John Christian Frederick Heyer, Missionary to India

November 8 – John Christian Frederick Heyer, Missionary to India –

John Christian Frederick Heyer was the first missionary sent out by Lutherans in America. Born in Germany on July 10, 1793, he came to America in 1807 to escape the Napoleonic wars. He studied theology in Philadelphia and the University of Gottingen. Back in America, he was licensed as a lay minister and preached in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Ordained in 1820, he preached and taught at Gettysburg College and Seminary for twenty years. Heyer was commissioned in 1841 by the Ministerium of Pennsylvania as the first foreign missionary of the American Lutheran churches. He spent fifteen years (1842–1837) founding missions in the region of Andhra, India. His health failed and he returned to organize churches in America, particularly Minnesota. In 1869 he returned to Andhra to reorganize the Rajahmundry mission. He then returned to Philadelphia to serve as chaplain of the new Lutheran seminary until his death on November 7, 1873.

~John Deeben, Lutheran Historical Society of the Mid-Atlantic