Pilgrims in Christ

What is Pilgrims in Christ?

Pilgrims in Christ is not a program... although it has regular meeting times and an agenda. Nor is Pilgrims in Christ a class... although the people who participate do learn. Rather Pilgrims in Christ is a gathering of people who are at various stages in their relation to the Christian faith and to the Church and who want to know more about the Christian community and discover how God is active in their own lives. Thus, Pilgrims in Christ is an organized process through which we at St. Andrew parish welcome, support, and care for one another. Pilgrims in Christ provides an environment where we hear and tell about the events of our own stories and of God's story in Jesus Christ. Through this process, the Pilgrims are led to understand and experience the deep meaning of Christian living and their role in the community of faith. Through this process, the members of our congregation have found an important way to offer companionship to others on the Christian pilgrimage as we take seriously our Lord's command to "go and make disciples of all nations."

An Ancient Christian Practice

Pilgrims in Christ is modeled on an early Church pattern for preparing persons for baptism called the catechumenate. This four-stage formation process provided converts with instruction, spiritual guidance, study of Christian scripture, worship and tradition, and experience of prayer and ministry. The process today is called the catechumenal process, which means that the participants are "hearers of the Word," searching for an understanding of God as revealed in Jesus, and the meaning of life as God's children. The four stages to the process are:

  • inquiry
  • formation
  • intense preparation for baptism or reaffirmation
  • exploration of ministry

This catechumenal formation is finding increasing credence in our time when initiating and forming Christians in the midst of a secular and religiously pluralistic society presents the church with significant new challenges.

Who Can Participate?

Pilgrims in Christ is open to all persons, baptized or unbaptized, who want to enter a process of spiritual exploration. The process is divided into four stages, with an appropriate liturgical rite to mark the passage from one stage to the next. Members of the congregation accompany the pilgrims as sponsors. Though their role is primarily supportive, they also have the opportunity to renew and deepen their own spiritual lives. The process begins in the Fall with each stage lasting approximately six to ten weeks and concludes on Trinity Sunday. At the center of this process are the sacraments of Christian initiation... baptism, confirmation, reception from another denomination, or the renewal of one's baptismal vows in the Episcopal Church.