History of the Wednesday Brothers of Thunder

The Roots

Horace Bissel was part of the first Palo Alto Think and Pray Group in 1970.

He was personnel director at Lockheed (LMSD). Wife Glessner. Two daughters. Youngest was Melinda who everyone called “Tinny.”

One day about 1970, after I had spoken to the Christian club at Foothill College, students Phil and Tinny Compton came up to me afterwards and wanted to get acquainted. Phil was from an Episcopal background and Tinny was bored with her Presbyterian (?) Church. I think I had talked about science and the Bible.

My memories of the amazing friendship I benefited from for 30 years with Phil and Tinny are a separate thread. Horace and I had breakfast often after the PATPG faded away.

Horace was excited to meet Ray. In those days our T&PG hosted weekly 7 AM Bible breakfasts at local motels. Format: breakfast followed by free wheeling discussion of a passage from the Bible. These breakfasts were a local feature of Doug Coe’s ICL in Washington DC.

Ray met Lloyd and Jackie Johnson in Newport Beach (Mariners’ Church) and we started a spin off Core Group there which led to a pivotal mayor’s leadership week in NPB (A separate thread obviously).

Phil Compton later joined the PATPG (meeting at Gerhard Dirks home in the hills above Foothill College.) There is much that can be said about the other men in the group whom I got to know well! For example Gerhard then at IBM was said to be the “father of the modern computer.”

The original PAT&PG (1963-1972) had a format suggested by Ray Stedman. Ray and Horace and Sven Jensen and Gerhard Dirks and I traveled to Germany in 1965. Ray and I visited Edinburgh on the way. Separate stories.

Later the Wednesday Brothers of Thunder started up in Santa Clara and was documented by Mike McKenna.

The long ensuing history of the Wednesday Brothers of Thunder was began after I met Eric and Janice Soderberg. I was invited to attend Eric’s home group as a guest where I learned they were ready to disband after a year of meeting with no real vision. Four superb Christian men met with nothing to do in their spare time!

The vision came out of the ensuing going’s-on of the earlier PATPG.

The Wednesday Brother’s expanded into 8, 9 daughter groups, the history of which needs to be documented by interviews with early WBT leaders. Lawrence Hoppis is undertaking this now.

These notes are my recollections of these early days. These groups are not home Bible classes and an important feature is they are leaderless!

A dozen Christian men discover they have been invited to meet in person with Jesus Christ for two hours each week. Jesus has made it known that He would like to personally teach these men. He wishes passionately to hear their requests, to enjoy their company, and to help each of them to see that they are in fact members one of another--and members of the very Body of Christ of which He, Jesus, is the Head. Jesus is an intimate, relationship-orientated and intense man--superficial conversation, playing religion, or merely pretending to know Him, do not sit well with Him at all! Though there are millions of "professing" Christians in the world, only a handful of individuals in any given area are willing to "bother" with attending the meetings Jesus has invited them to participate in. The twelve (or so) real men under discussion in this short paper have dimly begun to see and experience a dimension of Christian experience that is exciting and transforming--far, far different than the usual Sunday morning at eleven o'clock church service the men have found often boring and of little value... (Leaderless Core Groups)


Key people

Mike Nuss
Mike McKenna
Howard Albertsen
Duane Hoopes
Dave Bang
Chris Nielsen
Dave Gilroy
Anil Myline
Steve Connelly
Eric Finke
Eric Soderberg
Scott Chamness
Chris Gonzales
Jacob Kimball
Michael Krugjohn
Tim Prior
Tom MacGowan
Michael Thompson
Wayne Alder
Larry Hoppis
Jim Cook
Matt London
Peter Kim

...Many others


The Palo Alto Think and Pray Group

The Wednesday Brothers of Thunder

Leaderless Core Groups

Prayer 101

Spiritual Warfare, by Ray Stedman

Corporate Prayer

Prayers in the Bible, by Ray Stedman

Small Group Guidelines

Description of the Spiritual Gifts in the Body of Christ

About body life, by Ray Stedman

The New WBT

The New Wednesday Brothers Audio Library

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17)



Lambert, this is excellent history and brings back so many memories. I recall some of the older brothers from the PAT&PG that I was fortunate enough to meet long after it disbanded. I met some of them when first moving to the area in 84 for college and viachurch at MPPC through classes and relatives attending PBC.

