(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.