What is Catechesis?

This Sunday, August 25 2019, we are commissioning Rez's first lay catechist! It's a really big deal and for really good reason. But "catechist" and "catechesis" aren't words we often hear, if ever. If you're wondering what catechesis is, we wanted to give you a quick introduction, adapted from our Anglican catechism: To Be A Christian.

It's about making disciples:Christian Catechesis (from the Greek katecheo: “to instruct”) is an essential part of Christian disciple-making. It is a process aimed at making clear to everyone what it means to be a Christian. It lays out what is essential for Christian faith and life. It opens the door to knowing Jesus Christ and experiencing the full love of God through him.

It's about the mission of the church:The process of catechesis leads to full involvement in the life and mission of the Church, and deeper understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

It's about "Life Together in the Goodness of God": Finally, catechesis anchors disciples in the full reality of unquenchable joy, beginning in this life and ever-increasing in the life to come. As such, catechesis is a missional means by which God may bring about both conversion to Christ and formation in Christ.

This is why we make such a big deal about it!
This is why we thank God for preparing people like Thomas Magbee, who we celebrate this Sunday. He is a servant and co-workers in the sacred ministry of catechesis. Make sure you join us this Sunday for this!

This is also why catechesis is built-in to our church's mission statement: "to participate with God to welcome, shape, and send disciples." We want to be in involved in God's life, and in Christ we are. We are welcomed in Baptism into the household of God, shaped and nourished at his table in Holy Eucharist, and equipped and sent into the world as ambassadors of His Kingdom in confirmation. Here's the way we visualize this mission at Rez:

Mission Circles.png

Who should go to Catechism?
You should.

  • If you're a Christian who desires to grow in the faith and help others grow.

  • If you've never been confirmed (what's that? A topic for another newsletter), start the process with catechesis.

  • If you're not a Christian but love coffee.

  • If you're a committed member of Rez, commit to growing in your understanding of the faith.

  • If you want to know more about the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Creed.

Don't miss this opportunity to grow.
Join us as we kick off a new season of fellowship, prayer, and study in our catechism hour before the service every Sunday, beginning September 8th at 9 AM. Kid's catechism classes will also be open during that time, so bring the whole family.

Find out more below on our Adult Catechesis page:

A Pastoral Letter Regarding the Shootings in Dayton and El Paso

Rez family,

We are all still reeling from mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. If you’re like me, you struggle with discerning how to live and speak as a faithful witness of the Kingdom of God when reading the reports that at least 31 killed in the mass shootings from this weekend alone. Sadly these tragedies and the evils of gun violence in general have become commonplace in our country. From where I stand, as a husband and father of 6 kids, as half-Mexican and half-white, and as your priest, I have felt the burden of our society’s old wounds, its willful ignorance, its ideologies that idolize the powerful and trample the weak, and the divisions built up by fear and sin. Everyone feels disrespected, misunderstood, defensive, angered, and disoriented. And yet the church has never been more perfectly equipped and suited to engage this darkness.

We tend to think all we can do is offer our “hopes and prayers”, get on social media, or fight for political change. Don’t get me wrong, these things aren't bad in and of themselves. I’m grateful we live in a country where people can exercise those freedoms. But as long as we believe that the problem is really somewhere “out there” to be fixed in the world or in others, and not in us, we make a fatal misjudgment and we miss the real way forward. Consider this: We live in God’s world, He is setting things right through His son, Jesus, and we are His church. This means there are conversations we really need to have and actions we really must take as witnesses of genuinely Good News for our world. There is much to say about all of this, but there are at least 2 things I want to point our community toward.

First, especially in the case of the mass shooting in El Paso, we must name the evil of white supremacy, white nationalism, racism in its various forms (including rhetoric that incites and encourages it, and the ways it's "built-in” to the way our society operates), violence, and domestic terrorism. For whatever blame we put on the president, lack of gun-control, mental health, video games, culture, etc., is blame we must also own our share in. Our politicians, policies, culture, are just a collective reflection of who we have become, an image we don’t want to see because we fear it's really true. The blame we put on others, even when rightly placed, allows us to tell a story about ourselves and others that maintain our innocence and righteous indignation at the evils in others. There is no “them”, it’s just us. There is no one righteous, not one (Romans 3:10-12). We have to begin by naming our society’s sin as a reflection of who we have become. We are complicit in these societal evils, we have participated in and propagated them, we have worked ourselves into this dark place of death and division, and we can be ready to repent and make things right. The grief of those who suffer should weigh heavy on us, and our guilt should lead us to repentance, not defensiveness. Repentance doesn’t “win” a point for our political party, or show how “woke” we are, nor does it need something from those we disagree with. Repentance admits defeat, puts down weapons, and drains all pride and vanity, to make space for the life that only God’s grace can provide.

