The Episcopal Church’s oldest ministry is also one of its most effective.

By Jim Goodson

The Brotherhood of St. Andrew has been bringing men and young men to Jesus Christ for 133 years since its founding on the cold, wintry day of Nov. 30, 1883, at St. James’ Episcopal Church in downtown Chicago.

Homeless men were sleeping on the city’s downtown streets – and it was these men the fledgling Brotherhood wanted to save.

Today, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew is a worldwide ministry with chapters in Africa, Japan, the Philippines, Great Britain, Canada, Haiti and the United States.

Its 4,192 members in 357 U.S. chapters perform myriad ministries, from building and operating a medical mission ship to sponsoring homes for women and children-in-need. Brothers are quick to respond with both manpower and money during national emergencies, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and during the deadly year of 2013, when an explosion devastated the town of West, Texas, a tornado levelled Moore, Oklahoma and tsunami struck northern Japan.

Brothers raised funds, put together teams that visited each of these sites, helped countless people by delivering supplies, cooked meals for first responders and cleaned up communities and homes in each of those unfortunate places.

“We were the only game in town for a while,” New Jersey Brother Sean Garvin says about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. “Once the National Guard arrived, things were a bit more organized.” In one home, Brothers removed 9,000 pounds of sand from a basement mixed in with a family’s 80 years of memories.

Veteran Friendly Congregations

When military service men and women began coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010, Brothers organized Veteran Friendly Congregations in their churches. The concept began in Georgia and has quickly spread to seven other states – so far.

“Fifty-five million veterans were coming home unchurched,” says The Rev. Robert Certain, then rector of The Episcopal Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, home of the nation’s first Veteran Friendly Congregation. So far, 84 Veteran Friendly Congregations have been established with more on the way.

In Dallas, Brothers conduct an annual golf tournament that raises funds for Patriot Paws, an organization that provides service dogs for injured veterans. These dogs are specially trained to perform household tasks these injured veterans could not otherwise accomplish.

Restorative Justice Ministries

Another recent phenomenon has been the proliferation of restorative justice ministries all across the Brotherhood. Brothers recognize that Christ’s healing powers are needed behind prison walls and an extensive network of chapters and ministries have brought thousands of inmates to the Lord.

It’s not a new concept: one Texas church (St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Lake Jackson) created a ministry in a nearby state prison in 1985. The Brotherhood chapter inside that South Texas maximum security unit actually has more members than any Brotherhood chapter – inside or outside prison walls.

Eleven chapters are currently sending Brothers trained to conduct prison ministries in eight prisons in New Jersey, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Indiana and California. In addition, many Brothers take part in Kairos prison ministries.

Boy Scouts of America

One of the ways the Brotherhood brings young men to Jesus Christ is through its 106-year relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.

Both are dedicated to bringing youth to know God. Both were chartered by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Teddy Roosevelt.

The 25-year-old Brotherhood was officially incorporated as a result of House Bill 16757 signed by President Roosevelt on May 30, 1908.

The Boy Scouts of America was officially incorporated on February 8, 1910.

The Brotherhood regularly supplies Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts with Bibles for each Scout. Scouting meetings have been held at Episcopal churches for decades. More than 1,300 Scouting units are housed in Episcopal churches.

Most Brotherhood chapters make regular contributions to the Scouts and many Brothers are Scoutmasters.

Discipleship training

Discipleship training has always been a big part of the Brotherhood’s credo of study, prayer and service. Many chapters use a Brotherhood adaptation of the No Man Left Behind discipleship program that’s a proven way to broaden and enhance the spirituality of all the men in one’s parish.

In October, 2011 Brother Dick Hooper presented the first training session in Concord, North Carolina. Two months later he offered sessions in his own Central Gulf Coast diocese. Brothers from the Florida diocese attended training sessions in March, 2012 followed by Texas training sessions in May 2012.

At the June, 2012 National Council meeting in Nashville, Brothers agreed to fund No Man Left Behind training. In August 2012 the No Man Left Behind training sessions moved northward to Hempstead, New York. Nineteen Brothers from Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau received training to take back to their chapters.

