What Do You Commemorate on June 25, the Death of Michael Jackson? By Donna Linnemeyer

(Editor’s Note: Donna’s posts are archived on the Regular Columns page under the title “Confessions of a Confessional Church Administrator.” Donna is the Church Administrator of Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, Illinois.)


My day on June 25, 2009 ended with a pleasant, spur-of-the-moment birthday dinner with my youngest son.   When I phoned Bradley to wish him a Happy Birthday, I was surprised that he had no celebration plans with friends until the weekend.   Of course I quickly made arrangements to spend a couple of hours with him twenty four years after the day of his birth.


Brad is quick and funny and it’s always a pleasure to grab time with him.   After we finished our meal, his phone chirped and he picked up a text message from his older sister.   He chuckled and showed me the screen.   It read: “Dude, Farrah Faucett and Michael Jackson both died on your birthday!”


I smiled too.   We both understood that his sister was not merely informing Brad of the passing of these two celebrities.   She was pointing out that, forevermore, they would cast their shadow on the date of June 25.


Before today, we would sometimes comment that Brad’s birthday meant we were six months away from Christmas.   Years ago we   joked that Brad’s intake of new toys was perfectly spaced six months apart.  The June 25 date was not a bad marker and provided a gentle heads up as far as time passage goes.


But now, after 2009, there will always be this new June 25 commemoration event.


Now let me explain how my day on June 25, 2009 began.   As I arrived at my job at Bethany Lutheran Church and School I was greeted by a large printed sign on the door that read “Happy POTAC”.   More signs with the same greeting decorated other doors in the office block. We have had some interesting signs posted on our office doors over the years but this was a new one for me.   One of my co-workers quickly explained that POTAC stood for Presentation of the Augsburg Confession.  


I am happy to report that at Bethany there are at least three staff members that might claim responsibility for such a posting.  For several years now we have been placing more emphasis on the minor festivals of the church year and have also been stressing the basics of our Lutheran faith.


By the time I reached the coffee station, Pastor Stephen Schumacher was happy to acknowledge that he posted the signs.   He gave me a brief summary of the timing and the players of this historic event.   He reminded me that John the Steadfast, practically a household name at Bethany, played a major part in getting the Augsburg Confession presented.   John of Saxony was right there pushing to get the Augsburg Confession submitted to Emperor Charles V and to get it read to the people on June 25, 1530.   On this date, the foundation and beliefs of the Lutheran Church, based solely on scripture, were boldly proclaimed by our forefathers.  


And that, my friends, is what I shall choose to remember forevermore on June 25.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


What Do You Commemorate on June 25, the Death of Michael Jackson? By Donna Linnemeyer — 3 Comments

  1. Great feature writing Donna. Who would have ever thought Farah Faucett, Michael Jackson and John the Steadfast would show up in the same post.

    I do have one complaint. I would add two more to your list of likely theological terror suspects – Mike and Rob.

    If anyone wants to see a great example of a large staff working together in Christian harmony come on by Bethany, Naperville. God has richly blessed us with 35 folks all pulling in the same confessional direction and it is a thing of beauty. Everyone gets some of the credit for this but the biggest contributor is our principal Pam Mueller. She has figured out how to get along with her stubborn Dutchman pastor and works very hard at making sure that the school staff is supportive of the overall mission of the congregation. Thanks Donna, Pam and everyone.


  2. In addition to the suggested readings in the Treasury for June 25, one might also sing the 10 verses of “Salvation Unto Us Has Come” or “Dear Christian, One and All Rejoice.” These are among the earliest of Lutheran hymnody.

    For those of you who may not know, the Treasury broke down the Augsburg Confession into daily readings, starting June 15 and ending July 13. It is a great time of year for this, as have just prior to the timeframe we enter the long Pentecost/Trinity Season and we commemorate this event in the middle of it.

    I’ll take 30 DAYS OF THE UAC over 40 DAYS OF “PURPOSE” anytime!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.