The following description of The Order comes from our mission statement:
"A religious order in the United Methodist Church dedicated to sacramental and liturgical scholarship, education, and practice."
A Religious Order. . .
Traditionally, religious orders are characterized by persons covenanting together to live in community, either physically or spiritually, under a common "Rule" of spiritual discipline. Orders have been formed to perform a specific task (a "work"), or around a discipline for spiritual growth.
The Order of St Luke was formed to bring about a recovery of the worship and sacramental practice which has sustained the Church since its formation in Apostolic times. At the same time we seek to help the Church rediscover the spiritual disciplines of the Wesleys as a means of perceiving and fulfilling the mission for which the Church was formed.
. . . in the United Methodist Church . . .
The Order of St Luke was founded in 1946 in the former Methodist Church and holds the status of Affiliate Organization with the Section on Worship of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church.
Our moving and sustaining source is that vision of John and Charles Wesley who sought to bring about a sacramental as well as evangelical revival in the church.
While much of our work is within the United Methodist Church, we support the universal Church's seeking to become perfect in love in this world.
. . . dedicated to Sacramental . . .
We magnify (lift up the importance of) the sacraments. Baptism is the sacrament, once given, which incorporates persons into the Body of Christ for service. The eucharist sustains the lives of all Christians by remembering the life-gift of Christ.
We believe that the Church is the redemptive Body of Jesus Christ, preserving and reforming His Body.
We support the commitment of the emerging undivided Church that the service of Word and Sacrament will become normative for Christian worship.
. . . and Liturgical . . .
Liturgy is the "work of the people" in offering the worship of the Church to God, in union with Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is most richly effected when the entire people may consciously, fully and actively participate. We make faithful use in all our ministries of the rites of the Church, historically and ecumenically grounded, which enable us to express our worship in unity with the universal Church.
. . . Scholarship . . .
While worship addresses the subjective part of our being, it is, first and foremost, an objective activity designed to give thanks and praise to Almighty God. We believe that we must understand the " why" as well as the "how" if we are to lead the Church into claiming more fully its identity and mission which are God-given.
We know that the worship practices and forms of the past have value to inform and amplify our present efforts, but we are not captives of any ancient dogma. Liturgy speaks to both the objective and subjective natures when it is in the "heart language" of the people. There are many ways of worshiping. We support exploration of differing styles of worship leadership with integrity historically, ecumenically and in the local setting by both lay and clergy.
. . . Education . . .
We support the efforts of the Church-at-large to increase the full worship and sacramental education in the seminaries.
Additionally, we offer opportunities for learning through annual Retreats and quadrennial Convocations which bring together leading scholars in these fields.
Our periodical, Sacramental Life, offers "reports from the field" in liturgical development based on actual experience in local churches. The focus is practical and this publication is designed to address everyday praxis.
Our annual journal, Doxology, publishes new works by contemporary theologians which address current trends and developments in liturgical and sacramental theology.
In addition, The Order has made major contributions to the exploration of Pastoral Offices with the publication of occasional services.
. . . and Practice . . .
We believe that the sacraments provide spiritual nourishment that empowers us to live a positive and healing witness before the world.
We will share in the celebration of the sacraments with frequency and regularity and offer continuing instruction in their meaning and implication.
As Christians seek to strengthen their spiritual lives, they often feel alone, as if they were the only ones in the struggle. The Order of St Luke seeks to assist persons to grow closer to God through a life of discipline which includes, among other things spiritual formation
We believe we are formed or shaped by our intentional experiences in faith. These are found in corporate worship, community and individual retreats, devotional exercises of prayer, music or other intentional exercise. The Order of St Luke brings together these disciplines for our members and invites them to Lukan spiritual formation.
All those who can affirm our vows, and who can accept all others who affirm these vows as their brothers and sisters, are welcome in the Order of Saint Luke. It is the practice of the Order to receive the full ministry of both female and male presbyters and deacons, and for men and women to participate fully in all liturgies of the Order as allowed by their faith tradition. (Resolved by the General Council, May 2011.)
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Legal Department, GCFA
Post Office Box 340029, Nashville, TN 37203-0029
Phone: 615-369-2334, Fax: 615-369-2330