Speaker Bios

Pastor Johann Caauwe was born in Fremont, Nebraska, but grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota. He is the product of the Lutheran school system, from kindergarten through high school. He began his formal training for the pastoral ministry at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the college in the spring of 2001. In 2005, he graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin. He served as pastoral assistant to the district president in Modesto, California for three years after graduation from the Seminary. Pastor Caauwe has served Trinity Lutheran Church in El Paso, Texas since 2008, and is Circuit Pastor of the Rio Grande Circuit, as well as civilian chaplain to Ft. Bliss, Texas, one of the nation’s largest military installations.

Pastor Caauwe has been married to the former Sara Kassulke since 2001 and the Lord has blessed them with nine children.

Pastor Jon Zabell has been pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin, since 2006, after beginning his pastoral ministry in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon in 1997, and will be speaking at the 2016 Return to Wittenberg “What Does This Mean?” conference on the Catechism as Guide to the Sacramental Life.

Pastor Zabell is chairman of the WELS Commission on Worship and a presenter for Schools of Worship Enrichment. He was keynote speaker for the 2008 WELS National Worship Conference and essayist for the 2011 WELS Synod Convention.

He is married to Julie, who teaches four-year-old kindergarten, and with whom he has three sons and a daughter, and enjoys spending time with his family, swimming, playing piano, and reading.

Pastor Nathanael Seelow has served the saints as pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Kearney since August 2014, following terms as a full-time instructor at Great Plains Lutheran High School in Watertown, South Dakota, and a vicar in Eagle River, Wisconsin at Christ Lutheran Church and in Phelps, Wisconsin at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He will be speaking at the 2016 Return to Wittenberg “What Does This Mean?” conference on the Catechism as Guide to Christian Prayer.

Pastor Seelow is a 2003 graduate of Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, and received his Master of Divinity degree from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin in 2007. He completed a second master’s degree with honors, in Education, from Martin Luther College in 2013. He served on the WELS Dakota-Montana District Worship Committee, and currently serves on the Nebraska District Worship Committee.

During his time in Watertown, Pastor Seelow also met and married his wife, Megan. They were married in 2012, and are blessed with the gift of two sons–Judah and Ezra.

Mr. Scott Barefoot grew-up in a conservative Christian (Lutheran – WELS) home, and during his teenage years began struggling with same-sex-attractions. That subsequently led to him choosing to embrace-live a homosexual lifestyle for over a decade beginning in his early 20s. By the Grace of God, he was subsequently led to repentance and out of that lifestyle. Since that time, he has written about his experiences both during and following that period of his life (magazine articles and a book). He has traveled around the country speaking on this subject with over a hundred church congregations, high schools, colleges, seminaries, pastors’ conferences, and with both adult and youth ministry rallies.

Back in 2009, he saw a need to share his message and information with others on-line and formed the People of Grace website. Later, a confidential support group area was added to website for others that also struggled with unwanted same-sex-attraction issues. In 2015, People of Grace became officially incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.

When not working with the People of Grace Organization, his regular / full-time job is as a Fire Alarm System Designer.

He currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mr. Jonathan Mayer is an art teacher at Wittenberg Academy, an Adjunct Professor at Concordia University, Nebraska, and principal/proprietor of Scapegoat Studio, a Lutheran liturgical art and design firm (for more information see: http://www.scapegoatstudio.com/). He is a graduate of Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. He has been married to Emily since 2008 and they have been blessed with three children so far. Mr. Mayer will discuss the First Article viewed in the context of liturgical art, not only in the creation of beauty, but in God’s Providence as he provides the beauty we need and make use of in worship and in our daily lives.
Mr. Daniel Baker is an organist at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Oakwood) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where he also serves on the fellowship and evangelism committees. He also served as a lay delegate to the 2013 WELS Convention while he was a member of St. James in Milwaukee, WI. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studied history, and is currently pursuing a degree in parish music at Concordia University Wisconsin. He has been a church musician since 2009 and has studied and written extensively about the Lutheran Liturgy, both colloquially and academically. Mr. Baker is serving as the music director and organist for our “What Does This Mean?” conference and will discuss the particulars of our various worship services, as well as the musical principles behind various facets of Lutheran worship.
Mr. David Moseley is an organist at St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church Tomah, Wisconsin, where he also serves as Elder of Worship and Choir Director. He has served in the United States Army since 2006 and works at Ft. McCoy, WI where he works as  a Military Technician ( dual status Civilian and Military). Mr. Moseley was not always Lutheran but after closely examining Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, was confirmed in 2013. Mr. Moseley is  will be presenting and discussing on the topic “What it Means to Be a Christian in the Military” Mr. Moseley is married to Meredith Moseley(Nee Brown) and has one child, a daughter Aleda Lynne.
We are working with the speakers to confirm their attendance. When we do, they will appear here.

