History of The Brotherhood
A group of 12 young men meeting regularly for prayer and Bible study at St. James Church, Chicago, Illinois, under the direction of Mr. James L. Houghteling, recognized a need in their parish and the community. They asked permission from their rector, the Rev. W. H. Vibbert, to form a group to reach out and minister to men, following the example of Andrew in bringing his brother Peter to meet Jesus. They brought men from rooming houses and the streets – even drunkards – to their Bible study. The first meeting of this new brotherhood was held on St. Andrew’s Day, 1883.
One hundred Chapters
They initially adopted just two rules: Prayer and Service. They came together to pray, study scripture, and plan to reach out to other men with the Good News. They soon became a spiritual force in the parish, and news of what they were doing spread very quickly so that by 1886, there were over 100 groups across the U. S. and Canada. There was also interest throughout the Anglican Communion. A meeting of group representatives was coincidental with the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in Chicago, where it was decided that a Central Office was needed to coordinate what was becoming an international ministry. Each group then accepted the authority of the Central Office and became known as a Chapter.
Lay Reader Program – In 1886, the Brotherhood introduced the Lay Reader Program to the Episcopal Church. Lay Readers at that time reached out to establish new missions in communities near parishes with a chapter. They went door to door to generate interest in having an Episcopal mission and then met with the people to read Morning and Evening Prayer on Sundays. They also planned for a priest to celebrate the Eucharist and perform Holy Baptism at the mission. Hundreds of parishes now exist because of that ministry. Eight parishes in the Bronx, in the Diocese of New York, were begun as missions by the Brotherhood’s Lay Reader Program
That same year the men’s ministry community started publishing the Saint Andrew Cross monthly. It is still around today, making it the longest-standing news magazine written by, for, and about men and youth in the church.
Cadets of St. Andrew (later called junior brotherhood chapters) were put in motion (1889) to develop young leaders who would eventually fill the men’s ministry ranks.
Missionaries – The Brotherhood sent out lay and clergy missionaries to help establish our ministry to men in other countries. Two brothers and priests were sent to the Philippines to work with the U. S. Armed Forces in Manila; the other brothers served in China, Japan, and Africa. After his assignment in Manila in 1900, one of the priests was asked to remain as the first Episcopal missionary to the Philippines. As a result, the Episcopal Church was established in the Philippines.
By 1900, chapters had been chartered in Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, China, South Africa, Panama, Scotland, Brazil, and Alaska. The Chapters in Japan, the Philippines, Africa, and Jamaica operated independently of the U. S. and had their own National Council Meetings and Conventions.
One Thousand Chapters
In November 30, 1900, Annual Report, the National Council announced that the Brotherhood had reached the 1,000 Chapter Milestone with 17,000 men in the ranks.
In 1902 the first Brotherhood Chapters in Japan were initiated.
Incorporated by an Act of the U. S. Congress
It was incorporated by an Act of the U. S. Congress, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, on May 30, 1908. That Act states in part, “…the sole object of said corporation shall be the spread of Christ’s Kingdom among men.”
Washington’s Birthday Corporate Communion – To bring men and youth back into the church to share in the hearing of the gospel and the Holy Eucharist, the Brotherhood organized the national Washington’s Birthday Corporate Communion for men and boys. This has been a highly successful program for many years.
World War I
Army and Navy Department – During World War I, the Brotherhood established an Army and Navy Department sending Field Secretaries to organize prayer and Bible study groups among servicemen at Army and Navy installations throughout the U. S. These Field Secretaries served without pay for a period of six months and were responsible for establishing a new awareness of the church in the lives of the men they worked with. Over 100,000 St. Andrew’s Cross Magazine copies were sent to servicemen during the war. The Central Office also organized a program of writing letters to servicemen worldwide. Following the war’s end, the Department sent letters to nearby parishes to contact men the Brotherhood had worked with as they were discharged from the Service. Booklets and tracts on how to welcome servicemen home after their experiences with war were sent to the servicemen’s parishes and families. Subsequently, the sending of Field Secretaries became unnecessary; however, it was the responsibility of each chapter near an Army or Navy base to reach out to the servicemen by offering to bring them to their parish for worship services and an occasional home-cooked meal.
Youth Camps –The National Youth Department established 12-16 Youth Camps in various parts of the country. The diocesan assemblies allowed young men to attend camp during the 1920s.
