Happy Birthday, Reverend Buenger!


Every story has a beginning, and the story of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS) starts with one man: Rev. Johann Friedrich Buenger. Born on January 2, 1810, Rev. Buenger was an influential spiritual leader known for his compassion and ambition. To celebrate Rev. Buenger’s birthday, we would like to share some history about our founder and how his life shaped our core values as an organization.

Rev. Buenger came from a family of Lutheran pastors that dated back to the Reformation. Born and raised in Germany, he came to America in 1839 and began his life of service. Before founding LFCS, Rev. Buenger also:

  • Co-Founded Log Cabin College (Altenburg, MO)
  • Presided over Trinity Lutheran (St. Louis) and Immanuel Lutheran Church (Olivette, MO)
  • Helped establish the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in 1847 (St. Louis, MO)
  • Assisted in the creation of The Lutheran hospital of St. Louis in 1858. (St. Louis, MO)

In 1844, Rev. Buenger married Rosa Mueller and together they had three children. Tragedy struck the Buenger family in1849 when a cholera epidemic took the lives of Rosa and all three of his children. In spite of his loss, Buenger remained faithful to his mission of serving God through serving others. He eventually married Joanna Reissner and was father to Johanna, Catherine, Maria, and Agnes.

In 1868, during the Civil War, a wounded Union solder made a plea to Rev. Buenger to care for his 10-year-old-son. The boy’s mother had died and the solder knew it would be months before he would be well enough to care for his son. Rev. Buenger promised to help. He used his Lutheran network to find a schoolteacher to care for the boy, but needed $10 per month to provide adequate care. The story of the soldier’s son spread and soon donations from all over arrived to help care for this child. This is how LFCS was born.

Courageous faith, impeccable integrity, service excellence, strong teams, and innovative ideas. These are the five core values of Lutheran Family and Children’s Service of Missouri and are directly inspired from our founder’s life. Happy Birthday Rev. Buenger! We are honored to carry on the legacy you began 155 years ago.

Buenger Portrait

Buenger Portrait