(from Pr. Rossow) Our first chapter start-up kits went out less than a month ago and already we have chapters formed in New York, Florida, Illinois, and Kansas. The chapter is really the key to the long term effectiveness of BJS and its ability to support Issues, Etc. and other New Lutheran Confessional media. The local chapter is the vehicle by which people who would not ordinarily listen to or know about Issues, Etc. can learn about it and help to support it. Even more important, it is a way to legitimatize and broaden support for Confessional Lutheranism in the local congregation. (If you go to the organization page on this website you can read a full description of the local chapter. You can also request a chapter start-up kit by sending an email to [email protected].) We had our largest chapter meeting to date thanks to Rev. Gary Wright in the quad-city area of Illinois and Iowa. Before giving a report on that groundbreaking meeting, take a look at what is going on in the rest of the country.
In Pensacola, Florida James Neiswonger is heading up the chapter working with Rev. Walter Steele at Immanuel Lutheran Church. They are building the chapter around the existing men’s club. James also heads up the local chapter of the Lutheran Mission for the Blind.
Cantor Stephen Johnson is heading up a geographical chapter in New York and the surrounding area called the Hudson River Valley chapter. He will also be working with Cantor Phil Magness to promote BJS at the synodical worship conference in Seward, Nebraska next week. We thank them for giving us space at the booth they will be manning for their business, Liturgy Solutions. As you may know, Cantor Magness writes the Not Your Grandfathers’ Church liturgical review column for this website. We are pleased that he has been chosen to be one of the four plenary speakers at the synod-wide conference.
In Kansas Pastor Ted Cook has already had two meetings of his group at Zion Lutheran in Pittsburgh, Kansas and they have already grown by 50%. They started out with four members and now have six. They have been reviewing articles from the website and began reading the Augsburg Confession at their first two meetings. Let’s all take heart from this! In a small church in Kansas, Lutheran men have started reading the Book of Concord! Let’s all be motivated by them to start our own confessions reading groups.
My own church, Bethany Lutheran, Naperville, Illinois has also submitted its chapter registration for a group named “Soli Dei Gloria.” Layman Keith Luhrs is organizing the efforts and will be building the group around an existing Men’s Bible Breakfast that studies Luther’s Large Catechism and a Tuesday night Confession’s Reading Group. With 2,000 members in the congregation it is hoped that this group can become a flagship chapter for the whole organization.
Things are also happening on the Mississippi! Pastor Gary Wright is our Regional Director for the quad-cities area and has been promoting BJS on both sides of the river in Davenport, Rock Island, Bettendorf, Moline and the surrounding area in Iowa and Illinois. Pastor Wright organized a meeting last Saturday in a local restaurant for breakfast and had 14 people from several different congregations. For the time being they have decided to meet as one large, multi-congregation chapter. Thanks Pastor Wright for all your work and may God bless your future efforts and may He bless all the budding chapters with a desire for the pure spiritual milk of Christ’s Gospel so that they may be courageous in defending it and promoting that pure Gospel so that Issues, Etc. and other new Lutheran media can benefit from this work.
Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow
Bethany Lutheran Church – Naperville, Illinois