Monthly Archives: April 2016

Sudanese Anglicans and the Small Catechism

In his President’s Report in the 2016 LCMS Convention Workbook, p. 3, Rev. Synodical President Matthew C. Harrison reports

Recently, we were visited by representatives of an Anglican church in South Sudan. We were shocked when they told us that their leaders have been studying Luther’s Small Catechism. They had been studying our website and want to become Lutheran and join our worldwide fellowship.

Cooperative Catechesis (Parents and Pastors), by Rev. Phil Booe, Winkel Presentation at Hudson, New York

So you missed the winkel. No need to miss the presentation.

Rev. Phil Booe, has kindly provided his selected excerpts from his doctoral dissertation, “Cooperative Catechesis: A Model for Equipping Lutheran Parents and Pastors to Catechize Children in the Christian Faith,” prepared for the March 16, 2016 winkel at Hudson New York.

Learn about parents being active in catechesis. Learn about parents and pastors cooperating in the catechesis of the children.

Download it here.

Bob’s CPH Catechism Memory Cards

If you are a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Pensacola, Florida, and want Small Catechism memory cards that use the 1986 CPH text, you are in luck. Talk to Bob. He will give you a set.

While visiting Immanuel this past Palm Sunday, Bob Myers presented me with a set of his memory cards.

That Bob has created these cards for the congregation is one among many ways that the congregation vigorously teaches the Small Catechism. For example, in the photo of Bob here as he is presenting a set of the cards  to me, we were about to begin the Pastor’s class between the two services. At each seat in the class, there was a pamphlet that the congregation had printed containing the Small Catechism. The class began with reading a section from the Catechism, and then went on to the topic and material for that day.

Bob created his cards in a handy size, the same size as standard business cards.

He set them up for duplex printing, by which the questions are on one side of the cards and the answers are on the other side.

Because Bob’s cards have been created by him within the Immanuel congregation for use within that congregation, this is within the general license CPH grants to congregations to use the copyrighted text of the Small Catechism. So if you are a member of Immanuel, Bob is allowed to give you a set of his cards.

When you talk to Bob about to get a set of his cards, also ask him about Yshnog. He’ll be happy to give you a copy of that too. For that matter, anyone can get a copy of Yshnog.


Enhanced Style of NPH-WELS Small Catechism Memory Cards — Kris Brown Designs

Previously, released Small Catechism Memory Cards in eight different translations. The translations are:

Today, releases another style of the NPH-WELS cards.

This style has:

The previously released 1979 NPH-WELS cards were standard size 3″ x 5″ index cards with both the question and the answer for each portion of the Catechism on one side.

  • post card size
  • graphical design enhancements
  • questions on one side, answers on the other

These beautiful cards have been created by graphics designer, Kris Brown of Kris Brown Designs.

The post card sized style is distributed in two versions, one with cut lines and the other without cut lines, as the user might prefer.

These free resources let anyone print memory cards, each containing a portion of Luther’s Small Catechism, to use as a memorization aid, for teaching children, or for meditation and prayer. Simply download the free PDF file containing the cards from the distribution page, print the cards on letter size card stock, and cut four cards from each sheet. Remember to print them in duplex, two-sided printing, to put the questions on one side, and the answers on the other side.

Memory Card, Baptism, NPH-WELS - Kris Brown

Guest Post — We Love What We Know, by Haleigh Morgan

I had an occasion to use this maxim today: “We love what we know.” Thinking myself somewhat original, I had forgotten that Aldous Huxley had once said almost the same thing. Or maybe Huxley and I just had the same idea. His complete quote was: “We can only love what we know, and we can never know completely what we do not love. Love is a mode of knowledge…” He includes this quote (without attribution) in the book “Perennial Philosophy.”

