Pietisten in the Pulpit

Some readers may know that Pietisten often provided the sermon for those gatherings of Mission Friends who had no pastor. A lay person would read a sermon from Pietisten as the sermon for the day.

An often-told story highlighting the fact is that C.A. Bjork, the first president of the Covenant, regularly read from Pietisten for services in Swede Bend, Iowa. One Sunday morning, he went to the pulpit in the usual way only to discover that someone had taken the issue of Pietisten from which he planned to read. This forced Bjork to preach his own sermon and was the beginning of his distinguished career as speaker and preacher.

This has not happened to Isaac Leydens of Haddam Neck, Connecticut, as yet. Twice he has preached a sermon from Pietisten to the congregation in Haddam Neck. The first time, this summer, he read “The Dead Preachers’ Society,” by Timothy Sporrong (Fall, 1990). And the second time, in October, he read “Repentance without Absolution” by Glen Wiberg (Summer 1991) Both sermons were well received. There was extra delight for those in Haddam Neck who remember when Glen Wiberg was pastor there.

It hasn’t happened yet to Cindy Hawkinson either. On Reformation Sunday in New Sweden, Maine, she read “The House of Faith” by Eric Hawkinson. The report is that there was not a dry eye in the sanctuary.

Perhaps next time Cindy or Ike is up, someone will steal their copy of Pietisten and the next president of the Covenant will be on the way. We could do a lot worse than either Cynthia Hawkinson or Ike Leydens.