Rule of the Community of the Holy Trinity

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5 3-11
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
Luke 6:20-23
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people.
Acts 2:42-47
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possession, but everything they owned was held in common.
Acts 4:32
Beloved, let us love one another because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God... God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12
Do not love the world system or the things in the world system. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world system; for all that is in the system of the world -- the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches -- comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world system and its desires are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.
1 John 2:15-17
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.
Luke 1:47-55
“For prayer and psalmody every hour is suitable, that, while our hands are busy at their tasks, we may praise God sometimes with the tongue (when this is possible or, rather, when it is conducive to edification); or, if not with the heart, at least, in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, as it is written. Thus in the midst of our work can we fulfill the duty of prayer, giving thanks to Him who has granted strength to our hands for performing our tasks and cleverness to our minds for acquiring knowledge, and for having provided the material, both that which is in the instruments we use and that which forms the matter of the arts in which we may be engaged, praying that the work of our hands may be directed toward this goal, the good pleasure of God.
. . .
“Prayers are recited early in the morning so that the first movements of the soul and mind may be consecrated to God and that we may take up no other consideration before we have been cheered and heartened by the thought of God, as it is written: I remembered God and was delighted, and that the body may not busy itself with tasks before we have fulfilled the words: To thee will I pray, O Lord; in the morning thou shalt hear my voice, In the morning I will stand before thee and will see. Again at the third hour the brethren must assemble and betake themselves to prayer, even if they may have dispersed to their various employments. Recalling to mind the gift of the Spirit bestowed upon the Apostles at this third hour, all should worship together, so that they also may become worthy to receive the gift of sanctity, and they should implore guidance of the Holy Spirit and his instruction in what is good and useful, according the words: Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a right spirit within my bowels. Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and strengthen me with a guiding spirit.

“... It is also our judgment that prayer is necessary at the sixth hour in imitation of the saints who say: Evening and morning and at noon I will speak and declare; and he shall hear my voice. And so that we may be saved from the noonday Devil, at this time, also the ninetieth psalm will be recited. The ninth hour, however, was appointed as compulsory time for prayer by the Apostles themselves in the Acts where it is related that Peter and John went up to the temple at the ninth hour of prayer. When the day’s work is ended, thanksgiving should be offered for what has been granted us for what we have done rightly wherein and confession made of our omissions whether voluntary or involuntary, or of a secret fault, if we chance to have committed any in words or deeds, or in the heart itself; for by prayer we propitiate God for all our misdemeanors. The examination of our past actions is a great help toward not falling into like faults again; wherefore the psalmist says: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.

“Again, at nightfall we must ask that our rest be sinless and untroubled by dreams. At this hour also, the ninetieth Psalm should be recited. Paul and Silas furthermore have handed down to us the practice of compulsory prayer at midnight, as the history of the Acts declares: And at midnight Paul and Silas praised God. The Psalmist also says: I rose at midnight to give praise to thee for the judgments of thy justifications.  Then, too we must anticipate the dawn by prayer so that the day may not find us in slumber and in bed according to the worlds; my eyes have prevented the morning that I might meditate on thy words. ...I think that variety and diversity in the prayers and psalms recited at appointed hours are desirable for the reason that routine and boredom, somehow, often cause distraction in the soul, while by change and variety in the psalmody and prayers said at the stated hours it is refreshed in devotion and renewed in sobriety..”
St. Basil, The Long Rules

Faith, as dispassionate understanding (mindfulness) of God
Hope, the journey of the mind towards the hoped-for.
Patience (or patient endurance), persistently and without wavering, seeing the invisible as the visible with the eyes of the understanding.
Without greed or covetousness, so as to wish not to have possessions as those who wish to have possessions.
Knowledge, as losing the sense of oneself in the ecstasy of God.
Definitions of St. Diadochos of Photiki

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love, where there is injury pardon; where there is doubt faith; where there is despair hope; where there is darkness light; and where there is sadness joy; Lord grant that I may seek rather to comfort than be comforted, to understand than be understood, to love than be loved. For it is by giving that one receives, by forgiving that one is forgiven, and by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
St. Francis of Assisi

We set up a Rule to help us interpret our lives. The above texts stand as sentinels to watch over this Rule. We set these here also as signposts of our desire to live out and interpret our common life from Scripture and the Tradition.
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 Christian 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 (material, spiritual, and personal) 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 mature and exercise their 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.
This Rule is to be reviewed by the community at least yearly in conjunction with a retreat of planning and communal evaluation. This Rule is our covenant with each other and those who may join with us in this parable of the Kingdom of God, having committed to live and hold things in common under this Rule before God and the Church.

