A message for your inquirers

By Charles Mantey, JBL Board Member So, you have wondered about the Christian faith and have been asked to come to a gathering to talk about your concerns. It may be at a church or at the coffee shop or maybe even at the local bar. You may wonder what is going to happen there. Will I be put on … Read More

From Affirmation to Transformation: Our Journey

By Terry Martinez, JBL Board Member “Our faith is formed by the practices that shape it.” Our Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Christopher Q. James, was searching for ways to help a congregation recover its baptismal identity – never fully formed due to the diminishment of sacramental practice in the larger Presbyterian/Reform tradition. “I was committed to planning and leading worship … Read More

A Seminarian Reflects on the Catechumenate

By Pam Gompf I have been doing some thinking about my seminary education.  I have enjoyed my classwork and the insights I’ve gained from fellow students and professors.  I hope that my life experience of raising three children and working as a youth minister over a decade will come through in preaching and teaching.  I know the Spirit has been … Read More

Eastertime Lessons & the Christian Life

By Michael Marchal, JBL Board Member A primary link with the ancient world in our catechumenal practice occurs in Cycle A when the three Johannine stories of the Woman at the Well, the Man Born Blind, and the Raising of Lazarus are proclaimed on the middle Sundays in Lent. These stories have been the core of the period of intense … Read More

Team Grows with Creative Faith Timeline

By Lance Georgeson, JBL Board Member Certainly one of the most impactful exercises in early sessions of the catechumenate is the “faith timeline”.  We have consistently found that this fosters a sense of intimacy in the small group and sets the tone for the entire process:  both Candidates and Sponsors begin to see that their stories are connected with God’s … Read More

Bigger always Better?: The Small Church and the Catechumenate

By Larry Ehrens, JBL Board Member and Vice President After facilitating the Catechumenate in a Cathedral parish and several good sized suburban congregations, I was unsure how to go about this same ministry in a smaller setting. My question was: Is the Catechumenate scalable to smaller churches? Our new church plant has a Sunday attendance between 50 and 60 persons. … Read More

Which fountain offers new life?

By Elise Eslinger, retiring JBL Board member, with Richard Eslinger, lifetime member Do you remember that lively fountain scene early in the ‘70s movie Godspell? Jesus seeks out and is baptized by John, and interaction between the cousins attracts the attention of a motley crew of young people. The whole gang joyfully splashes with Jesus and John in the waters … Read More

Freed from self-righteousness

By Bryon Hansen, Pastor at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, Seattle, WA Phinney Ridge Lutheran uses a horse trough for baptisms.  It’s a temporary arrangement.  One day we will have a permanent font suitable for full immersion.  In the meantime, we pull a horse trough from the attic and place it in the assembly to be used at all baptismal festivals. … Read More

Ottawa Training includes Poignant Moment

By Greg Smith, JBL:NAAC Board Member A JBL Training was held in Ottawa, Canada from October 25-28 using facilities at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa.  The Training was jointly sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and St. Paul’s University.  St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Ottawa generously hosted the event … Read More

Reimagining the Catechumenate

By Charles Mantey, JBL:NAAC Board Member Even after working with the catechumenate for over twelve years in two congregations, I keep learning new things. What is supposed to be a process attuned to spiritual formation can easily become a program which ignores the needs and desires of the individuals we are serving. Fortunately, the Spirit keeps inviting us into new … Read More