"Cloistered in Simplicity"

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Membership
FRIENDS & ASPIRANTS


Christ the Sower

As mentioned previously, there are several levels of membership in the Community of Christ the Sower. The first level is that of being a Friend. Friends of the Community are those persons who do not feel called to live the life of a vowed religious with us, but who nevertheless do feel called to a deeper spirituality and connection with our vision and values. Friends of the Community agree to

  • Pray daily using the Little Gidding Prayerbook
  • Attend the Church of their choice
  • Pray for the Community and its Friends, that we may all grow in grace, faith, holiness and fellowship
  • Promote devotion to Christ and the gospel by sowing the seeds of faith in our fellows as the Lord makes such opportunities available, and
  • Promote the Community by recommending it to any person the Lord might open to that possibility.

Friends of Christ the Sower are first of all friends of Christ. The Celtic peoples have a spiritual concept they call ’anamchara,’ meaning ‘soul friends,’ and indeed this is what we are; friends of the soul, friends in Christ and friends of Christ. Through Him, in Him, and with Him we are friends, family and the body of our Lord Himself on earth. We share friendship through the Son, discipleship in the Father, and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. We are all of us soul friends - Friends of Christ!


The second level of membership is Formation, the pursuit of the life of a vowed religious. This stage of membership involves the process through Postulancy and the Novitiate. Formation is a process much like dating and engagement before marriage: Postulancy is the dating sequence, and the Novitiate is the engagement. It’s an opportunity for the candidate and community to get to know each other, appreciate and accommodate each other, and respond to each other in ever deepening ways.

For many, the essential Community Rule will be quite sufficient for the life of a vowed religious. Others may desire more discipline and exterior evidence of tangible, on-going growth. As our Rule is seeker-driven, each member is free to develop their own program, with direction, as they feel led by the Lord. No one knows an individual's strengths and weaknesses better than the individual him/herself; no one else has the same intimate perspective on what an individual needs to be working on in life than that individual and, perhaps, those closest to them. The contribution of every member enriches all of us, and there is room for everyone regardless of how much or how little he or she feels called to do as their Rule.

As with any vocation, there are certain requirements for all aspirants, as applicants are called. First, aspirants must be baptized Christians. This is the entry point for all members of Christ’s body and hence for membership in any Christian community including the Community of Christ the Sower.
Second, it is expected that aspirants and members shall be modest in both speech and dress. Modesty in speech means that we guard the gate of our tongues against swearing, gossip, lying, cursing and bragging.
Modesty in dress is a similar Christian practice. Clothing should be simple and unrevealing. Garish, seductive and trendy clothing are not only immodest, they do not promote simplicity and good stewardship of resources. While the phrase "long and loose" may be a bit too demanding for many, simple classic clothing made of durable fabrics that will provide years of wear are in keeping with the admonition for both modesty and voluntary simplicity for both men and women members.
These requirements for speech and dress are an opportunity to witness our faith in Christ and, although they are simple to describe, genuine modesty requires vigilance and practice to achieve.
Once an aspirant has started on the road to becoming a vowed religious, namely becoming a Postulant, members are expected to wear a cross or other Christian emblem on the exterior of their clothing, except when any religious ornament is forbidden by an employer or other legitimate authority. Again, modesty and simplicity is stressed in the selection of ornamentation. Stating that we are "cloistered in simplicity" and then wearing a large jewel encrusted cross may send a confusing mixed message to those to whom we are witnessing.

Members are expected to attend the Church of their choice weekly. A Christian without a Church home is by definition separated from the body of Christ, Finding or reconnecting with a church is a starting point for a deeper understanding of the essence of community.
In addition to weekly attendance at church, members pray daily using the Little Gidding Prayerbook. This is our Prayer Book, from which we pray and conduct our seasonal services.

Obtaining a spiritual director is another essential element of formation. This can be the Rector or a Prior of the Community, or may be a pastor or some other godly person who has years of experience in walking with Christ. Your spiritual director is someone who will be willing to check in with you on a monthly [or more] basis, to help you stay on track as you begin your journey with the Community of Christ the Sower.
The place of a spiritual director is similar to that of a counselor. The spiritual director is a discerning professional, not a friend or buddy. It is recommended that the Rector or a Prior of the Community act as a spiritual director for those who are unable to find a suitable person with who they feel comfortable and confident.

Generally a person spends six months to a year in the Postulancy and one to two years in the Novitiate living our lifestyle in its entirety before making a final decision, with their spiritual director, whether or not the Community of Christ the Sower is the place God wants them to stay. This is a highly individual decision, both on the part of the aspirant and on the part of the Community.

If you are interested in more detailed information about formation, please contact us directly. We are currently in the process of revising our Miscellany so it is not available for purchase at this time.



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Donations to the Community of Christ the Sower are tax deductible.
This page last updated on 22-oct-2016


Community of Christ the Sower
Yreka, California
Rev'd Chris Enda-Luke CCS, Superior
vicar@stmarymagdalenes.org
530.643.0858




Related Links
Anglican Church in North America
Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA)
St. Mary Magdalene's Church, Yreka
Anglican Prayer Beads ~ Anglican Rosary
Hymn Organ Accompaniment CDs

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