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A Message from the Senior
Welcome to the Society of the Holy Trinity web site. A careful reading of the Rule of the Society will introduce you to our common work and prayer. The Society came into existence on September 23, 1997 when, with prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 27 Lutheran pastors (ELCA, ELCIC, and LCMS) subscribed to the Rule. This took place in two days of prayer and conversation at Loyola House in Morristown, New Jersey. The Society emerged in a particular cultural and theological context. The context is spelled out in the Founding Statement. This Statement was a call for the formation of this religious order; members do not subscribe to it. They subscribe only to the Rule. And, of course, we operate according to our By-Laws. The 9.5 Theses are posted on our web site for historical interest because they are part — one part — of the pre-history of the Society. It was because of lack of official ELCA response to these Theses that discussions commenced among a wider inter-Lutheran group of pastors that led to the formation of the Society of the Holy Trinity. Undoubtedly, with the passage of time new cultural and theological challenges will arise. But the Society provides a ministerium that supports all pastors called to the ministry of word and sacrament in Lutheran Churches. Because of its inter-Lutheran character, the Society does not become involved in the internal issues of particular Lutheran denominations. Individual members of the Society may be involved in denominational issues. They do not act on behalf of the STS, but we support them in their struggles for faithfulness by conversation, study, and prayer. The STS (Societas Trinitatis Sanctae) is open to all Lutheran pastors of any Lutheran denomination from any country. Currently our members are rostered in 11 different Lutheran bodies. Most of our 290 members (as of this writing) are affiliated with one of 22 regional chapters that have been formed in the U.S. and Canada. We also have several members at-large. A list of chapter locations with deans is available at this site. The best way to find out what the Society is about is to attend a chapter retreat. You may contact the dean of the chapter closest to you to receive information about a retreat. Subscribing to the Rule: Concrete Commitments After prayerful deliberation and conversation with other members of the Society, a pastor becomes a member of the STS by publicly subscribing to the Rule at the annual General Retreat, usually after declaring his or her intention to do so at a local chapter retreat. Those who have no opportunity to gather in chapter retreats should communicate with the Senior. They may then indicate their intention to subscribe to the Rule in writing to the Secretary of the Society (see STS Officer listing for address), and add their names to the book of signatures at the next general retreat. Dues, also to be sent to the Secretary, are presently $300.00 yearly and are due upon subscription, and then annually by Holy Trinity Sunday. The annual dues include the registration cost of the General Retreat. There is no separate registration fee for members. Travel equalization to the General Retreat is also provided out of our dues. The General Retreat – September 20-22, 2016 As the Rule prescribes, the whole Society gathers once each year as a general chapter to pray, hear the Word, teach one another, and to further our common work. This commitment is basic to membership. A travel expense equalization plan, built into the annual dues structure, spreads out our travel costs to help members who must travel far distances. The Society's next General Retreat will be September 20-22, 2016, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. Registration and lodging costs for members are included in the annual dues. The registration fee for non-members at the last retreat was $200. Visitors and inquirers from all church traditions are welcome to all STS retreats, chapter or general. Visitors may include pastors, seminarians, and lay people who wish to pray and learn in the way the Rule indicates. Please feel free to contact me or any of my colleagues who guide the work of the Society.
Pr. Paddy Rooney, STS Senior