Our calling is to live in community. There are many practical reasons for doing so, and we often remind ourselves of the lessons learned over many years of common life, from the Church of the Redeemer in Houston to the present day. But the practical aspects, important though they are in facilitating a life of Christian discipleship, are not the most fundamental reason for living this way. We do so because the calling of God in Jesus is to be in communion, with him and with each other.
Although there are many great saints whose lives are celebrated in the church, the impact of a single life is always limited in its scope. When we live in communion the risen Christ is a palpable presence among us, all the more powerful because of its many sidedness and ordinariness. There is, in community, something intrinsic to the nature of the church. What is revealed is the truly organic nature of the Body of Christ, in which all the parts are sensitive to every other part. If one part suffers, all suffer. If one rejoices, all rejoice. It is not a collection of disparate parts, each with its own particular characteristics. The Body of Christ is a living organism, called as one to worship God and to live to the praise of his glory. That is what community teaches us and witnesses to. To live in community is to explore the mystery of the church.
We therefore live a common life. Ours is a community of goods, not merely of ideas. The foundation of it is family life. Like the tree in Jesus' parable, in which lodged the birds of the air, among us there is room for all both to be and to share. We strive to see and to hear God in each other, so that the Community as a whole may be a more perfect expression of his presence among us. Worship is central to our life. We give all our times of worship together the most careful attention, so that our praises to God may be the offering to him of our unity in the risen Christ.
For us, community also means something wider than our common life. We may have members living elsewhere than the residential centre, who need the encouragement of belonging. We also believe it to be an important part of our vocation to act as the focus for a wider unity with our Companions and other friends. In this way, the spirit of community is spread, like ripples on a pool of water, to the wider church. At the same time we ourselves are nurtured by their fellowship, strengthening our sense of connectedness to the larger Body of Christ and drawing upon it for our own corporate health.
Our calling is, in the broadest sense, a calling to be church. Calling to mind our earliest roots in a parish church, we seek to witness to the true nature of church. We are a Eucharistic community under the authority of the Episcopal Church of the United States, in the diocese of Pittsburgh. In our daily offices we use the forms and lectionary of the American Book of Common Prayer.
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