This little saying has helped to guide the way I homeschool my children. I noticed years ago that students seem most frustrated, most ambivalent, or most negative about a new subject when they still don’t know anything about it. We teachers are taught that success breeds success and that if a student is to stick with something and learn it (and especially if he is to develop a fondness for it), he must have a taste of success with the thing. For example, we are taught that we target struggling students with questions we know they can answer and then gently work with the student to push them toward more complexity or more difficult aspects of the lessons. We whet their appetite with a taste of success and inspire them to want more.

But, as true as it is that success breeds success, it is even more true that we come to love what we know. If I had asked my younger son early last year what his favorite school subject was, he would probably tell me math or his bird study. He had no love for nor interest in human anatomy because he had not studied that yet. If you had asked him again at the end of the year, he would have enthusiastically included anatomy in his list of his most loved subjects. Why? Well, now, he had begun to know it. So, he had also begun to love it.  This principle has played out over and over again both in my public school classroom and in my home schoolroom.

How is it that I had occasion to revisit this idea? This morning (Palm Sunday) after church, a friend commented, “So, you have been Lutheran from the cradle on, I assume?”  I answered that, in fact, our family were relatively new to the Lutheran Church. This Easter will be our sixth one in the Church. My husband and I were raised more-or-less Methodist and staunchly Southern Baptist, respectively.

“Oh. Is that so? How is it, then, that you seem to know all the hymns then? I noticed you were singing at the rail this morning.”

I thought for a moment, and said, “Well, I love that particular hymn. But, I also suppose I study a lot. Like…a lot. It is one of my favorite thing to do. To study the hymnal.”

I went on to explain that when we first converted, I was already familiar-ish with the catechism because that was what I was looking for in the first place. I wanted a communion with really strong catechesis and had sought that out. But, what I had been unprepared for was exactly how different the hymnody was. None of the songs were familiar – not the tunes, not the words, and certainly not the doctrine. It was disorienting; and, to be honest, ruffled my feathers a bit at first. Ok, it really bothered me a lot. It was uncomfortable never to hear any of the songs that I grew up having such a fondness for. I often felt lost in the service in those first several weeks. But, I also knew that in this context familiarity does not breed contempt. Quite the opposite, in fact. It breeds love.

I knew that if I ever wanted to love this hymnody, I had to know it. So, I set out to learn. In singing and memorizing, in committing the tunes and words to heart, a deep and abiding friendship developed. I was greeted on every single page and in every single line by the doctrine I was learning. I began to understand why we sing the way we do, and I grew to love it. We love what we know. So, if we desire to love something, we must first get to know it.

If we want to love the faith we confess, we must first know it. We must spend time with it as with a dear friend. We cannot love what we do not know. If we want our children to have a lifelong love for what we believe, teach, and confess, they must first know it. They must also learn to walk hand in hand with this teaching as close friends.

We pray in the first petition, “Hallowed be Thy name.” This is a kind of short hand for praying that God’s word to be taught rightly among us, that we would hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it (i.e. that we would love it), and that we would then live holy lives in accordance with this Word we have learned and love. We pray that the Lord would “grant, while worlds endure, we keep its teachings pure, throughout all generations” (LSB 582 / God’s Word is Our Great Heritage).

Addressing the IUCN, Senegalese forestry engineer Baba Dioum warned, “In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught” (1968). Although this was originally applied within the context of addressing problems in agriculture and natural resource management, it is applicable to so many contexts – most especially in catechesis. We sing, “Lord, helps us ever to retain the catechism’s doctrine plain” (LSB 865 / Lord, Help Us Ever to Retain). We conserve what we love. We love what we know. If this hymn is actually our earnest prayer, we must ever remain students of the catechism. “And I must still read and study daily, and yet I cannot master it as I wish, 8] but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to remain” (LC, Introduction)

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland’s English Text in Small Catechism Memory Cards releases Small Catechism Memory Cards in an eighth translation, the 1999 Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland translation in English.

This English text of the Small Catechism is copyrighted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland by whose permission and generosity this new resource is given freely to the world.

