HISTORY

 

The Thursday Morning Men’s Breakfast (TMMB) began in November 1981.  The impetus for it was provided by a series of Dinners which Executive Ministries, a part of Campus Crusade for Christ, staged in various cities.  There were several of these dinners held at the Harvard Club in 1980 and 1981.

 

George Bass was involved in these dinners through his friendship with Bill VanAlen of Philadelphia.  George held a Noon Bible Study in his office as a follow up to the Dinners at which people were asked to indicate if they would be interested in knowing more about the Bible.  The Noon sessions were lightly attended due to the fact that the lunch hour was not convenient for many business men.   Joe Cunningham attended to support George in his effort.  At some point it was decided that a Breakfast Meeting might be more attractive to potential participants.  As he was a member of the Union Club, he suggested that if we held the meetings at a club, it might attract more men than in an office conference room.

 

In November of 1981 George Bass invited a group of men to a Breakfast at the Union to experience a Bible lesson.  Out of that event grew TMMB.  Most of the original attendees did not return but there were several men who had attended one of the Dinners who began to join the Breakfast.  Dick Csaplar, Roger Moore, Dave VanKalsbeek, Brooks Parker and Joe Cunningham were among those early participants.

 

The speakers (teachers) were all evangelical in spirituality but multi denominational.   Amongst the first were Richard Holloway, the Rector at the Church of the Advent, Dan Smick, a seminarian at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Michael McGarry, who at the time was the Rector at the Paulist Center next door to the Union Club.  From the beginning we have always had representation from the Anglo Catholic, Roman Catholic and Free Churches (Reformed).

 

In 1982 Bob Cooley, the newly arrived President of Gordon-Conwell (GCTS), joined the rotation. Soon after came Jürgen Liias who is still in place and the longest duration speaker.  Jürgen is Rector at Christ the Redeemer in Danvers.  Peter Kreeft of Boston College replaced Mike McGarry and served us for thirteen years.  During the years we have been blessed with outstanding teachers and pastors.  Some of them are:  Andy Mead of the Advent, now of St. Thomas 5th Avenue, Tom Howard formerly of Gordon College, Harold Bussell of Gordon and the First Congregational Church of Hamilton, Christopher Leighton of St. Paul’s Darien, the late David Thorp, the Director of Evangelization of the Boston Archdiocese, Jeff Arthurs, and Scott Gibson of GCTS, also Barry Corey now President of Biola University.  The present rotation is Jürgen, Dorsey McConnell of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill: Paul Atwater of North River Community Church, Gordon Hugenberger of Park Street Church and GCTS.  David Franks who teaches at St. John’s Seminary has recently been filling David Thorp’s slot.

 

The purpose of TMMB is pre-evangelism.  It is designed to offer a non-church, non-denominational setting for men who think that they are interested in exploring the claims of Christ and the Bible.  As a practical matter the meeting has evolved to serve two purposes.  One purpose is pre-evangelism and the second an opportunity for believers to have fellowship and access to outstanding evangelical biblical teaching.  Over the years the numbers have grown slowly, from a low of three one Thursday in August of 1982 to as many as ninety-four recently.  Generally the numbers run from the high fifties to the middle seventies.

 

Several years ago under the leadership of John Daniel, TMMB incorporated and has become a 501(c3) organization.  There is a Board of Directors which guides the organization.  We now have a website:  Dennis Dixon is the Webmaster and maintains the communications effort.  He tapes all the lessons and adds them to the website.  Thanks to the efforts of Ted Collagan who taped most of the meetings for almost 20 years, we have a “treasure trove” of past lessons. Dennis has digitized the old tapes and has posted them on the website.   It is possible to listen to these lessons through the website.

 

      In the providence of the LORD the Breakfast will continue for as long as it serves HIS purposes and glorifies HIM.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                Joe Cunningham

                                                                  October, 2011

 

December, 2012 update:

 

With Dorsey McConnell’s elevation to Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, we have had a number of excellent speakers in the Third Thursday slot including Mark Booker of the Church of the Cross, Boston, and Dave Swain of Highrock Church, Arlington.