Gentle-Spirited Evangelical Lutheran Pastor Rev. George Gaumer

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Born in Muskingum County, Ohio, Rev. George Gaumer spent his adult life pastoring Evangelical Lutheran Church congregations in Adamsville and Carrolton, Ohio before a transfer to churches in Indian Head and Donegal, PA, all prior to the Civil War. While at Indian Head, in the Good Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, a friend later wrote:

He ministered to this congregation all these years in all earnestness and fidelity. During his pastorate he baptized 28 children and added a number of adults to the membership of the congregation. The highest number present at any one communion service was 40, and the membership, when he resigned, was reported as 45. In April, 1868, he resigned this parish and accepted a call to Medina, Ohio.

He stayed at Medina until 1873, when he transferred to a new church in Venango, PA. There, he found himself embroiled in a dispute among members whom he could not control. The book Memorial History of the Pittsburgh Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1748-1845-1924 describes this period of turmoil and characterized George as:

…a man of gentle and irenic spirit, but he was not strong enough to control the synodical controversy that broke out in the community during his pastorate. It is claimed that this controversy was stirred up by a former pastor, who returned to the field for that purpose. When Pastor Gaumer proposed the erection of a new church there was an eager response from the people, so that half of the estimated cost was subscribed. Then the question was raised by Solomon Lasher as to whether it would be dedicated as a General Synod Church. When the pastor answered in the negative, Mr. Lasher and his friends objected so strenuously that it became necessary to use discipline and expel twenty-three of them from the church. These expelled members rallied their friends, held a meeting and adopted [a] resolution.

He departed Venango in 1874 and went on to serve churches in Drake’s Mill, Mosiertown and St. Paul (Seanor’s) in Pennsylvania. He retired in 1884 and moved to Greenville near the campus of Thiel College, where he and his wife Mary Anna (Kelly) Gaumer spent their final years. In 1900, at the age of 80, he and Mary Anna sold their home, donated the proceeds to Passavant Hospital in Pittsburgh and then were given rooms there. “With christian resignation,” wrote a friend, “he waited for the Master’s call.”

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