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We are placing copies of materials developed in conjunction with our celebration of the Feast Day of St. Andronicus and St. Junia, Biblical Apostles  (May 17th) on our website. They can be found under the link on the first page of Homilies and Biblical Studies.

There is a document: Who was St. Junia? Controversies about ‘Apostleship’ in the New Testament, which reviews the translation problems in Romans 16:7 where Junia was translated as a man’s name, and where she and Andronicus were said to be “well known by” the apostles rather than notable among them. This document also goes into some of the issues about women being quiet and not allowed to teach, purportedly by the Apostle Paul, and recent scholarship that reinterprets these prohibitions. Research on women’s roles in early house churches in the first century is also summarized.

The other document is a Novena to the Apostles Andronicus and Junia written by Rev. Kathryn Piccard+, an Episcopal priest out of the Boston area and copied by permission.

Blessings, M-J+


Dear friends of St. Junia’s House,

There are some upcoming activities in the next couple of months that I wanted to give you a heads up, so that if you are interested you can plan to attend.

Sunday, May 15th, 2011, 9:30-10:15 AM at St. Matthew ECC Church
, in Orange, CA: Adult Religious Education Seminar on Who was St. Junia? Controversies about “Apostleship” in the New Testament. We will overview the so-called “Junia controversies.” If you are not familiar with biblical reference for Junia, she and her coworker, Andronicus, are mentioned by St. Paul in Romans 16:7:  “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners; they are prominent among the apostles and they were in Christ before me.”

While the early church seems to have been perfectly clear that Junia was a female apostle, after the time of Luther, she began to be depicted as a male – “Junias” – a name that is not found anywhere in Rome. The verse was also translated as though she and Andronicus were “known by” the apostles rather than being “prominent among” them. And the New Testament concept of “apostle” was also seen to narrow over time from Paul’s usage to that of Luke in the Gospel of Luke and Acts. There are implications for who was allowed to participate as leaders in the early church. Using just the four canonical Gospels, it can be demonstrated that where the role of Mary Magdalene and other women is more prominent, Peter is diminished, and vice versa. It appears clear that controversies about women’s place were alive and well even within the first century. This was not simply a later development, attributable to Gnostic sources, nor is it a feminist idea that has been superimposed on the New Testament. We will discuss research on the early house churches in the first century, and early patterns of leadership in them. There will be some written study materials which will be provided to attendees, and those of you who are too far away to come will be able to download these from our website.

We have planned for this educational event in anticipation of the celebration of the consecration of the St. Junia’s House Chapel, to follow a week later. I also hope that the seminar will be videotaped and available to post on-line and DVDs of the event will be available for purchase for $5.

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011, 2 PM at St. Junia’s House, in Anaheim, CA:  ECC Presiding Bp. +Peter Hickman will consecrate the chapel here at St. Junia’s House. There will be a reception with coffee and dessert afterward. If you would like to attend, you can contact me for the physical address, which we do not publish for security reasons because of my professional work in the criminal justice system. Everyone in other nearby ECC communities, including St. Matt, as well as friends who belong to other religious communities is invited to attend.

Friday, June 3rd, 2011, 7 PM at St. Junia’s House, in Anaheim, CA: This event is for all women from St. Matthew and St. Junia’s, ages 15-95! Or any woman who is interested in “checking us out” is certainly welcome too. We will be having a pot luck dinner plus assembling “care packages” for the homeless. Something I started to do several months ago was to build “care packages” in bags, which I keep on the floor in the back seat of my car. When people panhandle, I hand out these bags. I have had some very interesting reactions and conversations with homeless people who have received them. They include individual portions of food that won’t spoil, such as snack packs of crackers and tuna fish, cheese, ham spread, chicken salad; fruit juice, bottled water, packets of coffee or hot chocolate, small cans of fruit, candy bars. In addition, we include some other useful items such as small terrycloth towel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, stationery, envelopes, stamps, plastic bags, etc. I also include a Psalm 23rd prayer card.

So we are requesting that those planning to attend who can afford to do so contribute $7 for each bag you’d like to build. I will collect all the items in advance, if you can tell me how many bags you’d like to make. However, if you cannot afford this, please don’t stay away! You can help me and others put together our packages! Your companionship in our group is the most important thing to us! I need to know who is coming a week ahead May 27th, so that I can make sure I have the items that we will need. Once I know who is coming, we can decide who is bringing what for the pot luck dinner. You can call or text me at 714 606 4365 or email me at, or message me on Facebook.