So far, more than 100 Brothers in seven states have been trained.

National Service Day

In 2013, the Brotherhood introduced the National Service Day. More than 100 new service projects have been undertaken by chapters to repair cabins at a diocesan camp, build a community center parking lot, cook and serve meals at an emergency shelter for women with children, conduct a workday at a center which serves African-American youth and senior citizens, complete a landscaping project and
provide funds for summer youth camp computers, to name just a few.

“Perhaps the most satisfying thing about National Service Day is the way Brotherhood chapters organize service projects that involve the entire parish,” former president Bob Dennis, who created the concept, says. With 357 chapters each performing at least three major service projects per year, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew reaches thousands of men and young men as well as women and young women’

The modern Brotherhood of St. Andrew with its global reach began in the aforementioned small downtown Chicago parish that grew into St. James’ Cathedral, which contains a chapel that’s the spiritual home of the Brotherhood.

Early history

Chicago in 1883 was the most masculine of U.S. cities. A thousand trains a day entered or left the Lake Michigan metropolis, dumping thousands of men seeking work in the city’s factories, mills and hog-butchering plants. It was recently named the nation’s second-largest city, much to the chagrin of Philadelphia, whose denizens griped that Chicago was growing simply by annexing large tracts of industrial space that ringed the often frozen lake.

Chicago didn’t care. Big was big, no matter how it occurred.

The Brotherhood of St. Andrew was founded at St. James’ Episcopal Church – not by the wealthiest and most successful men of the elegant downtown cathedral, but by scores of working men adrift in the cavernous city.

In that era, woman dominated American Protestant churches. Critics such as pioneer psychologist G. Stanley Hall pointed to the imbalance of women to men in the pews. They also contended that women’s influence in church had led to an overabundance of sentimental hymns, effeminate clergymen and sickly-sweet images of Jesus.

These things were repellent to real men and boys, who argued that males would avoid church until feminized Protestantism gave way to muscular Christianity, a strenuous religion for a strenuous life.

Muscular Christianity as a movement had already begun – its greatest accomplishment so far was the establishment of the Young Men’s Christian Association, from which the sport of basketball would emerge under the direction of YMCA coach James Naismith.

The notion of a feminized Episcopal church appalled St. James’ layman James L. Houghteling, who is often credited with founding the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Brother Houghteling’s contributions to the success of the Brotherhood are legendary, but in a famous article that appeared in one of the first editions of the St. Andrews Cross, Brother Houghteling gives the credit to the power of prayer and the efforts of 13 original Brothers who were determined to bring men to the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the spread of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew is not that it was so successful – in just seven years the Brotherhood was flourishing with more than 15,000 members in 17 countries – but the speed in which it grew. How did the Brotherhood grow so quickly in an era with little – if any – mass communications? Two months after the initial chapter at St. James’ parish, another Chicago chapter was formed at Grace Episcopal Church with 14 members. Then Philadelphia jumped into the fray, forming chapters at the Church of the Incarnation and the Church of the Holy Comforter on Nov. 30 – St. Andrew’s Day.

These first four chapters took a year to be organized, but the organization was developing a style for growth that would soon quickly pay off. The rector of Grace Church (the second chapter formed) proved to be an important early supporter of the Brotherhood. After only one year, he wrote in the St. Andrew’s Cross that the Brotherhood has been very effectual in “deepening the religious life of the young men communicants, in inciting them to a greater earnestness in work for the Church, in interesting strangers and associating themselves with the parish, in bringing young men to baptism and confirmation and in assisting me in every good work.

“I thank God for raising up this instrument for good.”

And so the Brotherhood became successful because its method was so very simple. Once this exercise crystallized into action, Brothers seeking to make a living in the large, often frightening cities of the turn-of-the-century United States, learned to live nearer to Christ, emboldening themselves and becoming happier in the process.

Chapter number five at the Church of the Epiphany in Chicago utilized printed cards of invitation and reserved seating in the pews. The initial edition of the St. Andrew’s Cross reported “a large increase in the number of young men connected with the parish, among whom a social club has been formed.”

