John Gottlieb Auer was a missionary bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Cape Palmas, West Africa. Born in Neubulach, Wurtemberg, Germany, Auer was converted while teaching at Geysburg, and attended the mission seminary at Basel, Switzerland. After receiving distinction as a student, especially in preaching, in 1854 he joined the Basel mission station at Akropong in the interior of the Gold Coast to the south and east of Cape Palmas. Here he became a teacher at the mission’s seminary. In 1862 he severed his connection with the Basel Mission and was ordained to the Episcopal ministry by Bishop Payne at Cavalla, Cape Palmas, Liberia. After the death of his wife in 1863, Auer sailed to the United States, staying three years and promoting the interests of the mission in Africa. Returning in 1867 to Liberia, he engaged in translation and education. He translated the Psalms into Grebo and other books into the Kru and Grebo languages; in Grebo he printed both a dictionary and translation of the prayer book. At Payne’s request he became head of the school at Cavalla. In 1872, while visiting in Germany, the Episcopal Church elected him to the missionary episcopate of Cape Palmas and adjacent areas. Despite serious illness, he entered upon his short-lived episcopate with vigor.
Peter R. Rodgers
J G. Auer, Elements of the Grebo Language for the Use of Schools in the Protestant Episcopal Mission at and near Cape Palmas, W.A. (1870); K.W. Cameron, An Index for the Spirit of Missions (1836-1900) (1977), p.61; Proceedings of the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church (1870), p. 21, (1872) p. 41, and (1874), p. 43.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.