Anglicanism taught me that the Church exists.
I once thought that everyone had their own relationship with Jesus and they got together on Sundays to sing and talk about it. I know now that the Church is a ‘she’ not an ‘it,’ a great tradition that spans time and space, and a real spiritual home in whom Christ actually dwells with his people by Word and Sacrament.
Arriving at the Anglican Church from the evangelicalism I grew up in, I felt like I had returned from a long stay at a remote island to a homeland I had never known existed. And, like a repatriated citizen arriving at a home I had never lived in, I was curious about the habits, customs, and backstory of the great Church that I hadn’t had the opportunity to make my own.
Since I became an Anglican, I found a lot of people in the same position. In fact, I have never met a single person in our pews or pulpits who was uninterested in learning more about the history and tradition of the Anglican Church and the broader catholic tradition. The only barrier was time.
So I scheduled some time with my friend Father Stephen Gauthier and we began a podcast, Word & Table that we hoped could help. We were so encouraged by the response that we began building a more systematic curriculum designed to give a substantial introduction to the great tradition of the Christian faith.
Now, we’re happy to introduce Saint Paul’s House of Formation: an online, four-semester curriculum on scripture, liturgy, patristics, theology, and Church history from an Anglican perspective.
Learning the faith is a lot like learning another language. If you want to gain a solid working knowledge of a modern foreign language, it is not enough to learn grammar rules, practice pronunciation, and memorize vocabulary—you need to experience how all of these elements come together to form the seamless garment that is a living language.
Saint Paul’s House of Formation takes this kind of “synthetic” approach to preparing mission leaders—allowing them to experience how Bible, theology, liturgics, patristics, and Church History have all combined over more than a thousand years to form the vibrant living tradition we know as Anglicanism.
The base, four-semester curriculum can be taken fully online, but we also learn in community. When you sign up, you’ll be given the opportunity to join a cohort of other learners. Sometimes people meet in person, sometimes online, but we think it’s important to engage with other students. The Church works together and learns together. A lot of folks aren’t in a position to be able to pick up and move to a seminary to get a degree with an Anglican Studies certificate. Saint Paul’s is designed to allow lay and ordained leaders to learn “on the job” in their churches and communities as they pursue the mission of Jesus Christ in their local contexts.
Saint Paul’s House is focused on the universal, or ‘catholic’ tradition, and although we teach from our Anglican perspective, this is the heritage of every Christian.
Special focus is placed on the first five centuries of the Christian Church and the Fathers, doctors, martyrs, and mystics that first expounded and defended the Church and her faith. We pay close attention to the early church because we believe that the faith once delivered to these saints lives today. The patristic era is not just a niche area of antique study. It remains vitally important to guiding the Church and her mission today. If you have been interested to learn more about the ancient Church, St. Paul’s is a great opportunity to do so.
We already have a lively community of over 90 students learning together and we would love to see more. Over the next months and years, Lord willing, we will be building out even more courses on particular books of the Bible, Church Fathers, and even a series on icons.
I have always been inspired by Jesus as he walks with the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, opening the scriptures and showing them everything concerning himself. We want to continue that work of our Lord in our time and we invite you to join us.