Following WWI, the Stock Crash of 1929, and the beginnings of the Great Depression, church membership and attendance had fallen significantly. Church leaders were alarmed. They launched laymen, clergy, and bishop group to develop a Forward Movement to address these concerns in 1935. The Brotherhood was invited to participate.
The Forward Movement and Forward Day by Day
Laymen within the ranks had developed a daily devotional Bible Study program for the 1000-plus chapters. It was established in 1898. It was so successful that many people and parishes outside the Brotherhood adopted its use. It became part of the Forward Movement platform. A Publishing Arm was recommended. It became the Forward Movement, an independent corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio. The daily Bible Study is now known as “Forward Day by Day.”
WW II, Korea, and the Vietnam War created much turmoil and challenges within Christian Communities.
Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP) – One of the outstanding success stories of the Brotherhood was its work with Rev. Dr. Paul Rusch, Louisville, KY, to establish KEEP in Japan. The program, begun in 1949, was designed to help the people of Japan become more productive in farming methods due to the limited land available. With the cooperation of the Japanese government, an experimental farm was established in Kiyosato, Japan, which attracted many farmers eager to learn new techniques. The true center of Bro. Paul’s effort was in the Andrew Chapel, where he helped reestablish the Brotherhood’s ministry, which began in 1902. (It is still thriving today as the American Committee for KEEP. Headquarters, Louisville, KY.)
Faith Alive – Is an outstanding parish renewal program begun by Brothers Andrew to fill a need,for renewal in the Episcopal Church. Faith Alive is now a separate corporation with its own leadership management, distinct from the Brotherhood. Brotherhood President Fred C. Gore (1964-1969) was instrumental in his 1970 birth.
PEWSAction/Reconcilers for Christ – This ‘umbrella’ organization covered most of the fellowships in the Episcopal Church, which were committed to Prayer, Evangelism, Worship, and Service when it began in 1973. The organization disbanded in 1996. Brothers Andrew conceived the concept and need for this type of organization and set about promoting and organizing it. PEWSAction-sponsored conferences were tremendously Important in promoting renewal and evangelism within Episcopal churches in the United States.
President Geraldo O. Balcom (1984-1989) accepted an invitation from the Archbishop of the Philippines during his administration to renew ties between the two men’s ministry communities. He said he was well received. He was very pleased to see the relationship between the church and the Daughters of the King, Junior Brotherhood Chapters, and Brothers Andrew members. Meanwhile, efforts on the African continent had been launched before his trip over the Pacific Ocean.
Baale Farm Project
This project was begun in 1983 as an outreach program to the people in Baale, Uganda, a farm village in the newly formed Mukono Diocese of the Anglican Church of Uganda.
Initially, the program involved the support of a teaching farm for local people to become self-reliant, as much of their leadership had been lost under Idi Amin’s rule. Funds were given for a chicken farm, building a home for and supporting the lay reader/teacher, rebuilding St. Andrew’s Church, and help for the parish school program. Two container shipments of building materials, a tractor, farm implements, seeds, bicycles, and clothing were sent. This resulted in establishing the Brotherhood in Uganda under the local leadership and sponsorship of a Bishop who is now retired, Archbishop Livingstone M. Nkoyoyo. A local BStA evangelism program has since reached out to most of Uganda and the remote islands in Lake Victoria. After several visits from brothers from the U. S., it was decided there was a great need for a water tanker, which the Brotherhood purchased from a firm in India in 1992. Under Bishop Nkoyoyo’s direction, the tanker truck was used to bring fresh water to the refugees from the Rwandan war, resulting in the saving of thousands of lives.
In 1994 an orphanage was established to protect the local orphans. From the original 42 children, it has grown to an average enrollment of 70. Many of the children reaching the age of 18 have gone on to additional schooling at the local Christian University or a Vocational School. In July 2001, during a visit by the Brotherhood’s then President, J. Vincent Welch, the orphanage was dedicated as the Archbishop Nkoyoyo Children’s Home.
This launch in Uganda created an impetus for the National Office to become active once again in International Chapter Development. Consequently, men’s ministry communities within the Anglican Communion took off in Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Antigua, Anguilla, Grenada, St. Kitts, Barbados, and Chile. The Havana Cuba BStA Congress met in October 2001.
President J. Vincent Welch (1997-2003) traveled to Uganda in July 2001 to dedicate the orphanage with the official name, Archbishop Nkoyoyo Children’s Home.
Other new ministries were launched in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ghana, and Zambia.
