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Portrait And Biographical Record Of Northern Michigan
Containing Portraits And Biographical Sketches Of Prominent
And Representative Citizens
Record Publishing Co., 1895

There is no profession so exalted in its privileges, so great in its opportunities and so important in its responsibilities, as that of the ministry, and he who brings to the profession a consecrated life, broad knowledge, liberal culture and intense earnestness, is deserving of a high place in the regard of his fellow-men. Such are the qualifications of the subject of this sketch for his chosen calling, and it is not strange, therefore, that he has gained more than ordinary success as a preacher of the Gospel. He came to Manistee in December, 1885, and has since been pastor of St. Paul's German Lutheran Church, the prosperity of which is due entirely to his tireless efforts.

From early boyhood Rev. Mr. Moussa has enjoyed advantages accorded to few. He was born in Palestine, Asia, May 29, 1858, and in Jerusalem, where he resided until his sixteenth year, he was educated in the elementary branches in German, Greek, English, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin. At the age mentioned he removed to Basel, Switzerland, and entered the theological seminary, where he conducted his studies for four years. In 1877, and while conducting his studies at Basel, he was called to Russia, during the war trouble with Turkey, to fill the position of translator and army chaplain. He also went to Bulgaria, following the Russian army across the Danube. In the valley of the Danube, he contracted malarial fever, from the effects of which he has never fully recovered.

Returning to Basel, our subject resumed the studies which had been interrupted by the war. He continued thus occupied until 1878, when he came to America. Prior to leaving Germany he was ordained to the ministry, and on arriving in Michigan he was at once given charge of a church in Washtenaw County. For a time he served in the capacity of a substitute or supply for absent pastors. Afterward he was installed as pastor of a church in Genoa, Livingston County, where he labored for six years, meantime erecting a fine church. For a short time he served a congregation near Saginaw, and from that place came to Manistee, in December, 1885. Here he found only nine members, the church and parochial school being in a disorganized condition. The outlook was certainly very discouraging, but by faithful and intelligent labor he has succeeded in bringing order out of chaos, and to-day has a congregation of one hundred and thirty families. The school has also been re-organized, and is now in prosperous condition, in charge of a competent teacher.

During Mr. Moussa's pastorate a very handsome brick church has been erected, which was dedicated in 1891. It has a seating capacity of about eight hundred, is supplied with a fine pipe organ, stained glass windows and substantial modern furnishings. Under his supervision a two-story school building has been erected, in which two grades can be accommodated and instructed in the elementary branches, including English and German, and religious training. The two buildings were erected at a cost of $10,000, a very large part of which has been paid, and the balance satisfactorily provided for.

While pastor of the church in Genoa, Mr. Moussa was married to Miss Waly Bierschneider, who was born in Bavaria, Germany, February 5, 1806, and in 1876 came to America with her parents, settling in Michigan. Her parents are still living, and make their home in Saginaw County. Two children bless this union. The eldest son, Hans, is a student in the college at Watertown, Wis., and is a youth of exceptionally fine mind and literary attainments. The younger son, Herbert, attends the school under the jurisdiction of this church. Our subject is the only representative of his father's family in the United States. He has a brother, a resident of Jerusalem, who is engaged in missionary work in that far-distant city. His parents died there in 1866, both falling victim to cholera on the same day.

In addition to his labors as pastor of the church, Mr. Moussa has other important and responsible interests in the cause of religion. At present he is filling the position of Secretary of the German Lutheran Synod of Michigan. He is also a member of a committee called the Mission Board of the Synods of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, for the dissemination of light among the Apache Indians of Arizona. It is his chief ambition in life to promote the cause of Christianity, and that he has met with great success in this line is not surprising, for his whole energies are devoted to the work. Not only his parishioners, but others as well, have come to rely upon his good judgment and unfailing common sense; they trust his unselfish interest in the welfare of others, and rest absolutely on his brave wisdom and sincerity.

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1895 Portrait And Biographical Record
Of Northern Michigan

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