Monday, April 23, 2012

Inquirers' Class Notes #2

Hey, friends!  Notes from the second in our 4 week Inquirers' Class at St C's.  We began, as always, with introductions and uncommon questions.  Our 2 uncommon question for this week were:

1) What is the farthest you've ever been from Portland/Corpus Christi?
2) What is a nickname you willingly answered to at one time?

We each answered one or both.  (This might have been the best part of class.)

Then we picked up a thread of questions from last week's class.  Specifically, we talking about the nature of communion with other churches.  We reviewed the 4 essentials to communion as listed in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, then discussed that communion today is more complicated than simply deciding that we won't build a church in Portland because the Lutherans (with whom we are in communion) already have a church here (which is how communion used to work).  Communion does not work like that in this instance because the two churches only came to be in communion after the two churches were built.  To the good question "Why don't we merge?" we cited pastoral sensitivity and significant connections to holy spaces.  We noted, though, that communion need not be "on" or "off"; that we can grow our relationship with other churches slowly, just like we might in a one on one relationship.  Examples of this include our ecumenical Taize service, our VBS partnership, and our forthcoming ecumenical National Day of Prayer service.

We then watched this video, which is about a quarterly commitment that three churches make in a small town in Indiana to Jesus' desire to see his Church visibly united:

The rest of the class was devoted to a brief overview of the Book of Common Prayer.  We especially noted:
  • The centrality of baptism, whose meaning is linked to the Easter Vigil service.  We are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • We noted that the current prayer book format mirrors the ancient rite of initiation in the early Church, whereby candidates for baptism were equipped over a season of preparation with prayers, creeds, etc. for use in the life of the baptized.  We also noted that those items listed before baptism are examples of the abundance of things various denominations might share with one another, without objection from either side - like prayer.
  • We briefly reviewed the whole of the contents of the prayer book but mostly kept to a discussion about each items position relative to baptism and how this shapes the Church.  Next week we will explore the two great sacraments and other sacramental rites in a hands-on, lab-type setting.

Though we did not go into the history and evolution of the prayer book, some might find these additional handouts helpful:


  1. Would you mind if I used a couple of these with our youth? Fully credited, of course.

    1. Beth, by all means! I would love to hear how the discussion goes with the youth.

    2. Went as well as any - they particularly liked the family tree. Also giggling over the inclusion of "pie". Thanks!