As you will see from the schedule below, the Central Circuit had seven scheduled meetings from October 2010 through May 2011.
Here is an excerpt from a letter that Pastor Prange sent to all the pastors in the circuit last fall in which he describes to the circuit brothers each part of their agenda.
1) 10:00 AM Opening Devotion
Leading the devotion will be assigned to one of you for each meeting.
2) 10:20 – 11:20 AM Reading and Discussion of the Apology
I’m willing to “moderate” that reading and discussion. I do not have in mind here that I (or some other “moderator”) would be presenting you with a list of questions to answer, but that our reading of the different articles would naturally prompt questions, comments and discussion. No real preparation is required of you; just bring a copy of the Apology. As I was doing a little work on this, I ran across the following comment in the notes that John Brenner used for our Seminary study of the Apology: “No one can truly be called a theologian of our Church who has not diligently and repeatedly read the Apology and familiarized himself with it.” I’m not sure that the comment was original with Prof. Brenner, but it’s worth considering and repeating.
3) 11:20 AM – 12:00 PM Discussion Walther Essay: “Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod”
I’ve received permission from CPH to make a copy of this essay for each of you (it was originally published in Essays for the Church, a 1992 publication that is now out of print). You’ll find a PDF version of this essay under CIRCUIT STUDIES, but I’ll provide each of you with a paper copy at pastoral conference in September, if not before. In this case I would ask you to read assigned pages before our circuit meeting, and I will be presenting a set of discussion points in advance of each meeting. It is my prayer that our study of this essay will remind us all of the great blessings the Lord Jesus bestows on us through our synodical relationship, that it will help us think through what the important duties of a synod are, and that it will lead us to better appreciate the heavy (yet voluntary) obligation we (and our congregations) have to one another as a result of our membership in WELS.
4) 12:00 – 12:30 PM Lunch
5) 12:30 – 12:40 PM Midday Meditation
I’ll lead a short midday meditation.
6) 12:40 – 1:30 PM Congregational/Circuit/District/Synodical Business
Proposed Meeting Schedule
- Monday, October 4, 2010 at 10 A.M.- Apology I-II; Walther, Thesis I (pp. 8-25)
- Monday, November 8, 2010 at 10 A.M.- Apology III & IV,1-74; Walther, Thesis II (pp. 25-40)
- Monday, December 6, 2010 at 10 A.M.- Apology IV,75-121; Walther, Thesis III (pp. 40-45)
- Monday, February 7, 2011 at 10 A.M.- Apology V,1-166 [IV,122-287]; Walther Thesis IV (pp. 45-52)
- Monday, March 7, 2011 at 10 A.M.- Apology V,167-279 [IV,288-400]; Walther Thesis V (pp. 52-60)
- Monday, April 4, 2011 at 10 A.M.- Apology VII-XI; Walther Thesis VI (pp. 60-63)
- Monday, May 2, 2011 at 10 A.M.
Devotion Leader Schedule
- Monday, October 4 Phil Schupmann
- Monday, November 8 Mike Borgwardt
- Monday, December 6 Doug Semenske
- Monday, February 7 Dave Rutschow
- Monday, March 7 Matt Schwartz
- Monday, April 4 Tim Wagner
- Monday, May 2 Souk Phetsanghane
There are several items about the study plan of the Central Circuit worth noting:
- Pastor Prange has set up a page on his congregation’s web site that has all the circuit’s information readily available. That certainly makes it easier for the brothers of the circuit to check on assignments and readings for each of the meetings of the circuit. You can find that web page here: http://jerusalemlutheran.org/site/cpage.asp?sec_id=140003837&cpage_id=14… (http://jerusalemlutheran.org/site/cpage.asp?sec_id=140003837&cpage_id=140028713)
- In a day when walking together as a synod bucks the trend of the visible church as it moves into what some call post-denominationalism, the Walther essay seems to be well chosen.
- The study of the Apology also seems well chosen since that confession is arguably the least well known among our Lutheran Confessions. As the quotation from Prof. Brenner’s notes indicates, it deserves more careful attention from us than it often gets.
Here are three suggestions for circuits that would consider adopting/adapting larger or smaller portions of the plans of the Central Circuit:
- Since the agenda ends quite early in the day (Chicago traffic may have something to do with that!), there would seem to be time to add one more afternoon agenda item. A study in an area of practical theology might provide a helpful addition. Agreeing to read a book together every month, or every other month (taking two meetings to discuss it), with a rotation of books through all the areas of practical theology, could prove very helpful to all the brothers.
- Another possible addition to the study agenda would be taking time for a brief exegetical study of a portion of Scripture. While a once a month circuit study use of Hebrew or Greek is certainly not sufficient to sustain or improve language skills (small study groups meeting more regularly are better for such goals), yet a monthly focus at a circuit meeting on a brief portion of Greek or Hebrew could still supply encouragement to the circuit brothers to keep their skills sharp.
- Either of the previous suggestions could also allow the pastors of the circuit to be more involved in leading portions of the meeting. We always learn best what we have a role in presenting/teaching.