This free resource lets anyone print memory cards, each containing a portion of Luther’s Small Catechism, to use as a memorization aid, for teaching children, or for meditation and prayer. Simply download the free PDF file containing the cards from the distribution page. Then print and cut the cards. Two versions of the PDF file are provided, one with cut lines, and the other without cut lines.

The ELCF is a multilingual church. Many of its congregations conduct a main Sunday service in one language and another in a second language. In various parts of the country, English is one of the languages used, and the church publishes its own English translation of Luther’s Small Catechism.

In 1993 the General Synod of the ELCF requested that the Bishops’ Conference take action on the drawing up of a new book on the basic truths of the Christian faith. This book would be organized according to the parts of the Small Catechism and would include an English text of the Small Catechism.

The drafting process lasted for three years. A fairly large group was assigned to read the drafts, give detailed written feedback, and meet regularly to comment on the text. The draft was submitted to the Bishops’ Conference, which forwarded its own proposal, based on Bishop Huovinen’s draft, to the General Synod. After minor revision, the Finnish and Swedish versions of the new book on Christian doctrine were approved by the General Synod on 12 November 1999. The translation into English is by Riitta and Thomas Toepfer.

The Scripture portions quoted are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Attempt was made in the Ten Commandments, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer to approach the language of the ICEL texts, with some changes called for due to the Finnish text of these. In particular, the Lord’s Prayer uses “sins” rather than “debts” or “trespasses,” and it follows the more traditional English form.

Previous editions of the Small Catechism Memory Cards using translations of various American synods have been published for 8.5” x 11” paper, and with either index card or post card sized cards. For this edition, however, the main users of the cards likely will be Finns and other Europeans worshiping and studying in English. Accordingly, has produced the cards for the ELCF English text on size A4 paper, printing in landscape orientation, and dividing the pages into quadrants to fit four cards on each page.

The distribution page also provides access to the previously released translations, which are:

Yshnog – Another Great Catechism Memory Aid, from Bob Myers

While visiting Immanuel Lutheran Church in Pensacola, Florida earlier this year, my online friend, and friend of, Bob Myers, presented me with a copy of another great Catechism memory aid, which I have temporarily dubbed Yshnog.

What is Yshnog?

If you asked the question, what is The First Commandment, the answer would be Yshnog, if you abbreviated it with the first letter of each word in the commandment: You shall have no other gods.

Bob has gone through the entire Small Catechism and created these abbreviations. For example, for The Third Commandment, Wdtm (What does this mean?), the abbreviated answer is: W s f a l G s t w d no d p a H w, b h I s a g h a l i. In words, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.”

Since Bob gave me this on Palm Sunday, I have worked with it. This is a good device that prompts well, but does not give too much away. It evokes memory, and strengthens memory.

Download it here, and join in a competition to suggest a better name for it than Yshnog, unless, of course, you like the name Yshnog and think we should keep it. Suggest your names in the comments here or in our Facebook group.


1986 CPH Translation — 100 Sets of Small Catechism Memory Cards for Trinity

Elk River Printing of Sidney, Montana has delivered 100 sets of Small Catechism memory cards for Trinity Lutheran Church, Sidney, Montana.


These have been designed and ordered printed by me in my role as Christian Education Director of the congregation. These cards use the 1986 CPH translation, which is permitted by the general copyright license from CPH, because these cards arise from within and are to be consumed within the single congregation. (Our sister congregation, St. John Lutheran Church, in Fairview, Montana will not be able to use them because they did not arise from within that congregation.)

These sets will be put into index card cases and given to children in Wednesday School, Sunday School, and confirmation. They will be given to adults new to Lutheran teaching.

Video — The Lord’s Prayer in a Cardboard Box,

Garrick Matthew Miller Halvorson, aka Gunny, decided he was going to sleep in a cardboard box that night.

Dad still comes in to pray the Lord’s Prayer with him. In the midst of the informality of bedding down in a cardboard box, Gunny still knows what reverence is, and his father shows him that prayer fits in everywhere.