Second, Jesus is still the answer. We have a hope capable of healing and unifying a severely broken world. When the worst evils of the world were unleashed on Jesus on the cross, when evil had given its best shot, he trampled over it and triumphed. The title “Lord” is only rightfully His, and this means he can tell us and this world what to do. This means that any power, any authority, any ruler, or party, or movement, and even ourselves, are subject to the agenda and will of Jesus Christ. No political party is safe from critique by the Kingdom, no establishment, no sacred custom or thing our society guards, and no cultural norm isbeyond His authoritative headline that His Kingdom is now settling over all of it. It all belongs to Christ, we belong to Christ, we are citizens in His Kingdom, and everything is subject and held accountable to Him.

Church, you are the sign of God’s work in the world. Think about it: what we cry out for is for God to gather up our broken world, to bring peace, to heal and set things right. This is exactly what God is doing in the church through Christ and by the power of the Spirit. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people (1 Peter 2:9). We’ve all got the same past: we are a people once caught in sin that Jesus has commanded be raised to life. We’ve all got the same future: God has inaugurated His new world and we are called as His bride to reveal his beautiful reign and rule. We are made one community in Christ, perfectly equipped and suited to engage the world. So don't be afraid to follow Jesus into the world’s pain and lean on the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be afraid to confess and repent, to grieve and be present to those who suffer. Don’t be afraid to love boldly, and welcome outsiders, just as Christ has loved and welcomed us. Don’t be afraid to follow Jesus when the world resists the Kingdom He is establishing. Get used to being a peculiar people with an identity foreign to this world. You shouldn't fit comfortably into a political party’s ideology. You should feel out of place when with any vision of life that competes with the Kingdom of God. You should be frustrated by the arrangements of the world that devalues, tramples, takes advantage of, or destroys human beings. Nothing justifies evil, not economic prosperity, not the precedent of policy, not our privileges, and not our ethnicity or social standing. And nothing will stand in the way of the Kingdom that is at hand. God's everlasting Kingdom is our “home” placed in a strange and broken land.

It’s one thing to know in your head and heart, and quite another to learn to actually practice. Personally, I'm constantly working this out in my own life. It's for this very reason that Rez hosts a regular conversation called “Who is My Neighbor?” that wrestles with discerning the way of the Kingdom in our world. This Saturday at 5:30 PM we are exploring the timely topic of immigration, hearing from one of our own about their experience. This is important, please make it a priority to be there with us.



Pentecost Survey


An invitation of the Spirit's work in us

If you missed our Pentecost celebration last Sunday, we considered how the Holy Spirit has empowered the church to participate with God for the sake of others. Fr. Shawn shared stories of how Pentecost is already seen and put to work by so many in our community. When we see those gifts at work we are reminded that we have everything we need as a parish to thrive, joining in God's mission in South Austin.  

To help you join in, we've put together a brief survey of questions. Take a few minutes to fill this out so we can learn how to best support what God's doing in your life and in our community. The survey will be open for one week, closing June 17, so that we can compile the results and report back a summary of what we've heard from you.

We're excited to see more of what God is up to!

The Book of Common Prayer 2019


Christianity – the fullness of the good news about Jesus Christ – came very early to Roman Anglia (England) through the witness of soldiers, sailors, merchants and missionaries.  Legend holds that the biblical tomb-giver, Joseph of Arimathea, was among the first of those scattered evangelists.

The early Christian mission in the British Isles was an encounter with pagan tribes and societies.  Converts banded together, and in this context, communities of common prayer, learning, and Christ-like service emerged, living under agreed rules. Thus “monasteries” became centers of the evangelization of this remote region of the Roman world, and ever more so as the empire disintegrated. Early heroes and heroines leading such communities bore names that are still remembered and celebrated, names like Patrick, Brigit, David, Columba, Cuthbert, and Hilda. Haphazardly, and without a centralized hierarchy or authority, what emerged in Britain, by God’s grace, was a Church that saw herself, in each of her local manifestations, as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church: culturally attuned and missionally adaptive, but ever committed to and always propagating “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1: 3).

Reform came in various waves, based more in the Roman systems of diocese and parish. At the end of the sixth century, Augustine, a Benedictine monk and first Archbishop of Canterbury, was sent out from Rome by Pope Gregory the Great with instructions that encouraged preservation of local customs when they did not conflict with universal practice. Dunstan, 25th Archbishop of Canterbury, great reformer of common worship, and Anselm, 36th Archbishop, early scholastic theologian, were among notable monastic successors of this far more hierarchical Roman mission. Closer connection to the continent and distance from the Patristic era also meant that from the seventh century onward, British faith and order were increasingly shaped by efforts to create a universal western patriarchate at Rome. The Norman Conquest of the 11th century also played a role in diminishing the distinguishing peculiarities of Ecclesia Anglicana. Liturgy also became increasingly complicated and clericalized.