Word was beginning to spread about this new men’s group that could double Sunday attendance. Rectors realized that the Brotherhood could help the church accomplish many projects that had been postponed, delayed or downright forgotten about due to the lack of a solid, committed group of churchmen.

“Gratifying results” were reported by chapter number six at Trinity Church in Newark, New Jersey and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in East Saginaw, Michigan informed the St. Andrew’s Cross editor that “many young men (were) brought back who had wandered away, and many strangers (were) brought in. A parish paper has been published and we help the rector in all parish work.”

Chapters were soon formed in Augusta, Maine; Detroit (three); Cleveland; Philadelphia (three); Rockford, Illinois; Mount Holly, New Jersey; New Haven, Connecticut; Chicago (three more); Indianapolis; Irving Park, Illinois and Minneapolis.

The first chapter in Philadelphia owes its start to the earnest effort of a member of the original chapter who, being a mechanic and out of work, arrived in that city on foot. He was neither rich, handsome nor eloquent, but he feared God, loved the Brotherhood and meant business from the start. When he had persuaded them to start, he went to work with his own hands and frescoed and decorated the rooms for the use of the Brotherhood.

These first 20 chapters were formed in less than three years. James L. Houghteling – the Sunday School teacher who was instrumental in forming the first chapter – had a hand in forming chapter number 27 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Chicago. He was asked, “What is the secret of success in this work?”

Houghteling’s answer reflected the simplicity woven into the organization’s by-laws. “The power of God in the hands of praying, working Christian men,” the Brotherhood’s founder said.

People visiting Episcopal churches began to witness a different kind of Anglican Church. In 1885 the Brotherhood – only two years old – unveiled what Brothers called their Lay Mission Program. It was an evangelistic outreach into the small communities around the East Coast and Midwestern cities that were the Brotherhood’s bread-and-butter. The technique was to seek out those not connected to any Christian church, to knock on doors and invite people to “come and see” an Episcopal worship service. What they ever-increasingly saw was a men-led church led by Brotherhood members who served as lay
readers and who conducted Morning Prayer and Evensong. Brothers also taught church schools and led Bible study classes for adults.

This revolution occurred during a time of a severe shortage of clergy. Many Brothers helped out in mission churches and hundreds of Brothers entered seminaries to be ordained and serve our Lord full time.

The Brotherhood engendered tremendous respect right from the start. In 1886, 85 delegates signed up to attend the first National Convention of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew on Saturday, Oct. 23 — the same day as a meeting of the House of Bishops, although few noticed it at the time.

So when the momentous event occurred – the House of Bishops meeting that is – word quickly spread that an army of highly-sought disciples known as Brothers were patiently waiting outside the gates of the Chicago Cathedral for their first national meeting, the House of Bishops graciously deferred their debate on the canons and resolutions occupying the church of the late 19th Century to turn the St. James’ facilities over to the these bands of Brothers, whose main thrust was how to bring more people – especially men and boys – to the Lord.

In 1886 the Episcopal Church adopted the Brotherhood’s Lay Mission Program as its official Lay Reader Program. The missionary zeal of the Brotherhood began to spread throughout the colonies and former colonies of the former British Empire. Episcopal and Anglican churches in the USA, England, Scotland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, the West Indies, South Africa, China and Japan began to see chapters of this dynamic Brotherhood of St. Andrew.

No atheists in foxholes

Membership in the Brotherhood reached its largest level during World War I and recorded similar spikes during World War II and the Korean Conflict. Even today there are still many chapters in South Korea.

During World War I the Brotherhood stepped in to fill a much-needed void. The original plan called for the YMCA to handle all Christian lay ministries during what was called The Great War. To the Brotherhood, it was obvious at once that the YMCA approach was to encourage men to write home regularly and to provide a place to play cards and shoot pool.

