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By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
Have you ever wondered what Episcopalians believe, how they worship, or what makes them different from other mainline denominations?
Why do they wear all those fancy vestments? Why do they feel it necessary to take communion every Sunday? What distinguishes them from the Catholic church or other denominations? Why is their music different from other churches? How did the Episcopal Church in America survive the American Revolution?
These questions and more will be answered during the 7 p.m. Monday evening classes offered by The Rev. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church during the month of February.
Though these classes are mandatory for those wishing to be confirmed into the Episcopal church, they are open to anyone who is simply curious and wants to know more about the church.
“Not everyone who attends the classes chooses to be confirmed,” says Fr. Neel, “but the classes are informative and fun, giving some perspective into the church’s history and practices. I hope everyone will feel welcomed and will enjoy learning about the Episcopal Church. There is absolutely no pressure at all for people to take the next step to confirmation, though you are certainly invited to do so.”
Each class is different, so visitors don’t have to attend all of them to get something out of them. “I always look forward to teaching this class,” says Fr. Neel. “There are always some fun and thought-provoking questions and discussions that happen with each group. I am happy to answer any questions as best as I can.”
Fr. Neel is a graduate of Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary in Wisconsin, author of the book, “The Food and Feasts of Jesus,” and has been rector of St. Patrick’s for nearly six years. He is known for his down-to-earth teaching style and his extensive knowledge of church history and biblical studies. He is active in the community as a member of the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, Pagosa Outreach Connection and is an ex-officio board member of Loaves and Fishes.
St. Patrick’s is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. For more information, call 731-5801 or go to www.stpatrickspagosa.org.