Next up: Women in Early Christianity The Buried Record

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.  

Class format:

  • Eight Sessions via Zoom
  • Live presentations by faculty along with group discussion
  • 11 a.m. until 12:30 CT Saturdays
  • Optional Credits: 1.5 from Bishop Kemper School of Ministry (paper will be required)
  • Tuition:  $200 per class

To register:

Classes in Independent Catholicism

$200 per class. $25 discount if you register by 11/14. All tuition will be received by Charis Ecumenical Catholic Community and earmarked toward Rev. Vanni’s housing allowance.

200.00 $

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.


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.

Independent Catholicism

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.

Spring Class Offerings

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

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.

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

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