The Brotherhood saw things differently. Its goal was to bring men to Christ and to serve their Godly needs. Just before the Good Friday which marked America’s entrance into the war, two Brotherhood leaders from Philadelphia – Benjamin Finney and G. Frank Shelby – entered into a long discussion about the opportunities to serve God the Great War would provide. Within days, they had contacted the Brotherhood’s National Council and its President E.H. Bonsall, outlining a mammoth project to put every single serviceman into contact with the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.

Working out of Church House at the intersection of Twelfth and Walnut streets in Philadelphia, courtesy of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, a staff of stenographers and clerks tracked the comings and goings of officers, soldiers and sailors of the Army and Navy. In response to letters written to bishops, clergy, Brotherhood chapters and chaplains from the Army and Navy, Red Cross, YMCA and rectors from churches, thousands of names were received.

The Brotherhood’s efficiency was quickly demonstrated when a request for the names of all chaplains in all branches of the services – and where and who they were serving – could only be supplied by the Brotherhood, which produced the list almost instantly.

This massive card catalogue project became known as The Great Honor Roll of The Church. Once Brotherhood secretaries began making rounds at the camps, they found the Army and Navy full of earnest, Christian servicemen with the same desire and willingness to witness for the Master and spread His kingdom they had demonstrated in civilian life. The obvious plan was to seek out these men and muster them for constructive Christian service among their comrades.

So the question is: How well did all this work? Did the Brotherhood succeed in bringing men to Christ during World War I? We turn to statistics.

Cold statistics can be deceiving. There is no way to measure the effects of holding someone’s hand as he waits for a medic; of getting letters from parishioners back home; of having someone to talk to and pray with on long, cold nights – and of learning that eternal life is possible through Jesus Christ.

Statistics were kept, however, on the number of men who were baptized and confirmed during The Great War. A total of 679 soldiers asked to be baptized and 1,247 asked to be confirmed. Brothers brought 326 of the men to be baptized (48 percent of the total) and 787 to be confirmed (63 percent), which demonstrates the effectiveness of the Brotherhood secretaries assigned to the Army and Navy camps and bases.

In other words, at least half – and probably more – of the men who met Jesus during World War I did so because of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Additionally, 174 soldiers said they wanted to present themselves as candidates for Holy Orders.

The work of the Brotherhood was never more important. Brave Brotherhood secretaries carried out their work in barracks, mess halls, hospitals and debarkation centers, where the day and night ministrations were particularly inspiring. While the in the-field secretaries were ministering to the in-the field soldiers, the Central Office, after receiving reports from the secretaries, was sending out letters to the soldiers plus their families, letting everyone know the Brotherhood of St. Andrew was ministering to their sons and dads. Plus, each soldier received a copy of the current edition of the St. Andrew’s Cross. In all, 102,915 copies of the St. Andrew’s Cross were distributed in this way.

The Central Office vowed to fulfill any request made of the Brotherhood by any soldier. And with the cooperation of many agencies, including the Church Periodical Club, the Red Cross and many individual donors, all requests – 450 in all, were filled.

At its peak, the Brotherhood employed 78 stenographers, secretaries and clerks, who kept up with every soldier being ministered to. This Great Honor Roll of the Church, would prove to be invaluable to the Brotherhood in the years to come. It would also be invaluable to the soldiers themselves, who often needed help adjusting to “normal life” after participating in the bloody, mechanized Great War.

When the Armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, the attitude of all the men in the service immediately changed. They had been preparing for frightful warfare and probable death. Suddenly, the prospect of returning to home, hearth and their previous life was real.

The men were returning home very rapidly and faced a variety of problems in readjustment that could not be solved by big parades, streets decorated with bunting, speeches and large social functions. Many clergymen recognized this problem and urged the Church to do something about it. The bishops of the Church agreed, issuing a statement that the war work would not be finished “until our soldiers and sailors are safe again in their homes.”

The bishops designed a program of work called The Parish Plan. Noting the success of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, and especially the importance of the Brotherhood secretaries, who had been living with the men in their camps for two years, the bishops offered the Brotherhood the opportunity to operate and oversee The Parish Plan. Seizing the day, the Brotherhood jumped at the chance.

