October 9, 1868 - July 15, 1935
|Henry Herman Ahrens came of eminent Methodist stock. His father before him, the Rev. J. B. A. Ahrens, was a lecturer, author, educator, and rendered a conspicuous service as pastor-preacher in the Louisiana Conference. His mother, Ehise Picker Ahrens, was a Methodist of deep spirituality and large sympathies. He was born in the parsonage home near Covington, Louisiana, on October 9, 1868. Shortly after his birth his father was appointed to the German work in New Orleans. Here young Henry attended the city schools, later going to Centenary College and afterwards to Vanderbilt University. On November 26, 1890, he was happily married to Miss Mary Virginia Matthews of New Orleans. Immediately following his marriage he joined the Louisiana Conference in which be served effectively for many years. Among the churches served were: Gretna, Franklin, Jonesville, Second Church and Parker Memorial, New Orleans.
Dr. Ahrens was possessed of decided journalistic gifts. While in the pastorate he wrote much for the church papers, and much of the church and her doing for the secular papers.. He came to the place in his own feeling and thinking where he reached the definite decision that he could render a larger service as Religious editor of time great secular daily newspaper. His church granted him honorable location to go into this work. He became Religious Editor of time New Orleans Picayune—— and later of the Times-Picayune when the two papers were consolidated. He held this position for thirty-five years. His position in religious journalism was unique in that he thoroughly versed himself in the doctrines and polity of all time churches, and knew the church language of each and all, consequently he always wrote with accuracy and in a style that was very interesting. He knew what news church people wanted and he knew how to give it to them. Not only was he one of the best-known writers in the church world, but he probably knew more prominent church men than any other man in time Southland. It was on account of his wide information concerning the church that he was called to Washington during the World War where he rendered a dis-tinct service. Immediately following the war he directed the publicity for the Centenary and Educational Movement of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Henry Ahrens in the field of literature and religious journalism was outstanding. He filled a place that he himself had made, but this place was not left vacant when he went away. He inspired others with his ideal and shared it. His mantel, instead of falling on one, has fallen .in a group who are carrying on, because he led in the way.
He was a gentleman to the manner born. He was a friend dependable. He was a Methodist devoted. I am glad I knew him and claimed his friendship. I am glad I was his pastor and could share with him his high ideals and his dreams of a better day.
His last years were spent in retirement on account of ill health, but he kept in touch with life and was radiant with faith in God until the end of his earthly pilgrimage July 15, 1935, when the Gates of God stood ajar and he ‘entered into that House eternal over all the years. He said: “Au Revoir” to his wife, and children—Mrs. T. C. Wilder, F. Herman and John Wesley; and “Howdy” to little Bert who was waiting for him at home beyond the skies.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 87-88, 1935, by W. W. Holmes|