By Greg Smith, JBL:NAAC Board Member The speaker for the conference of clergy was confident, progressive and effective as a communicator of the Gospel for the 21st century. So, when she began to say that she had little time for things like long range planning and goal setting for congregations, “Natural Church Development,” and discipleship programs it had a shock … Read More

Unanticipated Enlightenment

By Bev Piro The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. John 1:5 That is one of my take-aways from the solar eclipse last month. My husband and I traveled to the Agate Fossil National Park in the Nebraska panhandle, the ancestral grounds of the Lakota, to witness totality for about 2 and a half minutes. … Read More

Getting started with the catechumenate

By Charles Mantey I went to my first catechumenate training event twelve years ago while I was at my previous congregation. I have to admit that the word “daunting” came to mind for me and the folks from that parish who attended the event. It was daunting to us because the catechumenate is a process that is adapted to each … Read More

The Gift of Blessing

By Martha Maier Last spring, gathered around a table laden with salmon, baked potato fries, asparagus and an abundance of rice, I said a brief blessing before we began to eat. We were dining al fresco in Southern California, having travelled there to celebrate my daughter’s graduation from grad school. At the table were Emily, her classmate Amanda and assorted … Read More

Flow of Love: Reflections on Richard Rohr’s Latest Book

By Elise Eslinger During a recent Blue Ridge getaway weekend with my husband, to celebrate our wedding anniversary and his birthday, we were unexpectedly diverted onto a detour route. That bumpy road became a gravel pathway, probably an access road through that part of Pisgah National Forest! In the midst of our slow and winding drive through those beautiful yet … Read More

After the Easter Fire Is Out

By Larry Ehrens Mystagogy is the Greek word that has been handed down from the early Christian community to describe the fourth movement of the catechumenal process that is formally lived into from Easter until Pentecost. These days serve as a mirror reflection of the days of Lent that prepare us for Easter. These days focus on “What happened? What … Read More

“Grace without God?”

By Greg Smith In preparation for this academic year, I read a book that had been recommended to me. The book is Grace Without God by Katherine Ozment. The subtitle was particularly intriguing: “The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age.” Here are the autobiographical reflections of an individual who represents a large part of the population … Read More

Culture and Baptism

by Dan Benedict We are increasingly aware that underneath the recovery of the catechumenate in our churches, there is an order (ordo) a common pattern: formation in faith and baptizing in water together, leading to participation in the life of the community. 1 We could expand this pattern to include the broader life of the faith community to include proclamation/evangelization, … Read More