That was my thought upon seeing today's commemoration on the calendar. So I did a little checking.
Turns out that Johann Karl Wilhelm Loehe is a Renewer of the Church with a somewhat local connection to me. Loehe, a Pietist pastor from Franconia, responded to a call for missionaries to the American wilderness by planning a mission village that would minister to the Native Americans. With his guidance, in 1845 a small group of missionaries and a mission pastor left Bremen, endured a difficult sea voyage to the United States and eventually wound up in the forests of Michigan, near Saginaw. The group founded a village named Frankenmuth -- "courage of the Franks" -- and established St. Lorenz Church, which like Frankenmuth is still alive and thriving. The missionaries did not have a great deal of long-term success converting the Native Americans, but they did help provide a comforting bit of home to many a new immigrant from Germany looking for a place to settle, and their church also became one of the founding congregations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. So even though Loehe never left Germany, his vision of the Church as an active, in-breaking presence in new places was a significant influence on Lutheranism in the New World.
You can read all about Loehe and the beginnings of St. Lorenz here .
A couple of my college friends were Frankenmuth residents who worshipped at St. Lorenz. And I can't help but think that the church infrastructure that had its start in Frankenmuth had something to do with the planting of my young-childhood church, the long-closed Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, in a corner of Outer Podunk once upon a time.