Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Community Update: January 2017

Friends and supporters of the Community of the Holy Trinity, we need some help. We are currently in a position of not being able to make our rent. Our Prior Larry has been mostly unemployed since June, and his current employment leads will come through late February at the earliest. We are asking you now to help us through this tight time. Our need is $1750 to cover rent ($750 January and $1050 February). Anything over that $1750 will go to our Building Fund. 

In the next couple of months we will share our Building Fund plans, our hopes in regard to purchasing a space where we can once again live fully into our Rule of life, offering hospitality and having space for a chapel that can also host the Oratory of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.  If you would like to make monthly donations for that purpose let us know; now is a good time to begin if you are led to do so.  Be sure to say whether your January and February donations should go to our immediate need or to the Building Fund.

To make donations use the donate button in the side bar.  You can also mail a check to 3748 W. Eastwood Ave #2, Chicago, IL 60625.

Prior Larry paints icons, which also brings in income! If you would prefer to purchase an icon rather than make a donation, please contact Larry or visit his Etsy shop at, where you can see his stock or commission an icon.

Thank you very much for all your support over the years, your love and your prayers. And thank you in advance for any financial donation you may want to send. Money will of course help, but we value appreciate your prayers even more.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brief Update on the Community

In a week from this Saturday, three of our members will be professing permanent vows as the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler is founded.  At that time Holy Trinity will be the first House of the Order (thought we have been functioning in that way for the past year).
In order to live fully into being a House of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler we will be looking for a property that will serve as our residence with worship space for our daily prayer and as the main worship space for the Oratory of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.

We are also looking for people who are interested in intentional Christian community and would be willing to commit to the community in this time of transition and commit to become resident members upon our moving into our new property.  Our current space doesn't allow us to receive new members as resident at this time.

At this time we are looking at our finances and consulting a fundraiser as we prepare for this next stage in our life as a community.

We do have immediate needs so if you wish to support our work at this time use the donate button in the side bar, or send a check to The Community of the Holy Trinity, 3748 W. Eastwood # 2, Chicago IL, 60625.  We are a religious non-profit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A long year, but new things are on the horizon

Last year at this time we were uncertain if we had a space for the Community of the Holy Trinity.    And it had been just a few months since the Church of Jesus Christ Reconciler came completely under our oversight and became the Oratory of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.   It has been two years since our Rule was re-written to reflect that we were to be the first House of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.  In the past year we have been in a bit of maintaining.  The ministry of the Oratory has continued though our ability to offer hospitality has been curtailed in our current space.  We've hosted a few events but that is about all.  We have no space for guests.

Come september and the fall we will step into our new role as a House of the Order of Jesus Christ Reconciler as the Order will be inaugurated and profession of vows will take place on September 6th.
We also hope to begin raising money for and beginning the search for a property in Chicago.

Things have moved very slow around these changes over the past few years, but things are coming together.

Once the Order is founded we will be officially a House of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Trust, Faith, and Synchronicity : or Winter is Upon Us.

The past year or so things with the community have been a little out of sync.  We have been going through a number of transitions: members leaving, new members coming in, working on developing a Student in Residence program, needing to move and becoming the first and founding House of an ecumencial religious order.  The transition from a single independent intentional community to first house of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler has been in process since 2011, as forming a religious order just takes time.  Other things came unexpectedly, and were simply following opportunities that presented themselves, like the request to help a degree program at a local university to develop a student in residence program with intentional communities in chicago.

All of that would be enough stress on a community, if things were working out.  What has happened is that things just have been out of sync.  Nothing's been lining up.  A house was offered to the community but we'd have had to move in at the worst possible time, and back out of agreements we'd made.  Just then as we searched for other properties just as we thought we'd found what we needed things have prevented our getting those properties.  And of course what space we get affects our ability to take on any potential student's in residence.  Nothing is lining up nothing is working out or fitting together easily.

This lack of synchronicity and failure for things to work out has been an occasion to wonder what was God's call, was it time to move on? This might have been a temptation.  I don't know.  We are continuing on. Though, due to very recent turn of events, now the smallest we've been since our first few months as a community.

