Several times a year, Pastor Maly gathers together those who have expressed interest in becoming partners in ministry with the other people of Saint Paul. This program is referred to as “the Catechumenate” and is for those who are interested in learning what it means to be Lutheran in this particular community as well as for people who are already affiliated with the community but who want to grow in their ability to talk about our shared tradition. The root word “catechism” comes from a Greek verb that means “to answer.” The goal of those who are a part of the Catechumenate is to be able to answer the question, “So, what are you all about at Saint Paul? What is this ‘Lutheran’ thing?”
Participants in the Catechumenate in the past have found that no questions are “out of bounds” and that regardless of our various backgrounds, we all share many of the same concerns and difficulties when it comes to “church.”
Following six sessions of Catechism, those who so wish are formally received into the Saint Paul community through a ritual that affirms God’s promises to them and that welcomes them into the Body of Christ at Saint Paul.
One of the recently received partners in ministry at Saint Paul says that, “I have found my home, the place I am supposed to BE. The place where I can BE. SPLC is not your daddy’s Lutheran church, and it is, both at the same time. Something quite unique. I have found new family members I didn’t even know I had. I am not alone in life’s struggle. I am loved.”
We are a people who are strengthened in our weekly gatherings to bear with one another in love, infinitely forgiving one another as Christ infinitely forgives us. Nourished in Holy Communion, by which we are fed with God’s peace and promise, we go forth into the world to bear Christ to the world God loves. And week after week, we come back – to be forgiven and to be strengthened to be partners with one another and with Christ in being God’s love for the sake of a waiting and weary world.