Catechesis Topics

Version 2

Holy Cross Day, 2016
September 14

Catechesis comes from a Greek word meaning oral instruction though it popularly means any religious instruction. This website explores topics of interest to Episcopalians and people interested in the Episcopal Church. Its content draws from and amplifies topics in The Catechism of The Book of Common Prayer (BCP 1979, pages 843–862). By no means does it replace The Catechism, but it explores in more detail some of the topics found and suggested there.

Many of the posts originally were notes that I used as a parish priest to prepare adult Confirmands to make a “mature public affirmation of their faith” and “to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop” (BCP, page 412). The website naturally would serve that purpose again as well as some of the purposes of The Catechism: “to give an outline for instruction” and “to provide a brief summary of the Church’s teaching for any inquiring stranger” (BCP, page 844). And other posts were notes I used in diocesan and parochial workshops. Most of the posts have been revised for the purposes of this website.

The aim of these posts follows from the needs of Confirmands, Episcopalians, and the aforementioned inquiring strangers. And that aim is to provide instruction in the Christian faith as it has been received in the Anglican Communion generally and The Episcopal Church particularly. The posthole or defining location of that faith is the BCP of 1979. It is unarguable that the Christian faith evolves and changes along with the interpretation of the Scriptures, rites and ceremonies, and even common understandings of what is right or wrong. But that evolution from 1979, doubtlessly continuing to the present day, has not been set down fully and reliably in a book or other publication that has earned wide acceptance. When that evolving faith is authoritatively and comprehensively set forth, I shall make the revisions it suggests. I expect that role will be taken by the next edition of the American Prayer Book. When do you think that will be?

I try to present the faith so that Confirmands would not give odd or controversial answers were they to be examined by the bishop administering Confirmation. My purpose is that the bishop would find their answers to convey the basic knowledge that defines the subject. I understand that those answers would not by any means signify what scholars consider significance: an original insight or discovery about a long-identified critical problem. I would keep the Confirmands on the well-worn and broad highways. Later through prayer, reflection, and study, they may be led to the yellow roads, but I do not intend to point to those places.

The resources I have drawn upon, therefore, are commonly known. By name, they are The Book of Common Prayer, The Holy Bible, and The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. The Holy Bible contains the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical Books and is the New Revised Standard Version.

The images are photographs I took with an iPhone 5S at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and edited with Photos. Other images are freely used as they reside in the unfettered public domain.

This website offers a Table of Contents page serving several purposes. First, the page displays every topic published or planned. It affords an overall view of the website’s scope in one of several possible schemes of organization. Secondly, the topics that have been published contain a link to the post. The topics that have not been published have no link. In some cases the anticipated date of publication may be found in a note near the topic. The Contact page is for you to indicate your thoughts about the list of topics and their organization.

The Search widget is for you to use to seek posts on topics that interest you. If you do not find your topic, I urge you to use the Contact page to let me know the topics you have been unable to find. I shall respond to you with a post or an email concerning your Search.

My hope is that Catechesis Topics will be of some service to you and an encouragement to you as you in your journey make your way home in the hands of a loving and merciful Creator.

Howard Stringfellow III

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