Saturday, June 4th, 10 AM – 1 PM, at St. Junia’s House, in Anaheim: We will have a mini-retreat  focusing on spirituality across our lifespan, particularly the differences in the spiritual life for the first and second halves of life. We will watch and discuss a DVD presentation by Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who has written many books and conducted spiritual retreats all over the world. I’ll write more details on our plans as this shapes up. But generally, the plan is for a nice brunch and time of sharing. Anyone from any ECC community or anyone who would be interested is cordially invited.

Blessings, M-J+

Dear friends,
Questions periodically arise about who we are and our mission, so I thought I’d post some brief information. For those familiar with the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC), you already know that we have three categories of ministries by which groups or priests enter our system: The most common is a parish. Another group is comprised of those working as hospital or hospice chaplains. And the third is known as a “specialized ministry,” which could be a number of things. St. Junia’s House falls in this latter category. Each ministry incorporates itself and attains a non-profit 501c3 status in becoming part of the ECC. Each is responsible for its own finances. You should know that as pastor of St. Junia’s House, I receive no salary and no income. This ministry is supported out of my own pocket and those of generous friends who are able to help us from time to time.

So, our mission is kind of a pot pourri. We’re not a parish and likely will never become one, because our house church ministry is focused on young adults who attend our weekly Mass. They come from both Roman Catholic and evangelical backgrounds. Because of their ages and life stage, we know that many of them will move on in a few years. We try to keep up with those who have left, and some of them come back to visit when they’re in the Southern California area. We strongly encourage their involvement at St. Matt’s, which is only 12 minutes away, so that they may learn that we are part of a much larger faith community. In our previous IC affiliation, we were quite isolated, so we are gently trying to remediate this problem. Some of our participants have visited at St. Matt’s and we will continue to develop the relationships there. If you’d like to visit St. Junia’s House, just let me know. We need to “count noses” in advance if possible because we serve lunch to everyone after Mass, and have some really good discussion time.

Another ministry of St. Junia’s House is a weekly email of the lectionary scriptures and a written homily, with study notes. We aspire to offer fresh perspectives on our lectionary scriptures. We sometimes modify the readings, because the Roman Catholic lectionary which we follow will cut or skip certain verses. We utilize perspectives across the entire religious spectrum and try to encourage people to study and to think for themselves. Those attending St. Junia’s House  automatically receive it as do some of those who have moved on, and a larger group of adult supporters from a number of different churches. Or, anyone who asks can be put on the list. If you’d like to receive them, just let me know.

We also conduct occasional group seminars or day retreats that are open to anyone at St. Matt’s, or from any nearby ECC community, or anyone who is interested. The last one we did was in February, where we watched a live webinar from Princeton Seminary on the topic of the Atonement, led by professors and priests from the Orthodox Church. We are now planning another one for early June in which we’ll watch a webinar with Fr. Richard Rohr+ (more on this soon). If you’d like to be on a list to be notified when these are coming up, let me know.

We also will host individual or couple retreats which can be a day-length or overnight. These can be guided retreats or self-directed ones where you use St. Junia’s House as holy time and space. If you want to schedule one, let me know.

We serve as a “bed and breakfast” for traveling clergy who are here to see our Bishop or to participate in activities at St. Matt or other ECC communities. We’ve also had clergy from other denominations who used us as a “respite.” Let me know if you have a need.

Because M-J+ is also a licensed psychologist, she has been able to apply that set of skills in ministry too. We are able to make counseling/psychotherapy available for a few people who lack the means to pay for services elsewhere. We also offer evaluations for applicants into the ECC who are seeking ordination or incardination — ECC requires a psychological evaluation of every candidate. We donate the fees received for this service to the ECC.

M-J+ also is a volunteer in the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) group, which provides free legal representation and psychological evaluations for asylum applicants into the U.S. These are individuals who have been persecuted or tortured in their home countries, for whom return may be unsafe. They include those who are persecuted for political or religious reasons, women who have been genitally mutilated, gays/lesbians who have been abused and who risk death if they go home, women who have been raped/’molested/assaulted, etc.

So, it is probably worth saying a few words about what we are not. We are not in competition with any local ECC community. We don’t seek to spirit anyone away from their own communities.  We also regularly have visitors who are not a part of the ECC.  We think this is the meaning of “ecumenical” in our name! M-J+ regards St. Matthew as her own spiritual home, participating in activities there on a regular basis, and encouraging others to do the same if they live in our area. Otherwise, we hope to provide help and support to any of our local ECC parishes. If you have questions, please feel free to post and comment!

