during those times.
A second set of sermons, handwritten and tied separately in string, were given by Dr. Kinard’s father, James David Kinard (1866-1942), beginning much earlier, in 1895. James Kinard graduated from Newberry in 1892 and Southern Seminary in 1895, before beginning a career serving many South Carolina churches in the early 20th
Century. One of the documents is an undated “Pastor’s Record for 3 Years,” in which he notes he had preached 286 times and made 280 “pastoral visits,” among other ministerial acts. He also listed several “places visited and members of Lutheran Church encouraged,” including Anderson, Walhalla, Laurens, Clinton, Ninety-Six, and Mountville, all in the upstate. Having the sermons of both father and son allows scholars an opportunity to study how preaching changed – and
remained the same – over the course of almost 80 years, through the course of a single ministerial family.
Finally, the very bottom of the box revealed a handwritten essay entitled, Frowning Forts of Folly, by Newberry College student David O. Holman, given at the end of WWI. Holman reflected the optimistic progressivism of many Americans of the age, now that the “war to end all wars” had ended in victory. Holman argued for the importance of both congressional approval of the Treaty of Versailles, the establishment of the League of Nations, and a definitive push toward public education. Many of the world’s problems, Holman believed, had their roots in illiteracy; in his own home state, over one third of all South Carolinians were illiterate, and at
the time of his writing, the state did not even have a compulsory school attendance law. For the future of state and nation, Holman wrote, this would simply have to change.
Taken together, the documents from this one donation can tell us a great deal about Lutheranism in the Southeast over the course of almost a century, and the Archives is grateful for the gift.
So... what’s in YOUR closet... ? ♦