catechumenate (katəˈkyoōmənate) or κατηχούμενος
Catechumenate comes from a Greek word meaning “to learn and explore.” The Catechumenate is a place where we explore what it means to be a human being and a person of faith within our community. Catechumenate provides a place to slow down, a space to truly listen to other people, and a time to honestly speak about what they believe. The small groups are the key. As one “catechumen” put it, “The Catechumenate provides that balance between chaos and structure that is sometimes lacking in our daily lives, but is so key in helping to learn about oneself.”
The earliest Christians used a lengthy version of the Catechumenate to ensure that those who were baptized into the church were not spies for the Roman Empire, but when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as the state religion and infant baptism became the trend the process was dropped. It was not until the 1800s and 1900s when adult baptism became more popular that any sort of adult initial process be created to prepare someone for baptism. helping us understand our own faith, perhaps for the first time, which creates in many the desire for baptism, confirmation of baptismal vows, reception into the Episcopal Church, or reaffirmation of baptismal vows. However, those who come are never forced to go down any of the roads to those important rites. The Catechumenate is an open and honest, but low pressure process that is about finding a voice to express one’s faith and making connections with others.