Explore Your Faith
*Catechumenate comes from a Greek word meaning "to learn and explore." The Catechumenate is a place where we explore what it means to be a human being and a person of faith within our community. Catechumenate provides a place to slow down, a space to truly listen to other people, and a time to honestly speak about what they believe. The small groups are the key. As one student put it, "The Catechumenate provides that balance between chaos and structure that is sometimes lacking in the classroom, but is so key in helping me to learn about myself." Throughout the year the groups grow closer and closer until most will admit that it becomes as a surrogate family. This small group focused process has evolved here at Sewanee over the last 15 years.
Roots of this version of the Catechumenate can be traced back to the work of former chaplain Tom Ward and his work with Charles Kiblinger in Nashville who formed a version of this program in the Diocese of Mississippi. The earliest Christians used a lengthy version of the Catechumenate to ensure that those who were baptized into the church were not spies for the Roman Empire, but when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as the state religion and infant baptism became the trend the process was dropped. It was not until the 1800s and 1900s when adult baptism became more popular that any sort of adult initial process be created to prepare someone for baptism. At Sewanee over the last 15 years the process has been focused on helping students understand their own faith, perhaps for the first time, which creates in many the desire for baptism, confirmation of baptismal vows, reception into the Episcopal Church, or reaffirmation of baptismal vows. However, those who come on a weekly basis are never forced to go down any of the roads to those important rites. The Catechumenate is an open and honest, but low pressure process that is about finding a voice to express one's faith and making connections with people of all faith backgrounds or no faith background at all.
Meetings are held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Bairnwick Women's Center. A catered meal is served on the first Wednesday of every month, starting at 6:30 p.m.