Brotherhood secretaries were quickly withdrawn from the camps, given one week to get their affairs in order and then sent back into the field – this time the parishes and churches of the Episcopal Church (some secretaries were sent to the Churches of Christ, whose federal council had been early and unwavering supporters of the Brotherhood plan. The American Red Cross was also an enthusiastic supporter of The Parish Plan).

The fast-moving Brotherhood secretaries held 1,165 meetings with church laymen from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. They talked with rectors and lay leaders about the best way to integrate the servicemen back into civilian life. Because of the nature of World War I, the secretaries didn’t realize at the time how important this would prove to be and how ahead of the times they were.

World War I was a modern war fought with ancient battle plans. New, terrifying killing inventions such as the machine gun, tanks, flamethrowers and germ and chemical warfare were deployed along the front lines, which were proving obsolete and outmatched against the new machinery. Long, hand-dug trenches were built throughout Europe, just as they had been in the Civil War. Soldiers felt hopeless – their mud bunkers were no match against bombs dropped from high altitudes.

It didn’t take long for people to realize that the serviceman they said goodbye to at the start of the war was psychologically different upon his return. Many were said to be “shell-shocked,” a condition heretofore unknown; today we call it “post-traumatic stress disorder.” The pronounced difference in the mental state of many of the returning soldiers brought about the term “the Lost Generation,” referring to the veterans of World War I.

Meanwhile, the Central Office was following the men as they were being demobilized by watching the reports of the movements of military units. A letter of welcome was sent to each returning serviceman and the rector of their home church was notified. In all, 729 churches out of the 1,165 that existed during World War I organized church welcoming committees, thanks to the work of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.

The Forward Movement

Perhaps it was because so many young men died during the Great War.

Maybe the Great Depression’s devastating impact on American families made Brothers more aware of the needs of young people. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew, which performed so admirably in ministering to servicemen during World War, turned its attention toward youth during the 1920s and 1930s. In addition to helping grow its “brother” organization the Boy Scouts of America, the Brotherhood itself operated 14 camps nationwide, where it introduced young people to leadership training and many other skills young men would need to create a world devoted to God and void of Great Wars and Great Depressions.

To go back to the thinking of that era, one must try as best as one can to ignore the still-to happen rise of Nazism and World War II. In the 1920s and 1930s it was not considered naïve to long for pacification. It wasn’t really radical to dream of a world without war. In fact, it was the predominant line of thinking, the reason President Woodrow Wilson supported the League of Nations and, if you can imagine, the reason the Brotherhood of St. Andrew operated youth camps, mostly in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest.

Despite winning World War I and overcoming the devastation of the Great Depression, church-going Americans often felt adrift in the 1930s, a quiet but critical time in the life of the Episcopal Church, Christianity and the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Everyone could see the rapid rise of godless atheism in Europe, as Nazism rose to power in Germany. In America, only one-third of people who called themselves Christians attended church with any regularity.

There was great apprehension about what was ahead. Then from the rank-and-file of the pews, something amazing happened. A joint commission of five bishops, five priests and five laymen were charged with the task of “reinvigorating the life of the church and rehabilitating its work.” Many similar calls are often heard throughout the years – well-meaning but usually ineffectual. But something about the work which needed to be done struck a chord with congregations – and Brothers Andrew throughout the Episcopal Church.

The Brotherhood participated in what was to become known as the Forward Movement by pledging to build three chapters in each parish: a boy’s chapter, young men’s chapter and an adult chapter – to be completed by December 1, 1935.

The Brotherhood also established a goal of helping each existing chapter help parishes that did not have chapters to form one. Brothers contacted the rectors of nearby parishes and offered to send teams to talk with the men of the chapter-less churches and convince them of the worthiness of the Brotherhood.

The Forward Movement had two components: It began with an emphasis on personal religion Forward to Christ. The next step after personal renewal was to see what Christians could do to help the living Christ build a new and happier world Forward with Christ.