When entering the local working world in the early 90's I lived on Ruthven Ave in Palo Alto with Craig Lochner, Steve Yencho, my brother Eric Chamness, Jeff Zwiers, Rex Dwyer, and Peter Monaco, who invited me to join the household. (Steve Y, at that time founded a med device start-up that I was privileged to work at for a number of years). From that home we launched a Friday Night Dinner that included, in addition to a home-cooked meal, worship, a short message and fellowship. This grew to a standing-room only gathering that went on for years. I believe our Wed Brothers of Thunder emerged at that time as well. You entered the picture, at the invitation of Eric Soderberg, I believe and began mentoring us young men and providing best practices guidance on men's fellowship groups. From that point our Thunder group grew and divided multiple times (my particular one being christened by you "The brothers of Transition"). I am today (almost 20 years later) in one of the daughter groups of that original gathering, with several of the original guys still participating and numerous newcomers that have become fixtures or come and gone over the years. Most of my fondest and most meaningful relationships are a direct product of the common calling and devotion to the Lord and His word that grew out of this original fellowship. This continues to be the case as new and often younger men join our group. We still meet on Wednesdays, now at the garage/machine shop of Bob Lorenz in Menlo Park. The learning and fellowship has grown richer and deeper over the years. I'm cc-ing many of the guys who have been involved over the years.

Many thanks to you for planting some original seeds that launched many thriving Bible Studies and furthered the spread of The Good News. The verses you quote have been some of our theme passages.


Scott (Chamness)

PS if any others have stories, please share!
“time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like bananas” 7/28/19


Hey Scott & Lambert (AND Alum Brothers Steve, Mark),

That is a fun recounting that goes back in history much further than I ever knew prior. I moved to the Bay Area to pursue Christy in the late Summer of 1993 and somewhere in that early Fall season, Christy introduced me to you. My best memory of where we met at that time was a back house that Steve Mercer lived in. Somewhere in a box, I have a photo (the printed kind) of our crew on the pool deck of that house. Perhaps followed by a long season at Mark's house in Los Altos.

I recall that we had a name different than BoT to begin with...maybe Brothers of Adventure? I remember that someone -- likely Lambert -- had created one-page "roster" of sorts that had 6-10 different groups on it all with Brothers of ________ on it -- Wonder, Ambition, Fire come to mind. I wonder if Lambert could produce that roster from 1993 or 1994. It's got to be on an old hard drive somewhere, yes? On a Linux server that hasn't crashed since it was hand-built circa 1994. I would be interested to know if any of those other groups have a remnant still meeting like ours.

My recollection of the switch (or...transition) from our original name to Brothers of Transition was after a couple of years together. Several of us had married (Scott, myself, Steve, Mark to name a few). A few of us had made some significant career shifts and businesses launched. And a parent or two of ours were facing long-haul illness. And then some long-time fellas moved from the area led by the adventurous Steve & Linda. With many facets of life change afoot and unlikely to cease in our lifetime, I think we realized that our group identity had Transition(ed) and the new name has stuck ever since. And life transitions have continuously flowed and expanded.

It would be fun to put our collective heads together to compile a list of members/alumni and the years each have been involved. AND our meetup locations! My best memory of locations....Steve's back house, Mark-Los Altos, John-Menlo Park -- which included a season where we celebrated "communion" weekly by breaking bread (with grilled tri-tip) and drinking wine (mixed with the early craft beers) most weeks and briefly became "The Food Group" (Mark do you still have that t-shirt logo somewhere? You made some awesome t-shirts for us over the years). Back to locations, I recall...short stint at my apartment in Menlo Park the six months before marriage, Colin-Oakcreek, Colin-Sharon Heights, Colin-Hobart and now at Bob's Garage'ma'hall on Cotton. What meetup spots did I forget? Mark, was there a season that we met at your Emerald Hills house? I have vague recollections of your living room and the back patio...and your building out of your wine cellar near the front door. If not a season there your home must have been a backup spot during one or more of those Colin meetup spots.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Thank you, Lambert, for promoting the gathering of men to dive deeply into God's Word. The fruit of your labors continues. Come join us one of these Wed nights. I am grateful to say, "see you tonight for BoT! All are welcome. 365 Cotton St, MPk in the Garage'ma'hall"

-- In His Mighty Grip, Barry

408.315.4636 cell


From: Rex Dwyer <rex@dwyer.net>
Date: August 14, 2019 at 19:44:33 PDT

I was a Brother of Ambition in 1993 along with Bob Lorenz and Steve Yencho. For the record.


Help Needed! Please send photos, anecdotes, recollections.


July 25, 2019
July 28, 2019
August 15, 2019

A Place in the Choir