Tag Archive: ECC

Dear friends,
If you’ve been following the ECC Facebook page, you are already aware of events in the last two weeks, when several European communities have been welcomed into the ECC. We now have groups in Vienna, Belgium, Poland, and Lithuania. And what is so awesome is the number of young adults who love Jesus, who are very serious about their Christian commitment! Bishop +Peter Hickman and several others traveled and met with these communities.

And now, we have one individual from Belgium who is coming to the U.S. for an entire month! Jetty van den Berghe who is a Novice in the Good Shepherd ECC is going to visit ten ECC communities across three states in the southwest U.S during October! She will learn a lot about us, and she will be able to share her experiences and insights about ECC-E (ECC – Europe) as it begins its journey along side us. We have cultural and language differences that will require a lot of work. The Europeans, in general, are much better educated than most Americans as far as having learned two or more languages. Jetty writes and speaks English in addition to her native language of Dutch. For several months, she has been an important presence on the ECC FB page, often bringing us meditations and spiritual insights. She and I have become good friends. She is a musician and will be sharing some of her music with us.

When I wrote my last post about being behind, I had no idea how busy I would be and how much worse it would get haha! It is all good! Even though I am behind, I haven’t been sitting on my behind haha! We have been extremely busy in our ministries here. I am also in my “high season” as far as my work in the court system — in September and October, work really piles up because all the attorneys and judges have returned from their vacations and so court orders have ended up on my desk. I am paddling as hard as I can! I really want to get back to our project of writing regarding mental health emergencies for pastors. I wanted to at least let those of you who follow this blog know what is going on. Most of the activity is on the ECC FB page. And of course, I have my own FB page (under Martha Rogers). We covet your prayers and participation. If you are in southern California, the Phoenix, AZ area, or the Las Cruces, NM area and would like to participate in one of our communities, you can find out about us from the ECC website (http://ecumenical-catholic-communion.org). Things have happened so fast that not all of our communities are listed or linked there, but it is still a good place to start.

My local community website, where homilies, biblical study materials and other resources are available, along with photos and other information can be found at www.stjuniashouse.com. Our “big sister” community ten minutes away, St. Matthew ECC, is also on FB and we have a website as well at http://www.saint-matthew.org.

So we look for you to join us on FB and in one of our communities if one is near you. And, if not, perhaps you could be the one who initiates a group in your own local area. We will do anything we can to help you.

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 Rogersmartha@sbcglobal.net, 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,
I don’t want to make this overly long and I will post a photo album on our web page as soon as I am able.  I have to sort through a couple hundred pictures to find the best ones. I only wish you could be provided with a sound track of the prayers, the homilies, the Masses, the seminars, and the incredible music.

There have been so many wonderful experiences that I cannot begin to capture them all. There are a few where I can provide you with resources so I will focus first on them. We heard Bp. Rafael J. Adams, osf, present on the history and ministry of the office of bishop, presbyters, deacons, and the order of laity, which was a follow-up on his extensive article in the Progressive Catholic Review. On my webpage if you click on the ECC link, it will take you to his article which is extremely valuable if you would like to learn more about how these various roles developed in early Christianity.

St. Matt’s Fr. Jim Farris did a presentation on the future church and the ECC. If you are interested in the fact that churches seem to be dying, and how the changing world means that we need to reconceptualize what it means to take the Good News into the world, then you will find Jim’s powerpoint presentation very useful. As soon as possible, I will have it added to the webpage, under the link to Books, seminars, articles.

Several prayer services were just wonderful. We were led in a Hebrew morning praise led by Rev. Dr. Janine Stock, who has a parish in Vista, CA. This was so beautifully carried out. Our own Order of Franciscans of Reconciliation led a prayer service. Across the country there were three different Franciscan groups that were part of the ECC and now they have combined into one order.We were led in a Rosary one morning, and at noon on Friday, we formed a Celtic circle around a celtic cross, candles, and incense. We were blessed with a very gifted Irish musician, Stephan Andre Waligur, who has two beautiful published CDs. One is a Celtic Mass recorded live at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Memphis and one called Blessed are the Peacemakers.

We have an Anglican group that affiliated with the ECC, and their bishop is +Rick Hollingsworth. Their Mass on Thursday morning was so stately, so reverent, and +Rick’s homily was a very unifying experience. We heard our new bishop, Armando Leyva,  who will be overseeing our multiplying hispanic parishes in California; he told his story about being a poor Mexican boy and coming to the U.S. with nothing, and how God has blessed his priesthood here.

