Kettle Moraine East and West Circuits (Winnebago Conference)
In 2010, many circuits were subdivided. But, in some cases, like the Kettle Moraine East and Kettle Moraine West Circuits, located in the Fond du Lac area, the divided circuits continue to meet together for study and discussion as before. This month we feature the Kettle Moraine Circuits.
The Kettle Moraine Circuits meet every month during the year except for July. After an opening devotion by the host pastor, Pastor Mike Zuberbier, who chairs the meetings, asks for questions of casuistry or other items of interest and concern for discussion at the end of the meeting.
The group then spends 45 minutes in exegetical study. A rotation of leaders provides each man the opportunity to work through a portion of Scripture in greater detail. Currently, the group is studying 1 Peter with the intention of continuing through the general epistles of 2 Peter and Jude.
The next item on the agenda is 45 minutes of doctrinal/confessional study. The Kettle Moraine Circuits recently completed a study of the Augsburg Confession and have embarked on reading through Walther’s Law and Gospel. The group is using the edition recently published by CPH. They intend to spend the first couple of study meetings looking at the historical material in the introduction before getting into the lectures. Again one of the pastors leads the discussion on a rotating basis.
The last 30 minutes (or more) is used for the questions of casuistry, other items of interest and communication, which is especially important in an area like Fond du Lac with many WELS churches in a smaller community. The group keeps to a flexible schedule so that often the study times go past 45 minutes and the discussion of items of interest extends beyond 30 minutes. Most of the brothers go out for lunch following the meeting. The two circuits also get together socially twice a year: at Christmas and for a summer picnic.
There are several items about the study plan of the Kettle Moraine Circuits worth noting:
- The Kettle Moraine Circuits should be commended for meeting so consistently throughout the year, even in months when there is a conference or convention. Again, this provides opportunity for group discussion of questions of casuistry and items of interest on a regular basis.
- While the agenda of the Kettle Moraine Circuits is typical of many circuit study groups throughout the WELS, they carry out their agenda in an orderly way, planning ahead, and making use of a rotation of leaders to provide productive study.
- Using the newly published edition of Walther’s Law and Gospel is noteworthy. The updated language and historical background can help make this classic of American Lutheranism more accessible for 21st century pastors.
- The opportunities offered for socializing, both each month and twice a year, is important for informal brother-to-brother encouragement. Sometimes, this is lacking in the Midwestern districts where churches and pastors are very close together. The Kettle Moraine Circuits are to be applauded for their efforts at fellowship in this regard.
Here are a few suggestions for circuits that would consider adopting/adapting larger or smaller portions of the plans of the Kettle Moraine Circuits:
- The one thing lacking in the study schedule is an opportunity for study in one of the practical disciplines, like a sermon review, a discussion of a practical paper, or reviewing a book on an area of pastoral theology. Adding 30 minutes to the schedule would allow for that, although one could argue that studying Walter will get into practical application. In a circuit with a larger geographical area and more driving time might make adding to the agenda more problematic, but in areas like Fond du Lac, adding extra study time would seem to be doable.
- Since our Hebrew skills often receive less attention, studying Old Testament portion of Scripture exegetically would also be beneficial and productive – perhaps rotating between New Testament and Old Testament.