This has me thinking about time, timing, and that the realm of the Gospel and of God that Jesus announced  is it's own time (Barth I find argues for this quite well in the Church Dogmatics).  The community is seeking to live into and as our Rule says be a parable of this other time.  When there is synchronicity of various times and timing, I am confident of God being at work.  It's easy to see and trust when the times line up.  Not so easy to trust when everything is out of sync.  Difficult when God's time the time of the Gospel and the realm of God is out of sync with my won time.

Things are out of sync, it would be easy to conclude, even reasonable to do so, that this means that the community is doing something wrong, or even that we should give it up, move on to other things.

Yet..., even while nothing is lining up, and things are dwindling, people are affirming the ministry and witness of the community.  This feels contradictory, and admittedly it is confusing.  It's difficult to discern what to do, or what is the correct path.    Here is perhaps the place for the virtue of steadfastness and perseverance.  When things line up and all is clear, to push forward to maintain the course isn't a difficulty, doesn't really require steadfastness or perseverance.

Things are happening, but it looks like the community is definitely entering into a period of deep winter, of cutting back and pruning, and of no growth.  It looks bleak.  I'm reminded of the scene in the Secret Garden, when they first enter the garden and the girl asks, is it dead, and the boy replies no it is quick and he cuts a branch to reveal green and sap in the branch.  There is life here but it has been slowing down, and many external signs of life are fading away.  It looks like a long and potentially harsh winter ahead, but I trust God has prepared us for this winter.

I've written a more personal reflection on this same theme and

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Revised Rule

For the past year we have been working on a revision of our Rule, as various changes have been taking place and as we are preparing to become the first House of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.  To read the revised rule go here.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Sermon

Bellow is the sermon Prior Larry preached at the shared Christmas Day service with Immanuel and St Elias:

Nativity of Our Lord Year B Proper III

A Christmas Sermon: Beyond Speach
Today God returns to Zion in a most peculiar way, by becoming human.  Today God joins God’s self to God’s creation.  In this God proclaims peace. In this God speaks to us in order that we may be freed from what burdens us.  This word, this speech, is light in darkness.  God comes that we may see, and not stumble around.  But the God of the entire universe, the source of it all, comes in a most peculiar way – like every other human being, as an infant.
There is a mystery here.  Mystery, meaning not just that this is beyond comprehension or something we must attempt to puzzle out, but something upon which we are too contemplate.  This is something that should arrest our attention like a painting or work of art.
Think of the earth, with its forest and deserts, oceans plains, mountains, rivers and lakes. Think of all the animals and planets - the intricacy of the habitats.  Think of the food you eat, what sustains you and gives you life.  Just this planet and the life here is amazing and beautiful. Think of the moon that affects the tides that lights up the night, and then think of the Sun its warmth and light that makes life possible on this planet that orbits the sun.
Think of the other planets that orbit this star we call the sun.  Our solar system is simply one of many that make up the Galaxy in which we live, which we see in our night sky as the Milky Way. Then think of all the Galaxies in the universe, the images our telescopes bring back to us of what is out there in this vast universe.  Think of all that was spun into existence out of the big bang, as our universe began.
Think then of the one beyond all that, the one before there could be a before, the Beginning. Think of this one who spoke all into being, the very reason for existence and life.  This one we call God who exerted no energy but created energy, the one who made all ages and things, the very universe.  This one wants to speak to us. This one has spoken. This one wants to enlighten us; this one wants to free us from our burdens, our sin.  This one beyond all time and being and existences, comes to our aid, in our darkness and confusion and speaks softly with caring. This one doesn’t come to crush, doesn’t come in terror but comes with words of peace.
This one beyond all things, source of all things, the one who is the speech that spoke all into being, comes and becomes what this one created, by becoming Jesus of Nazareth, joining God’s self to God’s creation, forever.  This is the one who is source and sustainer of all things, joins what this one created and sustains.
Does that arrest your attention, isn’t this something worthy of a life time of contemplation, and rapture. This should turn all our thinking on its head, that a baby 2000 year ago in a back water territory of the Roman Empire, was the incarnation of God.  The one beyond all thought and being and power, the very source, the very life of all things, is joined with matter.  This one comes in this way to be with us to enlighten us to lift our burdens, and say you are not alone, I Am.  Come into my light, step out of your confusion, you don’t need to stumble around and hurt yourself and others.  And yet we still do.  We in various ways turn aside from this light from this astounding thing that the God who spoke all things into being is joined forever with matter, with human flesh.
Yet this changes everything. God has become one of us in Jesus Christ.  This one born of the Virgin Mary is laid in a feeding trough.  This one was from conception the Son of God, the Word, the light of light, the very intimate speech of God to God’s creation. Listen, attend here is the beginning and the entirety of wisdom, our enlightenment and liberation. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Rule of the Community of Holy Trinity and "Occupy Walstreet (or other place name) Movement

