Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the Episcopal Church “Gather & Grow”

October 2022

by Anna Hurdle

Anna Hurdle is a Montessori teacher, catechist and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formation leader based in North Carolina.

Later this month, October 24-28, Episcopal catechists and other interested friends are invited to attend a conference designed to explore themes and traditions unique to the Episcopal Church and to meet and learn from others in the work. This event will build on the themes of the first Gather and Grow held in 2019. This venue is the Ignatius House in Atlanta and space is still available.

The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry will be one of our speakers (via recorded Zoom). The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, Bishop Curry captured an international audience when he delivered the homily at the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Bishop Curry preached about love, the redemptive power of love, the way of love. He reminded us that love for others, that means all, is what Jesus shows us. Bishop Curry will be joined by the Reverend Mary Gray-Reeves and Anna Hurdle in a panel discussion: The Way of Love-to be a Beloved Child of God. 

Bishop Mary, managing director at the College of Bishops for the Episcopal Church in a separate address, will speak about her vocation and observations as both a bishop and a catechist. The Reverend Robert Gaestel and his wife Tracy will be presenting their history within the Episcopal tradition of CGS and how they have incorporated whole church CGS in the life of their parish, Church of the Holy Angels, Pasadena. Genelda Woggon will share her life’s work about ministry to young parents. Davette Himes will offer Post-Pandemic: Small Church, Big Reach Collaborative Approach, Sustainability and The Way of Love and Becoming Beloved Community with Children.

That is just a taste of the many topics that will be explored as we go beyond liturgical adaptations and seek to acknowledge our moment in time, looking back with memory and looking forward with hope. 

For over 38 years, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has been opening the eyes of adults in the Episcopal Church to the hidden richness of children’s spirituality. It has deeply formed adults and children in their faith. From its earliest inception in the United States, there has been a constant Episcopal presence in our association, in housing the national office in Oak Park, IL at Grace Episcopal Church as well as having a presence on the CGSUSA Board of Trustees, staff, the International Council and formation leadership in national courses. Additionally, CGS is regularly represented at the Episcopal General Convention and FORMA conferences. When Sofia Cavalletti addressed the participants of the North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA) in 1999, she acknowledged and thanked the Episcopal catechists for their part and contributions to the growth of CGS in the United States. 

Much work was done in years past to adapt the Roman Catholic liturgical materials to reflect Episcopal liturgies and teaching. Over time, the work of adaptations, although never fully complete, has expanded to explore core teachings of the church and practices unique to the Episcopal tradition. The Episcopal Church has a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being. Women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons. Leadership is a gift from God and can be expressed by all people regardless of sexual identity or orientation. The Episcopal Church has been able to welcome a variety of folks leaving other religious traditions. However, the Episcopal Church recognizes its history and legacy of systemic power and colonialism that we continue to address. We are learning the story of Pauli Murray and Thurgood Marshall, incredible figures in the life of our tradition, a tradition of diversity that we embrace. We recognize that we are preparing and equipping children for a life of social justice and ecological stewardship at a cellular, formational level in the atrium by hearing the gospel message of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Just as Dr. King reflected upon the words of Jesus before marching, we along with the children are doing the same, hearing the parables and maxims, in preparation for our own work. 

We would love to see and explore these topics with you at Gather and Grow. To register, click here. For scholarship information or for other inquiries, please contact Karen Maxwell. We have a private Facebook group, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the Episcopal Church, that serves as an additional resource for Episcopal and Anglican catechists. If so inclined, we invite you to join. 

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