The Thursday Morning Men’s Breakfast (TMB) has been meeting continuously for over 30 years, growing out of a meeting first held by George Bass in 1981. Over the years the speakers have been a diverse group representing local pastors, Rectors, Priests, seminarians, and professors, and have generally reflected a mix of Anglo Catholic, Roman Catholic, and “Free Churches”. They have included Bob Cooley (then president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), Barry Corey (currently president of Biola University in Los Angeles), the noted speaker and author Peter Kreeft (Professor at Boston College) and Dorsey McConnell, now the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The TMB 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 because the lunch hour was not convenient for many businessmen. 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 TMB. 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, then 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).
Several years ago, under the leadership of John Daniel, TMB incorporated and has become a 501(c)3 organization. There is a Board which guides the organization. Dennis Dixon is our Webmaster and maintains the communications effort. He records 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 it is possible to listen to these lessons through the website and podcast.
In the providence of the LORD the Breakfast will continue for as long as it serves HIS purposes and glorifies HIM.