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As defined by CanonsA licensed catechist is called to lead in preparing people for membership in the church and to be a teacher of teachers. The catechist is a confirmed adult communicant in good standing authorized to prepare individuals for baptism, confirmation, reception, and the reaffirmation of baptismal vows. The catechist functions under the direction of the member of the clergy who oversees the congregation.

  • Personal qualities

    Ability to work collaboratively with other members of the parish and diocese for the good of the community. 

    While remaining sensitive to the diversity of attitudes, values, and conditions found within a congregation, show an understanding of the centrality of the critical interpretation of scripture to the Episcopal tradition 

    Deep relationship with God, a personal commitment to the mission of the church (parish and diocese), and a strong sense of calling to share in the ministry of the Word 

    Participation in Sunday Eucharist and the life of the parish community. 

    Ability to interact with both children and adults in a respectful and age-appropriate manner. 

    Ability and willingness to learn and implement the catechetical skills necessary for different age groups. 

    Evidence of a passion for learning more about such subjects as Old Testament, New Testament, church history, and theology – for example, through participating in EFM, DOCC, Disciple, or other similar programs; or through continuing education courses 

    Evidence of a passion for teaching

  • Formation considerations prior to licensing

    Contents and background of the Holy Scriptures (knowledge of the general historical outline and content of the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha) 

    Contents and history of the Book of Common Prayer (especially the Catechism) 

    Church history (development of the early church, history and key issues of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, general development of Christian theology and doctrine) 

    Church doctrine as set forth in the creeds and “An Outline of the Faith,” commonly called the catechism, with particular reference to baptism and communion 

    A general knowledge of the canons, polity, structure, and decision-making processes in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion 

    Major methods of catechesis

  • Elements of training

    Catechist training includes participation in certain diocesan-sponsored core courses, and student teaching a confirmation or baptism class session in the local church or region. 

    Completion of the following individual tracks is required: 

    • Holy Scripture – This course will include the general historical outline and content of the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha with emphasis on how the Bible is relevant to the church today. 
    • Preparation for Baptism – Content of baptismal teaching, Baptismal theology, understanding baptism as initiating God’s guidance, reconciliation, healing, and nurturing. 
    • Confirmation Preparation – Reviews and builds on the content of the baptism class, drawing additionally from the confirmation rite; role of confirmation as deepening assurance of healing, guidance, nurture, and reconciliation. 
    • Episcopal Doctrine & Governance – The church’s doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism, with particular reference to baptism and communion; a general knowledge of the canons, practice, and polity of the Episcopal Church. 
    • Church History – Development of the early church, issues of the Apostles and Nicene Creeds, and general development of Christian theology and doctrine 
    • Methods of Catechesis – Methodology of teaching baptismal theology and preparation. 
    • Presentation of three major methods of catechesis: to know (doctrinal basis); to worship (kerygmatic scripture-liturgy approach); and to love (experiential or life-situation method). Discussion of listening skills. Presentation of sample lesson plans for various groups using different methods. 
  • Suggested resources for licensing and renewal

    Basic Background Books 

    • The Holy Bible (any canonically approved version) 
    • The Book of Common Prayer. Church Hymnal Corp., 1979 
    • The Hymnal, 1982. Church Hymnal Corporation, 1985 
    • The Book of Occasional Services. Church Publishing., 2003 
    • Holy Women, Holy Men Celebrating the Saints. Church Publishing, 2009 
    • A Commentary on the American Prayer Book. Marion Hatchett, Seabury Press, 1981, 1995 
    • The Hymnal Companion, 2 vols. Church Hymnal Corp., 1992 

    Catechesis Books 

    • The Catechumenal Process. Church Publishing, 1988 
    • Christian Formation: A Twentieth Century Catechumenate – Leaders’ Manual Workbook. William Blewett and Carolyn Fouse, The Christian Formation Press, 1994 
    • Your Faith, Your Life: An Invitation to the Episcopal Church. Jennifer Gamber, Morehouse Publishing, 2009 
    • Liturgical Life Principles: How Episcopal Worship Can Lead to Healthy and Authentic Living. Ian S. Markham, Morehouse Publishing, 2009 

    Reference Books 

    • Anchor Bible Dictionary. David Freedman, ed., 6 vols., Doubleday, 1992 
    • The New Church Teaching Series. Cowley Publications, 1997-2000 
    • Total Ministry – Reclaiming the Ministry of All God’s People. Stewart C. Zabriskie, Alban Institute, 1995 
    • In Dialogue with Scripture. Linda L. Grenz, ed. Episcopal Church Center, 1992. PDF from Episcopal Church Archives 
    • A Brief History of the Episcopal Church. David L. Holmes, Trinity Press International, 1993 
    • Religious Education in the Small Membership Church. Nancy Foltz, et al. Religious Education Press, 1990 
    • The Creed. Revised. Bernard Marthaler, 2007 
    • A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament. Second edition. Bruce C. Birch, et al. Abingdon Press, 2005 
    • The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation. Luke Timothy Johnson. Augsburg Fortress, 2002 
    • The Parables of Jesus. Arland Hultgren, Eerdmans, 2002 
    • Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Third revised edition. F. Cross and Elizabeth Livingston, eds. Oxford University Press, 2005 
    • A People Called Episcopalians: A Brief Introduction to Our Peculiar Way of Life. John H. Westerhoff III, Morehouse Publishing, 2002 

    Web sites 



  • Renewal of license process

    A licensed lay Catechist will be licensed for up to 3 years at a time. Before 3 year has passed, the licensed lay Catechist should have: had opportunities to practice their ministry; received review of curriculums prior to teaching; continued to develop their skill and spirituality; and should receive an assessment of their good standing.  

    At this time, a member of the clergy with oversight and responsibility for this ministry can recommend that their license be renewed or that they pursue other ministries within the church and give room for others to practice this ministry.  

    Each year the diocese will request an updated roster of licensed Catechists for each parish and worshipping community. 

  • Community

    If you are a licensed lay Catechist or interested in following this group of lay ministers please join us on Facebook.