Blessings, M-J+

Dear friends of St. Junia’s House,
Today, I received an email from Fr. Greg Singleton+ of the ECC Order of St. Francis of Reconciliation in Chicago. I was so struck with it that I asked and received permission to pass it on to you. There’s food for thought for all of us here in this Holy Season:

Dear Sisters and Brothers (mostly Franciscan but a few others as well),

I love the vision, ethos, spirit, and mission of Francis, but after my Lenten reflection last night I came to the clear realization that in my moments of greatest honesty I am fully capable of uttering the following prayer:

Lord make me a disturber of the peace.
Where there is inanity, let me sow logic,
Where there is passive-aggressive behavior, confrontation,
Where there is dissimulation, truth,
Where there is ignorant certainty, informed skepticism,
Where there is manipulation, unmasking,
Where there is Pollyanna optimism, realism,
Where there is bland oblivion masquerading as happiness, indignation.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to console as to challenge,
To be understood as to catalyze,
To withhold truth in order to be loved as to say hard truths with love.
For it is through integrity that we stand ready to love,
It is though love that we embrace difficulties in life and accept inevitable death,
It is through death that we are born to eternal life.

Pray for this poor excuse of a Franciscan on his Lenten journey, and I will pray for you on yours.

I am fine, dear friends, neither sad not depressed nor in despair. I am just honestly assessing where I am during this season of introspection. Indeed, after this epiphany I went to sleep serene and happy last night. I have given words to what I essentially am and have embraced it. And I indeed know enough about the Seraphic Father to realize that quite often he was in exactly the same place. I can almost hear him say, “Yes, Greg, you are a bad ass. It is your charism, your gift, and your vocation.”

On the other hand, I may just be an old guy who needs and attitude adjustment.


For those interested in tracking our professor in residence in the ECC — otherwise known as the Resident Old Curmudgeon, his various venues are cited below.  Blessings, M-J+

Gregory Holmes Singleton, ofr
Community of St. Francis, Chicago
St. Bonaventure Virtual House of Studies
Franciscans of Reconciliation
Ecumenical Catholic Communion
Professor of History, Emeritus
Northeastern Illinois University
In All Venues 

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
Charles Darwin, DESCENT OF MAN

Dear friends,
Our brothers and sisters in Poland have just concluded their Synod and have voted to join the Ecumenical Catholic Communion! If you’d like to “meet” them, I refer you to You Tube and several videos by eliszam and there is also one link on my Facebook page. I understand that there are several communities in Poland, Belgium, and Vienna who are coming together and will become a part of the ECC. We are overjoyed! Our Presiding Bishop will be planning a trip to welcome them into the ECC. There is also a community in Lithuania he will visit where there is a man who was previously ordained a Deacon in the ECC who will be a part of this visit. Our Deacon there is the father of one of our priests, Fr. Zilvinas Jakstas, who has a Lithuanian-American ECC Parish in Poway, California. I understand that Fr. Zilvinas will be asked to accompany Bp. +Peter on this episcopal journey as he knows a number of languages and, of course, is well experienced in traveling throughout Europe.

Blessings, M-J+

Dear ECC friends, It was bound to happen sooner or later: One of the so-called RCWP cracked under pressure. Those women who were validly ordained by bishops who were NOT RC have probably had much less pressure because we didn’t INSIST that we are RC priests. Yes, I will pray for Norma Jean as the article suggests, but respectfully, I don’t accept the Magisterium’s concrete reasoning about priesthood. I’d be very interested in your opinions, pro and con.

Blessings, M-J+

Member of \’Roman Catholic Women Priests\’ Repents and Reconciles with Church

Dear friends,
Today I was privileged to attend a seminar by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM here in Orange County. It was focused on healing father wounds and was excellent. Fr. Richard has developed seminars for men and women’s unique spiritual journey issues and will be back in California in April for a men’s five-day seminar. Fr. Richard has been a powerful and influential figure in the emergent church movement, where denomination differences are seen as less important than furthering true community among Christians of all groups as well as with others from other religions. He has a wonderful little book for Lent entitled, Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent (2011). And his book on scripture as part of the spiritual path is excellent, particularly for those who have struggled with rigid and dogmatic interpretive approaches: Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (2008).

