Classes

Independent Catholicism:

Come learn about this remarkable movement, how it emerged, where it’s been and where it’s going!!!

Courses designed to deepen our understanding and inform our approach to liturgy, leadership and life in the independent sacramental Catholic Churches.

Independent Catholicism is grounded in the lived experience of the early Church. This year of exploration is designed to take us deeply into these early roots to explore the history, spirituality, and liturgical practices of the first Christians from Pentecost until Christianity became the religion of the empire. We’ll look at prayer, leadership, evangelization and other forces that shaped this remarkable emergence,and inquire into how those practices might shape our churches today. These classes will build on each other and you are encouraged to take them sequentially. There will also be a separate class on the emergence of “Old Catholicism,” a movement in which most independent Catholic groups are rooted.

Class format:

  • Eight Sessions via Zoom
  • Live presentations by faculty along with group discussion
  • 6:30 until 8:30 CT weekly
  • Optional Credits: 1.5 from Bishop Kemper School of Ministry (paper will be required)
  • Tuition:  $175 per class

To register:

Classes in Independent Catholicism

$175 per class. $25 discount if you register by 9/5. $100 discount to register in four or more classes. All tuition will be received by Charis Ecumenical Catholic Community and earmarked toward Rev. Vanni's housing allowance.

$175.00

Faculty

Trish Sullivan Vanni, PhD. Trish is a consultant and theologian who works with congregations and ministerial organizations in the areas of formation, vision casting and mission development. Her academic expertise is in Catholic ecclesiology and liturgical theology.She has taught t the Pacific School of Religion, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and St. Catherine University, as well as the Bishop Kemper School of Ministry. She is the priest pastoral director of Charis Ecumenical Catholic Community in Edina. An accomplished writer, she has written multiple magazine articles and seven books, including parish-focused guides to the Mass. She works collaboratively with other independent Catholic leaders to build relationships across jurisdictional lines. Trish lives in Eden Prairie, MN with her sculptor husband Peter with whom she has three remarkable young adult children, two old but adorable cats, and a needy (if irresistible) rescue dog.

Fall Class Offerings

The Emergence of Christianity: First Century (9/15-10/27)

Tuesdays, 6:30 until 8 p.m. CT

We’ll begin with the post-Pentecost experience of the 1st Century Church and the context of the Greco-Roman and Jewish worldviews. Then we’ll dive into the Acts of the Apostles as historical record and a symbolic spiritual statement about Jesus and following the “way.” We’ll take a look at how the broader culture reacted to these activities, and look at the growth of the movement as recounted in the epistles. We’ll also look at documents that were set aside in later centuries that offer insight into the communal prayer and activity of the first “Christians.”

Women in the Early Church: The Buried Record (11/3-12/15)

Tuesdays, 6:30 until 8 p.m. CT

It is clear that from the life of Jesus onward, women played a pivotal role in the emergence of Christianity. That record has been obscured and even buried over the centuries. In this class, we will dive into recent scholarship that offer details of the lives of women followers of Jesus and women leaders of small communities with the intention of recovering these figures of courage and ingenuity. Our goal will be to understand their hidden history and see how it might inform our relationship with women as Christian leaders today.  

The Roots of Independent Catholicism (11/7-12/19)

Saturdays, 9:30 until 11 a.m. CT

The Independent Sacramental Movement is gaining strength in the United States. What are the roots of this movement, and what is its trajectory? We will begin with the emergence of Old Catholicism, move to the challenges that emerged in the wake of the dogmatic teachings of the Vatican I, and then look  at how the lead up to the Vatican II as well as its aftermath produced a a ripe setting in the United States. Finally, we’ll look at how the way spiritualities are constructed today makes independent Catholicism attractive to a wide range of people

Spring Class Offerings

Emergence to Establishment: From Persecution and Counter-Culture to Imperial Christianity (2/9-3/23)

Tuesdays, 6:30 until 8 p.m. CT

The growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire is a remarkable and mysterious achievement. How a movement travelled from condemnation and persecution to being acknowledged as the religion of the Empire is an historical, religious, and spiritual wonder. In this course, we will look at the Church from the leadership of Ignatius of Antioch through to the Conversion of Constantine and the initial Councils of the Church to explore fundamental shifts and to pinpoint where fundamentals were retained.

 Becoming the Church: Prayer and Liturgy (4/13-5/25)

Tuesdays, 6:30 until 8 p.m. CT 

At the heart of the life of the Church is, and always was, the Eucharist.  We will look at the emergence and formalization of the sacraments of initiation in the first century as preparation for participation at the table. We will also look at the theology of the Eucharist from the standpoint of the people of God becoming the Church at the table. This will include fragmentary evidence of the prayer life of the community through to the structuring of the liturgy with the adornments/amplifications and trappings of empire.

The Roots of Independent Catholicism (2/9-3/23)

Saturdays, 9:30 until 11 a.m. CT

The Independent Sacramental Movement is gaining strength in the United States. What are the roots of this movement, and what is its trajectory? We will begin with the emergence of Old Catholicism, move to the challenges that emerged in the wake of the dogmatic teachings of the Vatican I, and then look  at how the lead up to the Vatican II as well as its aftermath produced a a ripe setting in the United States. Finally, we’ll look at how the way spiritualities are constructed today makes independent Catholicism attractive to a wide range of people

The Bishop Kemper School for Ministry is a unique educational institution that provides high quality theological education in a local setting for people in the Episcopal Dioceses of Kansas, Western Kansas, Nebraska and West Missouri and the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of the region. Its courses and programs are open to individuals pursuing ordination as priests and deacons as well as to lay leaders. Courses include a combination of classroom instruction and independent study.