The Forward Movement did not come up with specific plans and programs, fervently believing that Christ would show each individual and group what He would have us do. And as it turned out, the Forward Movement, with the complete and all-important support of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, would become one of the most important movements in the Episcopal Church. It laid the groundwork for still-to-come renewal movements such as Faith Alive, Kairos and Pews in Action.

Unfortunately, all the good intentions of all the Brotherhood chapters, all the efforts of peacemakers everywhere, indeed, the efforts of Christians, youth and just simply good people all over the world could do nothing to halt the return of the scourge of the 20th Century – worldwide war.

Building upon its success in World War I, the Brotherhood refined its methods of keeping up with servicemen, even as the task in the U.S.’s five-year involvement in World War II proved much more difficult. The Brotherhood’s helpfulness to the military in the First World War earned it a great deal of trust among the Army and Navy brass. To its surprise, the Brotherhood found itself being recommended by U.S. Army and Naval officers. Many of the conscripts were pacifists who sought religious counseling Brotherhood chaplains were able to provide.

At the Great Lakes Naval Training Center 30 miles north of Chicago, where naval trainees go through boot camp, the Brotherhood conducted leadership training classes. Therefore, when ordered to new duty stations, these trained leaders served as chapter directors, creating new Brotherhood chapters all over the world.

Due to the international stature of the Anglican Communion, Brotherhood chapters already existed in much of the English-speaking nations. But during – and especially after – World War II Brotherhood chapters spread to non-English speaking countries and regions such as the Philippines, Korea and Japan.

Slowly, the “no atheists in foxholes effect” began to fade, as Americans found themselves astride a new world order.

It was clear that Jesus Christ was needed as never before, but as Americans saw their economy take off due to mammoth efforts to rebuild Europe and the Far East, the Brotherhood found it needed to retool its evangelical efforts. What worked in the midst of a worldwide conflagration didn’t translate to a time of economic prosperity.

It meant a return to the model of evangelism first devised by Brotherhood founder James L. Houghteling and his 13 original Sunday School class members from the streets of Chicago.

Different models worked in different locales, but in each case it was a personal style of evangelism that built up the Brotherhood – Brother by Brother, parish by parish, chapter by chapter. In Alexandria, Virginia a Brother named Ward Boswell brought 210 children to the Sunday Schools of Episcopal churches. At the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Columbia, South Carolina each Brother was assigned four men – their names were entered into a ledger – and they remained charged to that individual until they became Brothers themselves.

In Chicago a Brother who wished to remain anonymous interjected himself into the life of a family whose bread-winner was the Norwegian janitor in the apartment building in which the Brother lived. Despite our anonymous Brother’s best efforts, the janitor father was never won over to Christ, but his son was. The young man was brought into the Sunday School, founded a Junior Brotherhood chapter and eventually became one of the leading Brothers in the parish.

H. Lawrence Choate was president of the Brotherhood.

“Every politician knows it is the man-to-man work that swings the election,” Choate told Province III Brothers on Oct. 21, 1930. “Any student of psychology knows that if we wish action in any field we must normally have a private conversation so that the person sought will have an opportunity to ask questions, to express his own doubts and difficulties, in order that the person desiring to influence him may talk of his proposition in the terms of the prospect’s personal needs.

“The subject is evangelism. The emphasis is on the word ‘personal’. Preaching evangelism, educational evangelism, advertising tracts, etc., are all subsidiary. “The one thing which most influences men’s decisions, whether in the field or in secular fields, is the man-to-man contact. Men are influenced by great sermons, but they make their decisions in interviews with one or two consecrated men.”

Expansion and contraction

The Brotherhood was growing by leaps and bounds in many parts of the world, especially in Japan, the Philippines and in Korea – where the wearily-familiar “foxhole effect” made itself known during the Korean Conflict.

And thanks to the personal brand of evangelism espoused by the Brotherhood, the organization was holding its own in the U.S., at a time when the church itself was losing members at an alarming rate (who can forget the summer of 1969 edition of Time magazine that proclaimed God is Dead?)