I thought I’d share the words from a song that was sung there that touched me:
I have one small drop of knowing;
one small drop of knowing.
I have one small drop of knowing;
let it dissolve in your ocean

The sacred surrounds me. I sink into deep. (Refrain)
Have faith in the night; the darkness will speak. (Refrain)
Be ground, be crumbled, so wildflow’rs will grow. (Refrain)

(Based on Rumi’s “A Necessary Autumn Inside Each”)

There was a figure of the resurrected Jesus above the Altar in the sanctuary, which looks as if it is suspended in the air. Behind it are 2 walls at about a 150-160 degree angle. There are windows and lights above. There are shadows thrown on the wall behind the Christ figure, so that it looks like two people — not one — and as though they are touching or joining hands. This was very powerful for me, evoking awareness that He is with us, participating in our suffering. He is acquainted with grief.

We have acquired several new media resources that have been added to our Library (full list of offerings on our website). These are available on loan to any ECC clergy or community at no cost. The new items are:

Christ Cosmology & Consciousness: A Reframing of How We See (2010). [2 CDs, 2 hours]
Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate: Seeing God in All Things (2010) [with James Finley, PhD and Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault]. (9 CDs, 9 hours)
Levels of Spiritual Growth (2009). [1 CD, 1 hour]
A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (2004) [with Paula D’Arcy] (6 CDs, 6 hours)

We will be hosting a webinar from CAC on spirituality for the two halves of life although we may have to change the previously published date of 5/28/11 to a later date — I had not realized this is Memorial Day Weekend at the time it was set:  Stay tuned.



Dear friends,

SAVE THE DATE! On 5/28/11 from 9:30 – 11 AM, we will host a webcast with Fr. Richard Rohr here at St. Junia’s House. The live webcast is actually on 5/22 at 8 AM, but we thought that a later showing would be more convenient for most people. If you desire to see it “live,” for a fee you can sign up at the CAC website — link is provided on our website. (We offer it for free a week later.) We will also serve breakfast for our participants here at St. Junia’s House.And if any participants would like to arrive the night before, we can offer you a bed if you RSVP by noon on Wednesday, 5/26/11.  Please contact us for our location as we do not publish this information for security reasons.

Richard Rohr has given us a guide to what he calls the “further journey,” a voyage into the mystery and beauty of healthy spiritual maturity, especially for those who are in the second half of their lives. Come share the journey with us!

In his webcast and in his new book by the same title, Falling Upward, Fr. Richard helps us understand the tasks of life and teaches that those who have failed — or gone down — are the only ones who can really understand ‘up.’  Those who have somehow fallen — and fallen well, are the only ones who can grow spiritually and not misuse ‘up.’  What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as ‘falling upward!’ This sounds like good news to me, and I am very interested to hear what he means by ‘fallen well’!

We will have copies of Fr. Richard’s new book and the accompanying CD, The Two Major Tasks of the Spiritual Life, available to loan to participants or those in other ECC communities who would like to borrow them.

I have received Fr. Richard’s daily meditations by e-mail for quite awhile and his teaching has been very helpful and important to me. You can sign up for the email meditations for free at the CAC site. Fr. Richard is a Franciscan Roman Catholic priest but has been very active in the emergent church movement which is ecumenical in nature. If you are from a different church tradition, you will not be uncomfortable with his work, and in our setting, people out of pentecostal, evangelical, reformed traditions and others will be comfortable here.  And at our celebration of Mass, the ECC position is that the communion table is Christ’s Table, not our own and any Christian is welcome to receive Eucharist.

Blessings, M-J+

We had a very good day here, starting at 5:30 AM with Orthodox Christian prayers prior to the seminar on the concept of atonement, drawing upon the New Testament and early patristic fathers through the 4th century. The level was very high, and I freely admit there were a couple of presentations where I could not keep up with what was going on. But for the most part, my preparation over the last four months by reading books or papers by the presenters and others had helped a great deal. We had collected published papers of most of them and made them available to our participants here at St. Junia’s House. We will prepare a list of resources that we can make available to those who are interested. I had been looking forward to this study because I felt it would be good preparation prior to going into Lent. It was helpful to sort out some concepts from an ancient tradition about which I probably know the least, to see how different approaches influence spiritual experience. We hope to sponsor further webinars from time to time in the future. Blessings, M-J+

In the last 48 hours, the following locations have come through our blog: Lancaster, Lancashire; Toronto, Ontario; Brugge, West-Vlaaderen; Tacoma, Washington; Richmond, British Columbia; Ukraine; Chandler, Arizona. I am awed by this, and I can also see what posts or comments they reviewed. Blessings to all of you wherever you may be! M-J+