Title III, Canon 4, Section 8

A Catechist is a lay person authorized to prepare persons for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, and the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows, and shall function under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.

Note: The Catechist should also comply with the general canons regarding licensed lay ministries found in title III, Canon 4, Sections 1 and 2.


Catechists shall demonstrate competence in the following subjects:

· The Holy Scriptures

· The Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal

· Church History

· The church’s Doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism.

· Methods of Catechesis

Every congregation needs to identify, call and equip lay people with the gifts and vocation of a Catechist. In most cases, these people, working with and under the direction of a priest or deacon, may not need to be licensed. A licensed Catechist is a confirmed adult communicant in good standing called to lead in preparing people for membership in the Church, and to be a teacher of teachers. This may be particularly important in the absence of resident clergy. A person who accepts this call should consider making this their primary ministry in terms of time and energy. But this ministry cannot be done alone. It requires intentional congregational support (coordinated, perhaps, by a member of the clergy or a member of the Vestry). The Bishop should be consulted prior to the introduction of the ministry or development of an applicant's training process for this license.

1. Develop a Plan for Training

To be licensed as a Catechist, the candidate, in cooperation with the priest in charge of their congregation (or some other person appointed by the Bishop), will develop a plan, in writing, for training in the canonical areas. This plan will be submitted to the Bishop and will include a description of their call to this ministry, a substantial program of theological education (Education For Ministry, or an individually developed program, with one year or the equivalent already completed at the time of licensing) and monitored teaching (supervised by the priest in charge or other person appointed by the Bishop.

Because formation of Christian character is a central part of the role of the Catechist, it is important that their life model what they teach. Pastoral issues are likely to arise during the course of their work, so they also need some pastoral sensitivity and training to appropriately refer people for further care. Catechists need to have a working acquaintance with modern educational/catechuminal methods. In particular, it is necessary that they are familiar with the idea of the catechuminate and are aware of the recent studies on the use of the catechuminate in the Episcopal Church. It is expected that they will be able to work with people of all ages.

2. Choose One Project from Each Group

A suggested method (taken from the Total Ministry Notebook of the Diocese of Nevada) is to choose one project from each of the following groups. Do the project in consultation with the priest in charge of your congregation (or other person appointed by the Bishop.)

A. Group One

1) Preparing a family and godparents for Christian initiation of an infant.
2) Coordinating preparation of an adult for Christian initiation involving other members of the parish.
3) Preparing a group of high school age people or an intergenerational group for Confirmation.
4) Preparing an adult for Reception.

B. Group Two

1) Planning and leading a teacher training event.
2) Planning, coordinating, and evaluating a parish-wide learning event.
3) Planning and leading an adult Bible study workshop or ongoing class.

C. Group Three

1) Preparing someone for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
2) Working with parents on teaching young children about the Eucharist.

© 2013 The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

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