Liturgical Society of St. James:

Pro Ecclesia Lutherana

"While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."

Matthew 26: 26-27 (NASB)

The Liturgical Society of St. James: A (Very) Brief Historical Sketch

The Liturgical Society of St. James was in existence from 1929 until 1947.  The membership of the LSSJ included clergy and laity of the Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States (most from the greater New York City metropolitan area).  The society expressed itself through convocations, an irregular periodical called Pro Ecclesia Lutherana, an even more irregular Bulletin, and other occasional papers.  My great-grandfather, Dr. Adolph P. Wismar, became the chairman of the LSSJ while he was the pastor at historical St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Manhattan.  In 1945 he took a call to Valparaiso University to teach in the Department of Theology and began his teaching duties with the 1946-1947 academic year.  The LSSJ followed him there and the last Convocation of the LSSJ was held at Valparaiso University May 20-21, 1947.  The next spring O. P. Kretzmann, President of the University, sent Wismar a memo requesting that he (and others) "serve as a committee to submit plans for "An Institute of Liturgical Studies" to be conducted on our campus next summer."  Thus the LSSJ transformed into the VLI.

Below please find PDF copies of the aforementioned "irregular periodical," Pro Ecclesia Lutherana.  I have also attached a paper called "Liturgy of the Eucharist" which my great-grandfather presented as part of the first VLI in 1949.  It is my hope that posting these periodicals may be helpful or of interest to students of the historical Lutheran liturgy, because, as far as I know, the only place these are otherwise available is in back rooms of the Concordia Seminary, Valpariso and Concordia College - Bronxville libraries.

Click on the title of the periodical you would like below in order to open the PDF version.  Once you have opened it, if the copy is two pages side by side (as most are), right click and then select "rotate clockwise" and you should be able to read things well.  Enjoy! - Fr. Eric A. Wismar

Some of the PEL above do not have indices, so please find a chronological index to PEL below.  I have also appended a few other appendices pertaining to the LSSJ that may be helpful, as well as another that lists the VLI presentations between 1949-1960.  Each of these appendices is from the doctoral dissertation of Dr. Jeffery J. Zetto, titled:  "Aspects of Theology in the Liturgical Movement in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, 1930-60" (which, unfortunately, was never published).

One more resource I wanted to post on this subject is an article written by Fr. James B. Bittner.  It was published in The Bride of Christ - The Journal of Lutheran Liturgical Renewal: Sanctus, Volume XIV, Number 3, Pentecost, 1990.  Fr. Bittner's article was titled: "On the Societies of St. Ambrose and St. James: A Study in Liturgical Critique."  Below are the pages that include said essay, as well the pages containing "Some Thoughts From Fr. Bittner's Sources on the S.S.A & S.S.J."  SDG! - Fr. Wismar