Tag Archive: house church


Dear friends,
I do not know what news access our friends in Asia have but every time I have posted information about ‘house churches,’ I’ve gotten hits from all over the world on this blog. So I think this article that just came out in Time Magazine provides very important perspective on the religious landscape in mainland China. The link for this article is:

http://ti.me/jgvYDE

Blessings and prayers for all our Chinese brothers and sisters who risk being arrested every week by merely attending church.

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+