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The Body of Christ and the Public Square (BOCPS) had its origins in a chance encounter in 2014 when its founder, Rev. Dr. Thoma, met two political lobbyists in Washington, D.C. These lobbyists mistakenly saw Pastor Thoma, a Lutheran clergyman, as a problematic figure and accused him of being “what’s wrong with America.” This incident shed light on common misconceptions about the relationship between the Church and State, with Thoma’s presence being perceived as an attempt to impose religious beliefs and a challenge to the separation of Church and State.

This encounter prompted Pastor Thoma to delve deeper into the Church and State topic. He discovered similar beliefs within his community and denomination, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. This led to the development of specific catechetical practices, increased involvement in public events, and, ultimately, the establishment of BOCPS.

BOCPS initially started as an educational conference on September 29, 2014, focusing on educating pastors and lay leaders about religious liberty and appropriate engagement in the public sphere. Over time, it expanded its scope, organizing larger annual conferences and smaller mid-year events, drawing attendees from around the world. BOCPS has evolved into a formal 501c3 organization with local, state, and national influence.

The organization has three core goals: serving as an educational and cultural resource on religious liberty, fostering citizens with a biblical understanding of Church and State engagement, and encouraging active participation among leaders to promote peaceful, godly, and dignified living, aligning with 1 Timothy 2:2-3.

BOCPS primarily conducts its work through congregational-level conference events, typically attracting 350 to 450 participants. Attendees include pastors, teachers, students, church members, lay leaders, community leaders, and elected officials from diverse backgrounds. The conferences feature a range of speakers from various fields of public service, expertise, and celebrity status.

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