The Community of the Holy trinity is formed under a Rule of life.  This Rule of life not only shapes how we are to live together as persons under the Rule, but also shapes our orientation in and to the world around us.  Five years before the current financial and economic system came crumbling down and ruining the lives of those who had put their hopes, lives, savings and housing into its hands this system the community formed as an attempted alternative, a small point of resistance and rejection of the system that crashed around us but still continues on.  We aren't the only such community, there are certainly communities who predated us by decades.  I wonder about the connections between these communities of withdrawing resistance and the active resistance of the "Occupy" (Wallstreet, Chicago, DC, everywhere) movement.

Our rule opens with Scriptures and Sayings from the Early Church, and this statement of intention:

Following the example of Acts and nearly 2000 years of ascetics, monks and nuns, we turn aside from the individualism and self-reliance of the world, resolving to hold real property in common for the purpose of service to Christ in, through, and for the Church and the world. We have chosen to live in community, in part, to speak to the current economic system, attempting to remove from ourselves the fetters of economic necessity. In doing this, we no longer trust the economy focused myopically on the creation and accumulation of wealth for individualistic benefit. We seek an economy of mutuality and the sharing of personal wealth and talents for both the common good and personal development, an economy beyond individual ownership and beyond all economies: the economy of the Kingdom of God. We come together sharing real property and other goods so that, through the joining of individual resources for the sake of the community, individuals may have not only what they need but also the means fully to express their selves and talents.
The community formed under this Rule exists for Christ and for others, not for itself alone. It is not a local church nor a replacement for a local fellowship of believers but a community of witness to the possibilities of the Kingdom of God, through its common life of discipline, communal living, hospitality, prayer, art, and seeking justice and mercy in the Church and world.
We acknowledge that God has called us to a life of common service, prayer and property according to the following Rule. In so doing we offer all to Christ in Love of God and of neighbor.
On one hand I hope communities like ours and Reba Place and Jesus People USA, and Simple Way etc.(to name only three of many more that I could list) may be something of an inspiration for those in the movement. I also hope it can be encouraging to know that there are those who have been living within the system in alternative ways as resisting the system while withdrawing from it (in part).  I also, hope that there might be ways for finding actual connection and solidarity even if there is also tension.  

I will not speak for other communities that may fall under the current moniker of New Monastic, but for myself and the above portion of the rule, there is a particular spirituality that grounds a particular act of withdrawal from and within the system that is a proclamation to those in the system.  There is a calling out of it.  Granted this is not a direct confrontation with the system, nor an attempt to reform, change, or take over the system.  This way of being in the world is one that can't shrink from the contradiction of a withdrawal that continues to remain in commerce with that against which one is objecting through a particular way of life.

It leaves a community like that of Holy Trinity in a peculiar position, objecting to and rejecting the system yet never fully disentangled from it, nor actively working against the system to change it so that we are no longer entangled and implicated in injustice.

Thus I could see some activists maybe even those of the Occupy movement seeing that we have done nothing. We are perhaps weak and hidden - ineffective.  These little communities have not attempted, and certainly Holy Trinity has not sought to do so, to demand access to the halls of power for the sake of the poor and oppressed, or the bottom 99%.

I as prior of the community feel a tension,which I think is good, between the Rule of life we live and are committed to and the "Occupy" protests and movement.  On one hand our Rule of life simply and straightforwardly claims the current systems of economy and power are broken.  The point of the alternative is in the very least that this brokenness is that the system or systems claim to cover everything but overlook a great deal and this community is for those who in various ways and for various reasons find the current system untenable.  But it also is a critique of the system, and a rejection of its understandings of wealth and power.  In this sense a community like Holy Trinity stands in solidarity with and is a predecessor of the Occupy movement. It might be seen by some that we have done and do too little, there is a weakness in the face of the problems of the world and the powers of the system have not trembled.  This weakness may be the point though from the perspective of a community founded to serve Christ the Crucified in the world.  It is by the weak and foolish things of the world that God confounds the powerful and wise of the world.