Churches that follow a liturgical calendar have entered into the Easter season, which will last until The Feast of Pentecost. These churches follow the pattern that evolved into the seasons of Lent and Easter. Lent began as several weeks of preparation for baptisms at Easter. The season of Easter started as the following period in which the “mysteries” of what it means to be a Christian were more fully and directly explained to the newly baptized. This process of explanation through participation was called the mystagogia. The term is gradually returning to the Christian vocabulary because more and more people are not baptized until they are adults, and fewer and fewer adults have been raised with knowledge of the Christian faith in any real depth.

Most people in our society seem to think they understand the gospel, when in actuality, very few have more than a vague notion about God and religion in general, covered over with a sentimental veneer of teaching of, or about, that really really good man Jesus. Once something about the unique gospel captures such a person and Christian truth leads them to baptism into the community and union with Christ, we usually find that learning about the depth of the faith has only begun.

The church is therefore rediscovering the tools and models that worked so well in the earliest period, when most new Christians had been raised in the pagan religions of antiquity. (Some are even rediscovering use of “the catechumenate.”) We, like the early church, need to offer new Christians the opportunity to enter into a deeper and more mature understanding of the faith they have embraced.

At the Threshold will be using the weeks following to examine the Christian faith in light of what took place in a small worship society in New Orleans this Easter. First, we should introduce this society and what they are exploring. Read More…

The following is part of a series of Interviews of Prisoners and Prison Ministers by the Rev. Canon William Barnwell of Kairos Prison Ministry. We will publish a series of interviews Barnwell conducted with prisoners about Kairos as part of our Christianity at Work project. The first article in this series can be found here.

“Prisons are such loveless places. You always needed to hear God’s Word.”

November, 25, 2011, New Orleans

WHB: I am talking in our home with Lawyer Winfield, Jr., about his life, his prison experience and his time with Kairos—particularly Kairos #53 at Angola Penitentiary. 

Remember, Lawyer, this is your story. Tell me about how you grew up–where were you and what was important to you? How did you end up in prison, and what has Kairos meant in your life?

I grew up in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, in the Desire Housing Project. It was the biggest public housing development in America. A world within itself. A community set off to itself, with mainly poor people. I came up with both my parents. My father was born in 1900 in Tickfaw, Louisiana, and came here in the 1920s. He married my mother, who was fresh out of high school, when he was almost 40 years older than my mother. Read More…