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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Baseball, biking & buffalo

These pastors know how to have fun and get things done

Hilarity, integrity and collegiality unify a group of pastors who are informally called The Buffalo Synod — a reference to where they meet each week to discuss theology: Buffalo Alice, an old-style pizza pub in Sioux City, Iowa.

Buffalo Alice is a popular tavern located in the historic 4th district of Sioux City. Its floors are wooden planks that can take a stomping from any old boot. Bathrooms are vividly painted so you can't possibly mistake "his" for the "hers." Walls are plastered with old signs such as "Hard Hat Area," "Buy U.S. Government Bonds" and "Visiting Clergy Please Check in with the Receptionist."

Every Friday noon, the pastors (and
Every Friday noon, the pastors (and occasionally lay leaders) of Sioux City, Iowa, meet over pizza and beer at Buffalo Alice to discuss theology and how to help the community. And through it all, they support one another—especially with humor. "[The Buffalo Synod is] working hard to fulfill [Martin] Luther's direction to sin boldly," jokes Rodger Prois, director for evangelical mission for the Western Iowa Synod. "Which is being confident that you're being led by the Holy Spirit."
It's high noon Friday at Buffalo Alice; by ones and twos, Buffalo Synod members amble in. They get their grub and grab a chair under the sign for visiting clergy. Friday is their day off. On the table are golden pitchers of brew in the tradition of Martin and Katie Luther. The pub owner approaches the group with a church history question:

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