Keynote Presentations

Luther’s Small Catechism is a critical tool for preparing children for confirmation and the reception of the Sacrament. But it’s not just for kids! The Catechism touches every part of the Christian life. Furthermore, the catechism speaks to every part of congregational life. In fact, the further one departs from the catechism as a Christian or congregation, the further one departs from the faith! The Catechism and its use is a touchstone for Lutheran Doctrine and Practice.
Martin Chemnitz, the great “Second Martin” (after Luther!) wrote in his Enchiridion, q. 43: “How can a common person and layman decide…the true, ancient, and catholic sense of the Holy Scriptures? …If a layman understand Scripture according to those chief parts of catechesis, the true meaning and interpretation will in no wise escape him.” The Catechism equips and prepares us to “test everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), especially with respect to preaching and hearing: the Law should be related to the Commandments, the Gospel to the Creed. Learn to identify and evaluate the Preaching of the Law by identifying the commandment. Sometimes the law is misused and preaching can burden consciences with sins that are not actually transgressions of the commandments. If the commandments are a summary of all God’s moral law, the listener should be able to place all preaching of the law under one of the commandments. This may be one tool a parishioner uses to hear and evaluate preaching. The reason the Creed is confessed in the Divine Service, especially before or after the sermon, is in part to serve as a rule for the Preaching of the Gospel. Baptism, the Eucharist, and Confession are half the catechism, they should be as well represented in preaching.
The Catechism isn’t a dry, lifeless book: it’s intended to be prayed! Martin Chemnitz advises that when Christians pray, they should identify which petitions of the Lord’s Prayer cover their particular needs and concerns, and then pray the Lord’s Prayer. We learn that the Lord’s Prayer or “Our Father” is the ultimate, all-encompassing prayer. We’ll discuss the “Daily Prayers” section of the catechism as a guide to Daily Prayer, and consider the use of both fixed and ex corde prayers. We’ll also learn about–and experience together!–the Daily Prayer Offices (Matins, Vespers, Compline, etc.) as a fitting exercise of daily prayer.
We’ll learn about piety and practice surrounding the reception and remembrance of the Sacraments, including the place of the Sacraments in the Divine Service and Liturgy. Our worship is full of the Sacraments! We remember our Baptism in many ways during worship: the invocation, the sign of the cross, placement of the font, paschal candle, and even funeral palls. We’ll also discuss the practice of receiving the Lord’s Supper —Prayers, fasting and preparations, kneeling or standing, posture, and where do you put your hands, where to look, what to say (not as laws, but possible bits of piety for the Christian who actually believes Jesus is really present in, with, and under the bread and wine!) We consider, too, the Sacraments in daily life: our daily remembrance of baptism in washing and water, and we’ll explore the words of Martin Luther, who said “fasting and other outward preparations may serve a good purpose” (Small Catechism, VI).
We’ll cover the Table of Duties, Vocation and Commandments, include the using the Ten Commandments to prepare for private Confession and Absolution. This presentation includes an expansion on Luther’s comments in the Small Catechism, with a demonstration of the use of a Beichtspiegel (“confessional mirror”) to examine one’s place in life according to the Ten Commandments. We will also address some practical questions about the practice of private Confession and Absolution since it is relatively rare in our circles. Learn how to teach your pastor to hear your confession–because he has just as much experience in being a confessor as you have in being a penitent! The only way he’ll learn is by doing it. It’s his job.
On Friday morning, we’ll have a session for the presenters to interact with one another as we discuss and find new ways to answer that great Lutheran question–“What does this mean?”–with our renewed appreciation of the Catechism and its role in our lives.