Bethany Lutheran – Naperville, Illinois has a “This is Your Grandfathers’ Church” All Saints Celebration, by Pr. Rossow

Blessed Reformation and All Saints Days to all our readers!

At the parish I serve we like to have as many actual feasts on the feast days of the church year as possible.  This year Pastor Stephen Schumacher, my co-worker in Christ at  Bethany Lutheran Church and School – Naperville, Illinois put together an All Saints feast and came up with the clever theme: “This is Your Grandfathers’ Church.” After our late service tomorrow we are having a potluck where everyone will be making dishes that have been passed down through the years from their grandfathers and grandmothers. We will also be having some traditional activities like dart-ball, a cake walk, and  pin the bell on the steeple.

There are two reasons we have named this feast “This is Your Grandfather’s Church.” First, it is because on All Saints Day we remember the communion of saints  who have gone before us to heaven. We are reminded of this  each Sunday when we sing God’s praises with angels, archangels, and all the communion of saints (our grandfathers and grandmothers who have preceded us to glory). Quite fittingly I will need to leave the feast a little early to officiate the funeral of dear saint of Bethany who was just called to heaven on Thursday of this past week.

Besides the tie in to All Saints, the second reason for  naming the celebration “This is Your Grandfathers’ Church” is to in some small way stem the tide of President Kieschnick and his men who are trying to undo the traditional, liturgical, doctrine-based church of our grandfathers. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this week that our little All Saints feast in Naperville has  already had an impact beyond our little corner of the communion of saints here in the western suburbs of Chicago.

I heard from one of our members that we had some grandparents from a few states away in attendance at the Divine Service last Sunday. These grandparents were very encouraged to hear that we were celebrating our grandfathers’ church.  They told their son and daughter-in-law after church that some LCMS bigwigs were in their neck of the woods recently and were trying to talk them and a neighboring congregation into planting a new church in between them. The synod officials were proud to announce, in these very words, “that this new start would not be like your grandfathers’ church” and that made them a little uneasy. They were happy to see that in such a progressive, wealthy  and happening place like Naperville, which is populated mostly by young professionals, that we would be celebrating our grandfathers’ church and seeking to preserve its traditions, liturgy and doctrine.

Think about your grandfathers and their grandfathers tomorrow when you sing praise to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with all the communion of saints in heaven and then do your part to pass on to the next generation what you have received from Christ (I Corinthians 11).

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.


Bethany Lutheran – Naperville, Illinois has a “This is Your Grandfathers’ Church” All Saints Celebration, by Pr. Rossow — 15 Comments

  1. we are having a potluck where everyone will be making dishes that have been passed down through the years from their grandfathers and grandmothers.

    Good thing I’m not there. I’m not sure you Germans would appreciate Grandma Henrickson’s Swedish lutfisk.

    Lutfisk: The piece of cod that passes all understanding.

  2. You are correct Charlie. I would pass on that piece. Isn’t that the stuff preserved in lye (sp?)?


  3. Pastor Rossow,
    That is best idea ever!!!! Oh, I wish we did that here & I pray your congregation knows what a blessing they have in your shepherding!
    Yes, well said Pastor Henrickson, lutfisk does surpass all understanding, but hey, my husband says the same thing about Python!

  4. What wisdom you are showing and sowing, Pastor Rossow. Your feast (with or without lutfisk), flies in the face of the trends in our pop culture that say only what happens now is of any consequence, and that ‘old people’ are not worth considering. What lessons you are teaching the children! You are in the prayers of my husband and I.

  5. Christian Classical…

    Thank you for your prayers and your well wishes. I hope to take some pictures tomorrow to put on the website.

    I just got up to church this afernoon and the gym is decorated beautifully for tomorrow afternoon. (I was home for another feast – the Festival of Iowa Hawkeye Football – they won! I love classical music but am also a huge college football fan.)


  6. Did not know you were an Iowa fan. They played a good game did they not! Hope they can go far this season. It would be a boon for the state after all the flooding of last summer and the continuous rain of this harvest season.

  7. We went with a heritage and missions theme for our Reformationsfest this afternoon, so we had everything from Rouladen and red cabbage to “Thai Brats on Gingered Sauerkraut with Peanut Horseradish Sauce” (and traditional Thai sweet chili sauce, of course). If any of the folks from Bethany are needing a recipe for tomorrow, just let us know! 😉


  8. Sterle – Go Hawkeyes! I am not an alum but grew up in North Central Iowa (Ft. Dodge, Webster City, Algona) as a Hawk fan and have never outgrown it. I have never seen a year like this.

    EJG – Thai Brats! I am going to have to schedule a Reformation some year in Arkansas. And all the Rossow household is contributing tomorow is my grandmother’s scalloped corn recipe.

    Hmmm – corn, I see an Iowa theme here.


  9. I was pleased to see that Iowa did well.
    Even happier about Texas’ 41-14 over Oklahoma State. 😉

  10. *This* is an idea worth copying next year. I have to file this one away–and *not* in a place where I’ll never remember it’s there!

  11. Hmm. I’ll have to fix some curry–my grandpa was a missionary to Kerala in southern India, and my grandma brought back excellent recipes.

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