Tornadoes, explosions, hurricanes, and tsunamis
Unfortunately, a flurry of tornadoes, explosions, hurricanes, and tsunamis meant ministry funds had to be diverted to emergency operations in the U.S. and Japan. But a larger concern became self-evident: The Brotherhood membership was getting older and, like the membership in the Episcopal Church, smaller.
The average age of the Brothers was 60, and the national financial structure was teetering toward a collapse. President Ron Warfuel sounded the alarm in 2003. He appointed a special Ad Hoc Committee to develop new guidelines for the National Council to adopt that would financially put the organization back on relatively solid ground.
The Anglican Church of North America
Right after Br. Warfuel’s re-election in 2006 The General Convention of the Episcopal Church was confronting the issue of ordaining homosexuals to the clergy ranks. Concurrently, the first female presiding bishop was elected. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori was a proponent of gay and lesbian clergy. The House of Deputies and House of Bishops supported the decision to openly welcome homosexuals. This was a doctrinal issue. A profound split ensued, with numerous parishes leaving the Episcopal Church to join the Anglican Church of North America.
In the end, around 10 percent of the Brotherhood’s membership went to the ACNA. The Brotherhood decided to stand by its Rule of Life based on Prayer, Study, and Service. Doctrine and Church politics were something to be avoided. The Daughters of the King, whose Rule of Life is founded on Prayer, Study, and Evangelism opted to keep their chapter rooms open to ACNA members, too. Politically the Brotherhood was neutral. Remained as such going forward.
125th Anniversary – 2008
In 2008 Brothers returned to Chicago to celebrate its 125th Anniversary. The Triennial offered methods Brothers could use to bring men and youth to Jesus Christ. Senior Vice President Ken Evans unveiled “A National Plan for Rebuilding the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.”
Inopportunely, the secular world was teetering on a Great Recession with the subprime mortgage fallout. The National Council voted for a new Houghteling Memorial Trust board of trustees. These Trustees opted to withhold normal distributions from the operating budget for the next five years while the fund assets had time to grow.
President Warfuel had horrific challenges: Budget in the red; no House of Bishop’s support due to our neutral stance on doctrine; ACNA defections; and the subsequent negative feelings in the local parishes.
Br. Roberts Dennis, NY, was elected as the 28th President on June 27, 2009, at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Atlanta. Budget problems and the Foundation Trustee relationship plagued him throughout the next six years. Many of his efforts were laying the groundwork for change.
Under his leadership, all the Brotherhood literature was rewritten: A Field Operations Reference Manual, a new Chapter Reference Manual, a Junior Brotherhood Reference Manual, and a Junior Chapter Sponsor’s Guide. Several Brotherhood documents were translated into French and Spanish.
As a cost-saving effort, the St. Andrew Cross went digital. Inadvertently, this had a negative effect since over half of the aging demographics were not internet savvy. Near the end of his term, quarterly printed editions were coming back in search for newer ideas to address the shrinking men’s ministry population, Br. Dennis went outside normal channels. He forged relationships with the National Coalition of Ministry to Men, Man in the Mirror, and the Denominational Men’s Ministry Leaders (DMML). These activities would pay big dividends in the future.
Numerous PowerPoint presentations were completed for use with prospective chapter visits or educating members on how-to ministry opportunities. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood increased its outreach to the Anglican Communion, letting them know they were still welcome in our circle of men’s ministry. The Prison Ministry also was growing and making an impact in several locations.
Becoming Good Listeners willing to make changes – 2010 to 2020
Every organization has peaks and valleys at various times. How they manage such situations determines whether they will survive over time. Two things must happen for a turnaround story to develop. One is the willingness to change. Secondly, develop a lesson’s learned approach through listening to their stakeholders. Bottom line the Brotherhood was ready to identify its flaws, develop a plan, then implement it in all earnest.
The men’s ministry community church-wide was turning into a funeral parlor clear across the country in 2010. Memberships were down, chapters were going dark, financial reserves were bleak from the 2007 Great Recession, and a clear direction for the future was absent. President Robert Dennis took this observation to the Brotherhood’s National Council. Senior Leadership employed prayer and soul-searching discernment. Father God, would you lead us into a new direction. The leaders concluded; it was time to act.
(A real story on prayer follows with the Lord making decisions and then acting anonymously.)
