By Melody Walcott
We have lived through a time that amazes, frustrates and sometimes scares us all – a pandemic that spread from one side of the world to another, that tested our survival, our medical skill and our spiritual stamina. COVID-19 was unlike anything most of us have lived through before. It brought different words and graphics to our everyday thinking: pandemic, respirators, tiers, vaccination, COVID long term symptoms, stimulus checks. And the ever-present masks.
To compound and exacerbate our worries, we met a throwback to a time of confrontation and divisiveness – both political and racial. We mourned the passing of young Black men and women from confrontations with police and realized that our country has not overcome its troubled racial history. We bickered about how to meet at one table to solve our problems.
We had to learn patience and a small mountain of compassion. We had to be creative in communication and just how to manage a visit with our family. We had to figure out ways to school our children. We had to care for our loved ones after COVID and endure the pain of their loss. We had to figure out how to honor them in death.
We saw ourselves at our best and at our worse.
By Beth Conkle
The Anglican Catechist Training School is currently wrapping up its fourth year of training catechists for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. This year, there are eight students enrolled in ACTS: Katie Tjerrild, Joel Young, and Christina Pestana from St. James, Nancy Gomez from Our Lady of Guadalupe, Rachel Conrrique from St. John’s in Petaluma, Chris Thomas from ADSJ’s church plant in Reno, and Taban Duku and Margaret Douglass from Jesus the Good Shepherd in Henderson, Nevada. There are two students currently enrolled in year 2 of ACTS and will be licensed as Lay Pastoral Catechists: Harlan Young (St. James) and Delmas Gault (St. John’s).
This past Memorial Weekend ACTS held its annual retreat at St. Anthony’s Retreat Center in Three Rivers, and this event indeed represented a milestone for ACTS in many ways. Catechists from every class of the ACTS School were represented (Jeanine Werner, 2018, Mary Giles and Sandra Simon, 2019, Delmas Gault, 2020) along with several clergy who have enthusiastically supported ACTS since its beginning. Fr. David and Betty Miller from St. John’s, our own Fr. Carlos and Carol, and our Bishop Eric. Also in attendance were Fr. Noah Lawson (St. Alban’s Los Banos), Dc. Erin Giles (Jesus the Good Shepherd in Henderson) and our beloved Fr. Anthony, all three who serve on the ACTS Leadership Team. Also present were Avery Meyer from Holy Cross in Sanger, Barbara Lyles from OLG, and Mark and Wendy DeRaud from St. James. There were twenty-six people in all. Due to the pandemic, the ACTS class met solely via Zoom this year, so the retreat was the first opportunity for students and instructors to actually get to meet each other face-to-face.
Our guest speaker, Fr. Ryan Jones from Eucharist Church in San Francisco, shared his vision and experience of building a church as a culture of catechesis for all its members, including children, life-long church attenders, newcomers to Anglicanism, and newcomers to the faith. According to Fr. Jones, the goal of catechesis is Christoformity: the process of individual and collective formation into the image of Christ. All of life is to be lived in reference to Christ and his purposes. In addition to catechism classes and discipleship, Christoformity occurs over a lifetime as members participate in the worship, sacraments, mentorship, and spiritual disciplines together.