Nevertheless, membership in the Brotherhood had dropped from a high of about 40,000 to about 6,000 in the 1970s. It was clear that something needed to happen. The church needed to be invigorated from within. Jesus Christ needed to be proclaimed and introduced to a new generation of largely unchurched young people in bold, imaginative ways.
And so the Brotherhood of St. Andrew – with its long history as the evangelical arm of the Episcopal Church – retooled itself for the task.


At the Episcopal Church General Convention of 1973, a coalition of nine Anglican organizations pushed legislation through the General Convention committing the Episcopal Church to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ through prayer, witnessing and evangelism.

Pewsaction sought and obtained formal promises from new Presiding Bishop John Allin to appoint representatives from these organizations to appropriate planning committees and action groups with full voice and vote.

The mere fact that these organizations felt compelled to introduce and pass these kinds of resolutions shows how far the Church had drifted from the very reason it exists. Social justice and liberal certainly not literal – translations of the Bible were the order of the day.

This coalition was called Pewsaction and was led by former Brotherhood of St. Andrew President Fred Gore. In addition to the Brotherhood (led at the time by President Hugh Bellas), other organizations involved were the Daughters of the King, the Conference on Religious Life, the Bible Reading Fellowship, The Episcopal Center for Evangelism, the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, the Fellowship of Witness, the religious newspaper FISH, Fishermen, Inc. and Faith Alive (also led by former Brotherhood President Fred Gore).

Brother Bellas also served as chair of the Pewsaction board and Brother Bob Kirschner, who would go on to serve as president of the Brotherhood, also served on the Pewsaction board.

Pewsaction represented a plea for the church to return to its mission and for “putting first things first in the mission of the church in full relation to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” according to its literature. The letters in the title Pewsaction stood for Prayer, Evangelism, Worship and Study.

Faith Alive

One of the most effective Pewsaction ministries is Faith Alive, which is still active and growing congregations today. This very significant ministry traces its creation directly to the Brotherhood, but quickly grew to serve seven mainline denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church.

The founders of Faith Alive were Brothers Andrew. Brother Gore, president of the Brotherhood from 1964 to 1970, was helped by The Rev. Sam Shoemaker in the founding of Faith Alive. Brother Shoemaker was the rector of Calvary Church in New York City and is credited with creating the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Tailored for each congregation it serves, Faith Alive provides Christians an opportunity to reexamine the promises that we made, or were made for us, at our baptism and again when we were confirmed.

The Faith Alive Weekend is primarily a time to rethink what these promises mean to each of us, and time is taken during Sunday’s services, for those who desire, to make a new commitment or a recommitment to the Lord.

Faith Alive is not a teaching ministry. There are no lectures. Members of a number of churches throughout the state, and perhaps beyond, come to churches to lead a Faith Alive Weekend. Its role is to be facilitators. They do not come to teach or preach. They may be asked to share what it has meant to them to make Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives, but mostly they are used to lead small groups.

The result is always an invigoration. Church attendance – really the only true measure of a parish’s effectiveness – always increases but, even more important, lives are transformed. Families grow closer together as Jesus Christ is returned to His rightful place as the center of church and family life.

Meaningful ministries

Even as the Episcopal Church struggled with dropping numbers and a series of controversies, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew found itself fortunate enough to field a series of prayerful and, ultimately, presidents that produced many of the worldwide ministries the Brotherhood is known for today.

Pewsaction and Faith Alive represent the hard work of Brothers Andrew within the U.S. These organizations and others – and the Brotherhood itself – play an important role within the Episcopal Church by sticking to their core ministries. For the Brotherhood, it is bringing men and boys to Jesus Christ.

The Brotherhood of St. Andrew remains committed to its core ministry of bringing men and boys to Jesus Christ. There are 390 chapters in the United States and 31 known chapters in 12 countries. This does not count chapters in Japan, the Philippines or Eastern Europe, where chapters exist but do not report to the Central office at this time. Thirteen chapters in Uganda have been temporarily disbanded.

To paraphrase an old phrase about the British Empire, the sun never sets on the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.

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