The Executive Board formed an Ad Hoc committee to create questions for a general membership feedback operation. The Communications/PR Vice President chaired this committee. The challenge of how to get the questionnaire out to the stakeholders ensued. By coincidence, the committee chair, Jeffrey K. Butcher, met a brother [David Miller] from Gainesville, FL. Leo Dugger, diocesan coordinator, made the introduction possible. Br. Miller specialized in running public opinion research using a vehicle called Survey Monkey. He offered to facilitate a survey pro bono. Twenty-four questions evolved. Over five hundred members responded. Over a dozen answers were brutal. Others went right to the point:
- Need a new rebranding approach
- Programs should be useful at the local level
- Start advertising and promoting a new era
- Bring the printed St. Andrew Cross back from strictly digital
- Recruit younger people
- Adopt a concerted effort to use social media
- Get the clergy to recognize us as a relevant organization
- Seek out Bishop endorsements
- Fundraising enhancements
- One vote for every chapter
Brotherhood leaders took the responses to heart. Change was evident. “We were like a U. S. Navy Aircraft Carrier that travels six miles in the Pacific Ocean before it can come to a complete stop. This was not going to happen overnight either,” the committee chair Butcher stipulated.
The National Council released the survey results. A small group raised a red flag. “This was the way we did things in the past.” Three items needed alterations before any serious transformation could evolve.
- Constitution and By-law changes making Vice Presidents appointed vs elected
- The Foundation Trustees’ structure needed modernization
- Additional funds over and above annual dues were necessary
The National Council acted in 2015 and 2016. The new Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Mesa, Arizona, council meeting. This was the largest national conclave in over a decade. He was the first Presiding Bishop to address the body in over 20 years. The Presiding Bishop, a 30-year Life Member, also became the Honorary National Council President according to the constitution. Thus, the new journey was underway in grand style.
At this meeting additional funding for a five-year rebuilding effort on 23-13 National Council Member vote commenced. Another prayer was answered anonymously. The Foundation Trustees became identified as the Executive Board’s investment arm.
Concurrently, the National Chaplain, Bishop Paul Lambert administered the oath of office to four new vice-presidents: Ed Milbrada, Youth/Scouting; Tom Martin, Discipleship/Mentoring; Colonel John Patton, Veterans; and Dr. Ed Davis, Restorative Justice. Each VP was an advocate for their respective mission. The men’s ministry community now had four distinct missions. The question became, what do we do now? Prior to these appointments, a call went out for sincere prayer and discernment to determine if the body was making the right decision.
Concurrently, the National Council announced the first Strategic Planning Executive Board session in Louisville, Kentucky, in December 2016. Louisville had been operating as a virtual office since the previous building in Ambridge, Pennsylvania was torn down in September 2015. Unexpectedly, Br. Bill Receveur, from the St. Francis-in-the Fields Chapter said he might have room for the Brotherhood in his building on S 3rd Street. Another strange coincidence told us we should move the National Office Headquarters to Louisville. The Executive approved this offer. President Butcher signed a five-year lease. The rebranding format was underway.
VP Colonel Patton, the Veterans Affairs committee chair, had to step down due to family situations. Everett Price assumed his position.
The National Executive Council consummated a Strategic Plan covering a 1, 3, 5, and 7-year period. It encompassed plans to hire a part-time executive director; approved office relocation to Louisville; accepted a new Brotherhood shield design; launched plans to have 26 regional workshops to Train, Education, Recruit, and Motivate individual members using a missional ministry fair format; and accept the Strategic Plan.
A month later the new Veterans Affairs VP Everett Price and President Butcher met the Executive Director for the Military Chaplains Association to strengthen the Brotherhood’s relationship around the Veterans Friendly Congregation Initiative.
The next day Brothers Butcher and Price witnessed the consecration for Suffragan Bishop for the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries, Bishop (USAF Major Chaplain) Carl Wright Carl Wright. Both men grew up in the south. Butcher was a “cradle” Episcopalian. Price was a convert from another protestant denomination. Neither had ever encountered the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE). PB Curry officiated. The Sermon came from Rev’d Canon Harold T. Lewis, Ph.D. He had been PB Curry and Bishop Wright’s homiletics instructor. He gave a 40-minute African American history lesson within the Episcopal Church. In fact, these two Executive Board members were part of the European minority attending. This was quite an educational experience, both men later remarked. Moreover, the pulpit revelations brought a gut-wrenching emotional response.
President said, “Our presence was not a coincidence. I later found out that the Brotherhood of St. Andrew at St. James parish Baltimore was the driving force for his entry into seminary. This same St. James parish was the one PB Curry was the rector prior to becoming a Bishop in the church.”
