4: The Forward Movement

by Jim Goodson

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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 chapterless 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. The story of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew in Japan is the story of Brother Paul Rusch, who found in the Brotherhood a vehicle to promote the "responsible, peaceful living" the world longed for.

The following account of Brother Rusch's monumental success in establishing the Brotherhood of St. Andrew in the Far East was delivered to Brothers in 2008 in Chicago at that summer's National Council meeting by Kiyosato Educational Experiment Counselor Sandra McPhee. KEEP was also founded by Brother Rusch and is staffed by members of the Brotherhood.

Jim Goodson is editor of St. Andrew's Cross.

icon3: A Lightning Quick Start
icon5: Brothers, Japan and Peace
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St. James' Episcopal Church in 1871, site of the founding of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.

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An Act for the Incorporation of The Brotherhood of St. Andrew was passed and signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt on May 30th, 1908.