Members of The Episcopal Community offer these Lenten devotionals and meditations to the glory of God. The authors for each day’s contribution come from varied backgrounds, levels of education, occupations and journeys of faith, but all are bound by a common belief in the depth and breadth of God’s grace and love for us. Prayers were offered for those who wrote these devotions and are being offered for all who read the scriptures and meditations with the hope that God will touch hearts and cause blessings to be received throughout this Lenten season and beyond.
The Lenten Devotionals and Meditations 2012 booklet may be downloaded here: Lenten Devotionals and Meditations 2012
The Circle of Leadership adopted the Rule of the Community and the Rule of Life as presented by the Rule Committee during their meeting at Camp Beckwith, AL, at the end of May. Janet O’Brien, chair, with Florence Krejci and Karen Potts, committee members, described the development process and the Rules. Their report follows:
The Rule of Life Committee of The Episcopal Community is excited to share our newly created and officially adopted Rule of the Community with you.
We created The Episcopal Community’s Rule of Life in two parts: the Rule of the Community and a personal Rule of Life. The Rule of the Community distills what The Episcopal Community is; it is who we say we are and what each of us strives to be. The personal Rule of Life document is a workbook with extended explanation, examples, and worksheets. The Rule of the Community will be available on The Episcopal Community website immediately. ”Creating a Personal Rule of Life” will be emailed or mailed to members depending on their internet access; women in study will receive this document toward the end of their study when they are ready to read the chapter in St. Benedict’s Toolbox on creating a rule of life. Copyrights on both these documents are in process.
We began with the Baptismal Covenant. The Baptismal Covenant is made up of two parts: questions of faith (creed) and five promises that are the practical application of the creed. From the five promises, each committee member wrote a Rule of the Community. After much discussion we chose grow, connect, support, and serve as the watchwords with these definitions:
Including Connect is different from other rules because it highlights the importance of commitment to the special relationships and responsibilities within and to our community. The Rule of the Community is the foundation upon which each member creates and revises her personal Rule of Life. The committee sees the Rule of the Community as a public statement of who we are and who we intend to be as The Episcopal Community.
The Rule of Life is a personal Rule and is discerned individually with the Rule of the Community as the guide. We wanted this section to be as accessible and practical as possible. There were many sources for this section. Suggestions from the Circle of Leadership were very helpful. Committee member Florence Krejci compiled the list of suggested practices, which is pretty extensive, and Karen Potts put together the sample Rule chart. This is really a workbook to help guide each member in creating a personal Rule of Life.
The Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan, II, National Chaplain gave enthusiastic support of the Rule of the Community’s watchwords, grow, connect, support, serve, and their similarity to the four basic principles that were the foundation of early Christian communities.
The Rev. Becky Lepley, Spiritual Advisor, expressed keen support for the Rule of Life process worksheet.
The Spiritual Formation Committee, chaired by Nancy Young with members Patsy Tilley and Lera Doneghy, is developing the process for the annual review and renewal of each member’s Rule of Life. As Spiritual Advisor, Becky will receive each of our rules.
In creating these documents, we feel that we have grown in our relationship with God and with one another through self-examination and discourse. Our prayer has been that we have truly “been little pencils in the hand of God” (Mother Teresa). The Rule of the Community and the personal Rule of Life set The Episcopal Community apart from other groups with our Rule based on the Baptismal Covenant.
Please see our Rule of Life page
The Rt. Rev. Philip Duncan
My names is Philip Duncan, son of Philip and Jessie, husband of Kathlyn, father of Andrew and Ian, bishop of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and a child of God. I began thinking about the time I was growing up and the catechism we all had to memorize. It gave us a place to start and a place to stand and a place to see where we were going. Until a few years ago my wife and I were not orphaned for both our mothers were alive and living with us and that was both a joy and difficult. That is my reflection with both delight and pain. My mother was a member of the Daughters of the King and she was active and clear and intentional about her prayer life and a life filled with God’s grace in Jesus Christ. We did not need to ask her about the Daughters of the King and prayer, she would let us know. And she wore her cross from the Daughters of the King and it was for her a powerful symbol. She would put it on when she was informally and formally dressed, “I want to witness to my life of prayer and I want people to know.” I told her one day that it was only a symbol and she said, “Yes it is and it is a powerful symbol made powerful because of the life of prayer to which the community is called.” She got that right and as a priest I was still learning from her.
Symbols are powerful when they point to a reality beyond ourselves such as a life of prayer, the resurrection of Jesus, the work of the Holy Spirit, the love of God as Divine Trinity and life lived in the Community of faith and grace. There are more to be sure. For me the symbol of the Community has the power of being the icon of what we are called to be and to become in our Baptismal Vows. The Episcopal Community is centered in becoming that icon of faith and grace as it prays and studies using the resources available in the Benedictine ordered life. Icons are powerful especially when we allow others to see the Kingdom of God through us. Powerful and meaningful! The cross always points to Jesus and Jesus always points to the Father and presence of the Holy Spirit. What we show forth in our lives of community is the love of God’s fullness and grace and the power in Jesus to bring all within the embrace of his love. The symbol of a cross is life through and from death. The icon is that life made new in the power of Jesus. The cross as seen in its simplicity is that we are confronted and enfolded by the love of the crucified and risen savior. As meaningful as certain crosses may be we are to live under the shadow of “the cross” and by that to be for the world the window into the love of Christ Jesus. My mother understood this reality and it is one that I work on to make that the center within my life for my witness and ministry. May God bless us all as we move forward in the love of the Cross of Christ and the power of his grace.