In March 2017, the Kentucky Diocese presented a program on Racial Reconciliation and Healing in Louisville at St. Andrew’s parish. A direct descendent from the DeWolfe family showed a historical video on the slave trade in the 1800’s. It was very moving. The speaker vividly pointed out that the Colonial Anglican churches had huge foundations built on the slave trade from Africa. Following the presentation, the Brotherhood’s 29th President knew that the men’s ministry community must step forward to carry this message forward. Question, how?
On Sunday morning in his meditation period, he explained, “I asked the Lord for guidance.” The Union of Black Episcopalians had been around for over 45 years. Why hadn’t the Brotherhood formed a partnership with this group? (A quite little voice inside me said, “Here I am Lord what do you want me to do.” (I Kings 19:12 KJV) “Trust me,” this will happen shortly.)
Later that day a message went out to the Province Presidents, Senior VP Jack Hanstein, and National Council Chairman, Dr. Dick (Hoop) Hooper. “Senior Leadership Team is it time for us to consider creating a Vice President position for Racial Reconciliation and Healing. Do any of you have a resolute African American who would volunteer to take this assignment and run with it? Please let us all enter a period of prayer and discernment for God to send someone. Carpe Diem, jb”
Four days later Hoop calls, “I have someone for you, his name is Br. Joseph McDaniel from Pensacola, Florida. Hooper went on to say he was a recovering attorney from New York City, an UBE member, and fully vetted with the PB’s Task Force on Racial Reconciliation.” (This was not a coincidence.) Brother Butcher interviewed the potential candidate. Br. McDaniel wanted to pray over the invitation. The president reached him 4 hours later. “I am in,” he said. Subsequently, for the first time in Brotherhood history a vice president for Racial Reconciliation and Healing would be an Executive Board member. Mission five was real. This was March 2017.
Jack Hanstein’s Personnel Committee had been advertising for an Executive Director. They had three candidates. This group drew up interview questions. Consequently, they checked references for any red flags. A Zoom video was next. The Committee gave the completed job description and salary to each candidate. The committee members also concluded they would be open to negotiations.
Following the three interviews, the committee concluded Thomas Andrew Welch, MS, was the choice. Subsequently, the president drove to Jackson, Mississippi for the hiring interview.
Tom Welch arrived mid-June 2017 to start work. The last Executive Director (ED), David Wilson was the previous position holder in 1992. President Jerry Myers did not renew Br. Wilson’s contract. A month later ED Welch met the National Council Members in Louisville for the 2017 Brotherhood conclave.
The hectic Regional Workshop meeting schedule resumed. Moreover, so did plans to develop various networks with key church organizations, for example Forward Movement and the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Churches (CEEP). Senior VP Jack Hanstein, Province VII President Roy Benavides, and “interim” ED Tom Welch were beginning to lead their own meetings within their span of control.
Springfield Missouri was another key marker for the men’s ministry community in September 2017. Br. Michael “Mike” McDonnell was an extremely resolute individual in the Human Trafficking arena. The Brotherhood held their very first gathering focused on Social Justice – Human Trafficking slave trade. Fr. Brian McVey, Church of the Advent, Nashville, Tennessee was there, too. Br. McDonnell had heard the Tennessee Churchmen story. He called the priest. His only request was transportation and lodging expenses. The National President said he would find the money, and proceed.
During the August 2016 Tennessee Churchmen’s Conference, one key man first introduced a potential topic surrounding Human Trafficking slave trade. He remarked he had heard Rev. Brian McVey present the very dark side of this issue. Fr. McVey was an advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope concerning international slave trading networks. Another anonymous seed planted for a later day.
President Butcher also made the trip to Socorro, Minnesota, the following weekend. He felt one more session would be appropriate to observe. Women showed up at this gathering. They had two or three good questions indicating an ardent desire to combat this scourge. McVey and McDonnell continued to display great passion and knowledge.
Upon returning to Louisville, additional discernment, and a discussion with the senior leadership group. Thus, a new VP position for Social Justice-Human Trafficking resulted. Br. Mike accepted the offer with the understanding all he could serve was two years. No problem, raise your right hand. On October 1, 2017, the 6th mission became such.
These various missions were based on listening to the members in the trenches. It was also an Executive Board consensus vote. For the record, the Executive Board started having monthly Free Conference Calling sessions in August 2015. This continued until the Zoom meeting concept emerged in early 2017. This body replaced the cumbersome National Council Meeting held annually. The men’s ministry community needed to meet monthly vs once per year for a group decision. Otherwise, the National President in an unattainable position as the only decision maker. Each month the EB received recommendations for any major decision for a vote. It also gave the picture of a unified leadership group.