On Friday night, we had  a closing Eucharist with all clergy vested — can you imagine over 50 priests and 2 bishops + a visiting bishop and 2 bishops-elect. There must have been 150 laity in addition. The Holy Spirit was evident in the joy and the love. +Peter commented that this was the first time that he was privileged to share the Mass with another ECC bishop.  And our House of Laity is very important here as they are full participants.The music by the St. Louis parishes combined with some of our St. Matt’s musicians was gorgeous. The homily was by the ECC Chancel0r, a layman. George is an excellent preacher. I am so proud of the level of our lay people in the House of Laity. The gifts we share and benefit from are astounding.

I come home tired, but blessed. Yes, I know I am at home and the ECC is where I belong and pray to contribute. Our little St. Junia’s House conclave will benefit greatly from our connection to St. Matt’s and the ECC.

Blessings, M-J+

Dear friends,

This is overwhelming and so exciting! We have a huge crowd of our ECC clergy and laity here, and the conversations are so real. No one seems to need to pretend to be something they are not. The spiritual sharing is awesome!  I will post photographs on my website photo album for the ECC later on, but I’m too busy right now. Had dinner tonight with one group from Chicago and New Mexico, and later on sat with a friend from St. Matt’s while she ate dinner and I just kept her company. Then the bar was rocking with people meeting new people or getting to hug old friends.

It is interesting that there is a priest here from Kentucky who has been under Bishop John Plummer’s mentorship who brought greetings from +John, who recommended that he consider incardination into our group. +John was my interim bishop for six months after I resigned from my former religious order, and a godsend through the entire process of healing and incardinating into the ECC. He has a congregation of about 120, and my prayer is that William will find his ecclesial home here.  And so many others that there’s not time to tell. But tomorrow will  be very interesting — lots of worship and prayer opportunities embedded in business and learning activities. I think I am having the time of my life! I’ll write more substantially later on. Blessings to all, M-J+

Dear friends, I have a close friend who is a Chinese Evangelical. Sometimes she shares publications with me that she receives. Today, when we had breakfast together, I read a publication by OMF International Global Chinese Ministries about house churches in China.

A few years back, my friend shared with me how these house churches had to be completely under the table, as they were illegal. Only government-sanctioned, officially registered churches were allowed. Their locations hopped around to avoid being caught. Now it seems that even in official publications, the House Church movement is being recognized, because there is “a lack of space at official churches….” People quoted in the article did not, however, want to be identified by their full chinese names, so clearly, there is still fear for those not going to the official  “Three Self” churches.

But some house churches have grown large enough and strong enough economically to begin buying their own buildings. Ah, the pinnacle of “success”? It will be interesting to see how they are redefined as they become more acceptable.

Those participating in house churches like the opportunity to communicate and build relationships with other attendees before and after services.  Fellowships have sprung up for people who have things in common such as their occupations.  They also publish on line to provide their attendees continuing faith education, and these things are thus available to those who want to remain connected but who cannot always attend in person, perhaps because they must travel in their work. This use of publication has been a major drawing card, attracting new people.

We pray for these House Churches. This was the 1st century model of church. Major systemic changes occurred when Christian communities began to use public buildings in the 2nd century and later.  It will be interesting to follow the Chinese developments.

And we can learn from what has worked for them. We had conceived of the St. Junia’s website as a repository for educational materials, information about books, seminars, articles, as well as homilies and biblical studies. And we have a media lending library that is steadily growing. We had conceived of this blog and Martha’s Facebook page as other means of communicating. The webpage, blog, and FB were set up in July, and we seem to be averaging about 200 unique visitors per month. This is tiny in the cyber world,  but we’re very pleased. And we publish our homilies weekly in an email for those who wish to receive them. Being a community that has included many young adults, who are in transition between school and jobs, many who have come here inevitably move on and are not living in the local area. Some occasionally come back to visit, but we continue to stay connected with them through our weekly homilies.  The Chinese model has worked here too!

We enjoy the intimacy of a small group here, but we also recognize our limitations. There are things that a bigger church can offer that we cannot.  For example, St. Matt’s, our bigger “sibling,”  has children’s programming and we don’t, so we’ll recommend that families connect up with them as well as with us at St. Junia’s House.  We enjoy a broad base of support from other ECC congregations in southern California and, indeed, around the entire country. But we hope we can have our cake and eat it too, having fellowship with and sharing resources with other ECC faith communities and yet continuing to offer a home environment. Some come and stay overnight for retreats, and some stay here who are in need of a “bed and breakfast” while visiting in conjunction with their own work.

Blessings, M-J+