What’s coming next?

Here in Texas, summer is really starting to really heat up, which means that we can’t be too far away from August and the start of year two of Brazos Fellows. It looks like it’s shaping up to be a great year, and with orientation coming quickly, I wanted to share several exciting news items with you. 

Introducing the 2019-2020 Brazos Fellows
I’m very pleased to introduce our incoming cohort:

  • Savannah Anne Carman is originally from south Charlotte in Waxhaw, NC. In May she graduated from The King’s College (NYC) with a bachelors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Brazos Fellows drew her attention because of its monastic-like lifestyle of daily prayer, shared meals, and study in a small community. In addition to these routines, she looks forward to studying questions about human teleology and the effects of technology (from the hammer to the internet) in human relations.
  • Emily Engelhardt is originally from Boulder Colorado, and recently graduated from Baylor University in the spring. She studied a variety of subjects through the University Scholars program, including literature, theology, and philosophy, and is a long-time member of Christ Church. Brazos Fellows is too good of an opportunity to pass up, and she is particularly excited to jump into the course of study.
  • Victoria Malone is from Arlington, Texas, and just graduated from Baylor in May with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She was drawn to Brazos Fellows by the opportunity to practice rhythms of study, work, and rest—all practiced to the end of knowing and loving God more fully. She is especially looking forward to learning from the Desert Fathers, and is excited to become part the Christ Church community in the coming year.
  • Emily Verdoorn is from Des Moines, IA. She studied Visual Art at Belhaven University (Jackson, MI) where she became deeply interested in drawing as a way to be more attentive to the world of her everyday experience. Since graduating she has been teaching art lessons to children as well as developing her own art practice. Participating in the incarnational practices of liturgy and spiritual disciplines in community intrigues her, and she hopes this time will deepen her relationship to Christ. She hopes to study some variation of the relationship between art and the Church both in history and in our present time.

Each of these young women is a fantastic fit for the program, and we’re very excited about sharing a year together of study, discernment, prayer, and Christian community.  Please join us in praying for them as they move to Waco and prepare to begin the fellowship.


Hitting the Road
This summer, I’ve been able to present about Brazos Fellows on several trips, including in Vancouver, BC, the Anglican Provincial Assembly in Plano, TX, and the Anglican Way Institute conference in Dallas. In the fall, I’ll make a number of other trips to John Brown University, Biola University, Dallas, and New York City. My hope for these trips is to connect with like-minded educators and ministers and meet with students who might be interested in Brazos Fellows. We appreciate your prayers that these recruiting efforts will be fruitful in bringing together our future cohorts.
Gutacker Family UpdateDSC_0876 (1)
We’re excited about what this year holds for our family. Next month, I’ll receive my Ph.D. in History from Baylor, wrapping up many years of graduate study. In addition to directing Brazos Fellows, this year I’ll teach at Baylor as an adjunct instructor. In even better news, in December we’re expecting another Gutacker baby to join us! We’ve many reasons to celebrate and give thanks to God. Thank you for sharing in our joy.
Funding Brazos Fellows
Finally, I want to invite you to participate in the work of Brazos Fellows. Through much generosity, we’ve been able to keep tuition low in our first years of the program. Last year, individual donors contributed over $15,000 to the fellowship–mostly in small monthly donations. Would you prayerfully consider joining these donors with a monthly gift of $25, $50, or $100? Our goal for 2019-2020 is to raise $20,000, which will allow us to cover program expenses, develop and recruit for future years, and continue to keep the fellowship affordable. Details on how to donate are below:

All gifts should be made out to Christ Church Waco with a designation to Brazos Fellows, as donations made in this fashion will be tax deductible. To donate by mail, write to Christ Church Waco, ATTN: Brazos Fellows, 1008 Jefferson Ave., Waco, TX 76701. To donate online, visit brazosfellows.com/give.


5 in 10: David I. Smith

9780802873606This past weekend Brazos Fellows, along with the Graduate Anglicans of Christ Church, hosted Dr. David I. Smith for a symposium titled “On Christian Teaching.” David is Professor of Education and Director of the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning at Calvin College, and a leading scholar in the field of Christian education and pedagogy. He’s written and edited a number of fantastic books on the subject, including Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith and Learning with James K.A. Smith, Teaching and Christian Imagination, and most recently, On Christian Teaching: Practicing Faith in the Classroom.

On Friday and Saturday, a number of graduate students, Brazos Fellows alumni and tutors, and local teachers reflected together on a question posed by David: what does it mean to teach as a Christian? (Below you’ll find a number of excellent resources, both print and online, on this question.)


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More than Just a Room

Editor: please enjoy this reflection from Brazos Fellow Jess Schurz, which she wrote for our End of Year Celebration.

Our first day of Brazos Fellows was a sunny one. It began, of course, around a table–in this instance, the Lula Janes table underneath the blackboard menu. That afternoon, we shared the lunch special, introductions, and that distinct nervous-excitement assortment that tends to characterize beginnings.

Following the lunch, we left for a Skylar Ray-led tour of Waco. Paige prefaced our outing by emphasizing that “place matters. You cannot know who you are,” she explained, “without first knowing where you are and where you’ve been.” And so we piled into the Schorlemer’s suburban, off to embark on answering the important prior question “Of what story do I find myself a part?” That day we were on the edge of things; we committed ourselves to a group of people and a place for nine months but had not yet entered into it.

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5 in 10: Alan Jacobs

Yesterday our Course of Study enjoyed a visit from Brazos Fellows guest instructor Dr. Alan Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs is Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor, where he teaches and writes on theology and literature, literary theory and the history of criticism, and technologies of reading, writing and research. His many books include The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction and The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography, and most recently How To Think and The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis.

Dr. Jacobs introduced the fellows to the poetry of W.H. Auden, specifically Auden’s Horae Canonicae, a series of seven poems that, as Jacobs put it, “take place on the day of the Crucifixion; or, considered in another way, on any Good Friday; or, considered in yet a different way, on every day of our lives.” It was a fantastic discussion of a marvelous poem (which you can listen to Auden reading here.)

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5 in 10: Cody Strecker

Today the fellows discussed the work of Ephraim Radner with Cody Strecker. Cody is a PhD candidate in Theology at Baylor, a Brazos Fellows Tutor, and a frequent guest instructor for the fellows. He also serves as family catechist at Christ Church Waco–although he and his family will be moving on this summer, as he’s taken a position as Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology at Hillsdale College.

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Stories from Year One

A few weeks ago, the Brazos Fellows community gathered together over lunch to share stories from year one of the fellowship. It was wonderful to hear several of the fellows and tutors reflect on our year together: new ways of thinking about and practicing prayer, deeper understandings of our identity in Christ, and the value of studying in a community that practices spiritual disciplines.


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5 in 10: Christina Lambert

Today our class had the privilege of discussing Alexander Schmemann’s For the Life of the World, a wonderful 20th c. work of theology, with Christina Lambert. Christina just defended her M.A. thesis at Baylor on Wendell Berry and ecocriticism, and she’s beginning the Ph.D. in Literature at Baylor this Fall. The fellows had a great time with Christina discussing Schmemann’s sacramental theology, his close reading of the Eucharistic liturgy, and the way in which he helps us recognize the cosmic significance of what we’re up to in our Christian worship.


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