Five other significant issues developed in October from a planning standpoint: Trademark new shield; Purchase state of the art exhibit booth; Triennial National Council meeting; historic visit to the Presiding Bishop’s Office; 7-member Bishop Advisory Council; and Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) relationship rebuilding.
It was now apparent that the National Council had a rock-solid foundation. Br. Welch became a full-time staff member. On a monthly basis the new networking strategy expanded. This all started when President Butcher stood up in a CEEP meeting at the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC February 2017. “My name is Jeff Butcher; my congregation has 5,000 members and is growing. We are the men’s ministry community through the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.” It felt like the entire room, especially men looked up and smiled.”
On May 8, 2018, the National President and Executive Director walked into the Presiding Bishop’s Office for the first time in 28 years. The Most Reverend Michael Curry, a 30-year Brotherhood Life Member greeted them with open arms. The 45-minute meeting ran over another 30 minutes. The two men came as servants as part of the Jesus Movement. The major request, not money, was for the PB to appoint a 7-member Bishop Advisory Council for the National President. For us to become relevant once again we needed the Purple behind our brothers and sisters. Request granted, send him the names and a letter it would be honored.
It had been over 2-decades since the National President had a Bishop’s Advisory Council. The Presiding Bishop appointed specific bishops assigned to one of the current missions. This made for an excellent relationship. The formal introduction came at the National Council Triennial meeting in Austin in July 2018. All the elected officers received unanimous consent to serve another three-year term.
Concurrently, the convention committee set up the new traveling 3-panel exhibit on the General Convention Floor for a seven-day run before heading back to Louisville. It was next to the Boy Scouts of America booth.
Over the next six months, the Brotherhood became a life member of the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE). Br. Welch also became the first Brotherhood National Office representative to ever address the UBE. Regional Workshops, men’s retreats and convention attendance with booths exceeded expectations.
Recovery Programs was the 7th mission added to the missional menu in October 2018. Karl Colder, a 30-year plus veteran with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) at the urging of his close friend William Conrad Jones stepped forward to lead the men’s ministry Recovery Ministry. Br. Karl was the Virginia Governor’s Opioid Crisis Task Force the TEC Recovery group. This committee also includes alcohol and pornography.
Br. Mark Demler, Dallas, TX replaced VP Mike McDonnell on April 1, 2019.
In May 2019, just before the Executive Board gathering, President Butcher travelled to 815 in lower Manhattan to see Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson for the annual report to the Presiding Bishop. Canon Mark was the primary contact for men’s ministry. This meeting went very well. Canon was extremely interested in the 26 target sites for Regional Meetings.
The Executive Board Strategic Planning Council 2.0 meeting evaluated the blind spots, accomplishments, and plans for the next 1, 3, and 5 years. The Executive Board announced all 2015 targets completed. Brotherhood supporters and stakeholders received these updates through constant contact and direct mail.
The biggest surprise came about in August when the House of Bishops extended an invite to address the group at their Minnesota September meeting. The last time the National President received such an invitation was 1932. The ED and Board Chairman hired a local crew to produce a 4-minute Podcast. The House of Bishops gave positive feedback including the face-to-face meetings Tom Welch conducted that day. Comments included “nice to see your back;” “see me when you are in the area”; and “We have a need for you, now.” The Podcast was on the Web Page, Facebook, and YouTube.
Immediately after this appearance Senior VP Hanstein and ED Welsh went out to Seattle, WA. The two worked their way down to San Diego, CA. They saw 10-chapter groups, 6 bishops and/or staffs, and interviewed three new diocesan coordinators.
As the year ended the participation totals indicated 21 Regional Workshops attracted around 730 brothers and sisters; the National President had visited 45 different dioceses during the preceding 18 months; and Province Presidents/EB members had attended 23 diocesan conventions. Moreover, the senior leaders had almost 40 one on one visits with diocesan bishops.
Meanwhile, the National President attended the ACNA Provisional Synod in Chicago, Diocese of Quincy Synod and the Diocese of South Carolina Men’s Ministry retreat on Johns Island, SC.
Entering 2020, the National Brotherhood and National Daughters of the King had formed a new bond to put on a National Day of Service and to observe the National Day of Prayer together. The two organizations had previously made such efforts in 2006.