All across Europe, the sixteenth century was marked by reform of the received tradition.  So great was this period of reevaluation, especially concerning the primacy of the Holy Scriptures, that the whole era is still known to us as The Reformation.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, 69th Archbishop of Canterbury, who was martyred at Oxford in 1556, led the English phase of this reform of Church life and Church worship. Undoubtedly Cranmer’s most enduring achievement was his replacement of the numerous books of the Latin Liturgy with a carefully compiled Book of Common Prayer. This was a Prayer Book in the vernacular, one which brilliantly maintained the traditional patterns of worship, yet which sought to purge away from worship all that was “contrary to Holy Scripture or to the ordering of the Primitive Church.” The Book of Common Prayer, from the first edition of 1549, became the hallmark of a Christian way of worship and believing that was both catholic and reformed, continuous yet always renewing. According to this pattern, communities of prayer – congregations and families rather than the monasteries of the earliest centuries – would be the centers of formation and of Christ-like service to the world.

For a century the Church of England matured and broadened as a tradition separated from the Church of Rome. Its pastoral, musical and ascetical life flourished: Jeremy Taylor, Lancelot Andrewes, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and George Herbert are but a few of the names associated with this flowering. Also begun were three centuries of colonial expansion that exported the Book of Common Prayerto countless cultures and people-groups the world over.

The English Civil War of the seventeenth century drove the Church of England and her liturgy underground. Nevertheless, with the Restoration of the Monarchy, the Book of Common Prayer, authorized by Parliament and Church in 1662, became Anglicanism’s sine qua non. Great Awakenings and the Methodist movement of the 18th century, as well as adaptations necessary for the first Anglicans independent of the British Crown, challenged and re-shaped Prayer Book worship, as would the East African revival, charismatic renewal and the dissolution of Empire in the 20th century. Similarly, the evangelical and anglo-catholic movements of the 19th century profoundly affected Anglican self-understanding and worship in different, often seemingly contradictory, ways: yet the Book of Common Prayer 1662 was common to every period of this development. For nearly five centuries Cranmer’s Prayer Book idea had endured to shape what emerged as a global Anglican Church that is missional and adaptive as in its earliest centuries, authoritatively Scriptural and creedal as in its greatest season of reform, and evangelical, catholic and charismatic in its apology and its worship as now globally manifest.

The liturgical movement of the 20th century and ecumenical rapproachment in the second half of that century had an immense impact on the Prayer Book tradition. The Book of Common Prayer 1979 in the United States and various Prayer Books that appeared in Anglican Provinces from South America to Kenya to South East Asia to New Zealand were often more revolutionary than evolutionary in character. Eucharistic prayers in particular were influenced by the re-discovery of patristic texts unknown at the Reformation, and often bore little resemblance to what had for centuries been the Anglican norm. Baptismal theology, especially in North America, was affected by radical revisions to the received Christian understanding, and came perilously close to proclaiming a gospel of individual affirmation rather than of personal transformation and sanctification.

At the beginning of the 21st century, global reassessment of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 as “the standard for doctrine, discipline and worship” shapes the present volume, now presented on the bedrock of its predecessors. Among the timeless treasures offered in this Prayer Book is the Coverdale Psalter of 1535 (employed with every Prayer Book from the mid-16th to the mid-20th centuries), renewed for contemporary use through efforts that included the labors of 20th century Anglicans T.S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis, and brought to final form here. The Book of Common Prayer (2019) is indisputably true to Cranmer’s originating vision of a form of prayers and praises that is thoroughly Biblical, catholic in the manner of the early centuries, highly participatory in delivery, peculiarly Anglican and English in its roots, culturally adaptive and missional in a most remarkable way, utterly accessible to the people and whose repetitions intended to form the faithful catechetically and to give them doxological voice.

The Book of Common Prayer 2019 is the product of the new era of reform and restoration that has created the Anglican Church in North America. The Jerusalem Declaration of 2008 located itself within the historic confines of what is authentically the Christian Faith and the Anglican patrimony, and sought to restore their fullness and beauty. The Book of Common Prayer 2019 is offered to the same end.

+Robert Duncan

Archbishop Emeritus

Anglican Church in North America

On behalf of all who shaped this Book

+ Foley Beach


Anglican Church in North America

On behalf of the College of Bishops 

Preface, The Book of Common Prayer 2019