Rule 1) On Community and Holding Things in Common
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 to exercise a maximum of initiative, responsibility, and spiritual life.
As in Acts, through holding our living space in common and pooling resources we give up what is our own (personal property, privacy) to be more fully who we are. We are seeking to have a common life that allows for and embraces differences in situation and call. We expect that members will come from all walks of life and be called by God to live in community in differing ways. Each member commits to a common life and holding property in common.  This style of life does not fit nicely into common notions of “public” and “private”, but is part of seeking the economy of the Kingdom of God.  Under this Rule of life we commit to living with a tension between what we can call our own and what is held in common between all members.  This Rule of life allows each member to have what is their own. This Rule of life also requires that each member continually offer what is their own to our common life.    
Each member commits to continual growth in the common life and holding things in common. There are benefits and great joy in living in community as well as struggles.  The common life under this Rule requires sacrifice by all who live in community.  There is a place for support and for healing, but this is not a therapeutic community nor halfway house. Thus, it is important that each member take responsibility for their physical and mental health.  However, the community and the members of the house are to support and as able under this Rule provide a supportive and healing environment. All are responsible for what each brings to and offers to the community. The nature of these responsibilities and levels of commitment are not all the same, and depend on the type of member and the role one serves in community.  There will be differences in how each member engages and lives out the common life under this rule of life based on life situation, reasons a member has joined the community, and the expected duration of the member’s commitment to the community.  We acknowledge these differences and seek to name them, to honor God's call on the individual persons while simultaneously honoring God’s call for the community as a whole.
Rule 2 On Membership
Through the process of people joining the house there is God’s call for both the community and the prospective member.   When someone approaches the house concerning becoming a member we are discerning God’s call upon the community and the individual seeking to be a member (Some Houses of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler may chose for the sake of hospitality and reconciliation to admit as members those who aren’t Christians.   The nature of said members engagement with the House will be outlined in the customary of the House that so chooses to admit as members those who aren’t Christian). One means of discernment of Call is in the ordering of the community in terms of different types of membership. Differing forms of membership are related to life situation, call,  and degree of commitment to the common life.   Another basis of discernment is the needs of the community in its daily functioning and ensuring it has members who can fill the roles and offices needed for its proper functioning as a community
The Community of the Holy Trinity will consist of those who are members of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler; members of the House, Observers of the community, and long-term guests.

A. Members of the order of Jesus Christ Reconciler are either postulants, novices, or professed members of the Order. A member of the Order may be single, celibate or partnered in a life-long vowed relationship.  Partnered members of the order who are members of the community must be partnered either to a member of the order or member of the house with a long-term or indefinite commitment to the house. Both partners must be resident in the house and live under this Rule of life.

B. Members of the House are those who choose to join the community and commit to live under this Rule of life, for a short or long period of time.  These members may commit to live in community for the foreseeable future without a planned end date; or for a long-term but specific period of time, such as 5 to 10 years; or for a shorter term of membership, such as 1 to 4 years.  However, whatever the time spent as members of the community, the members of the House commit to live under this Rule.  

Members of the House may be single, celibate, or in monogamous partnerships. If partnered, both partners must be members of the house and commit to live under this Rule of life on the property of the community. The length of a membership  in community is determined as they join the community as Observers, but this initial decision may be reviewed by the community in council if the member so desires.

C. Observers are those seeking to be members of the house.  An observer period begins when a prospective member has read the Rule and met with the Dean or Prior of the house and decided that they wish to discern with the community their call to life in community.  At the beginning of an observer period, before moving into the house, the Observer attends community functions, community times of prayer, and community meals.  Once the Observer moves into the house, the period before a final decision on membership is at least 6 months up to 1.5 years, depending on the type of membership, the expected period of time with the house, and feeling of the community in council.  In the event that a prospective member is also seeking to become a member of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler, the postulancy and novitiate periods with the order can coincide with the observer period.  Those who wish to join the House but are already novitiates or professed members of the Order must still first become Observers; the period of being an observer of the House may be closer to six months for Professed members of the Order.  Meetings of the Community in Council to review the period of observation and the final meeting to admit the Observer are to take place without the Observer present.

D. Long-Term Guests
 i   Long-term guests are those who may join the House for up to a year. These members may be those who wish to receive the hospitality of the House for the purpose of focusing on some aspect of their calling that will eventually take them away from the community (i.e., artists or scholars in residence who do not feel led to join as members of the House).

ii  Long-Term Guests will be considered on a situation-by-situation basis and will have a short period of discernment depending on desired length of stay.  These members will be expected to be take part in community meals and the main hour of prayer for the House and are encouraged to participate in the daily patterns of communal prayer and regular community meetings. These members, are not required to attend the annual community retreat.
E. Guests
i. Guests will be received by the community as part of our calling to hospitality. Overnight guest may be received for a variety of reasons including but not limited to those on retreat, or those in need of short-term housing.  Guests are encouraged to attend the main Hour of prayer for the house, and are welcome at all meals and community events.  Guests do not attend community meetings.
ii. The period of stay for guests will depend on the circumstances and ability of the community to house guests.  Details of a House’s specific policy on guests will be found in the House’s customary.
iii. The Hospitaler oversees the reception and scheduling of guests of the House.

F. Lifelong membership.
For the sake of the stability and continuity of the House, It is desirable that some members of a House take on a permanent commitment to the community.  Except in the case of this explicit commitment, there is no assumption of lifelong commitment in joining the community. However, some Professed members of the Order or Members of the House may feel called to make a lifelong commitment to a House of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.
When a professed member of the Order feels so led, she should communicate this desire to both the Order and the House, and enter a period of discernment with house and  the Order seeking to discern if she is called to live into the vow of stability in this particular way of a lifelong commitment to a House.  If this is discerned and agreed to by all parties, there will be a ceremony of lifelong commitment with reaffirmation of vows and affirmation of stability to the particular house of the Order.
If a member of a house feels led to such a permanent commitment, said member should first discern if this is also a call to become a member of the Order.  If so, then said member would enter the novitiate, and when becoming a professed member the vows of stability will reflect the lifelong commitment to the particular House in which the member is resident.
If a member of the house does not feel called to the Order but still feels called to lifelong commitment to the House, she will take vows before God and with consent of the leadership of her parish or congregation and under the Rule.  Vows taken would include a vow of stability to the particular House of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.

G. Members on sojourn from the house
Members of the house may feel lead to and/or commissioned to travel as part of their life under this Rule.  This will require a period of discernment of the community. Each House will develop its own policies on sojourns that will be included in the customary of the House.

Rule 3) On Reception of New Members
The common life under this rule is an intensive life and isn’t necessarily for everyone.  God calls and gifts us differently.  The process of reception is a process designed to discern both fit with the current makeup of the community and God’s call on the individual and upon the community in the moment of receiving a new member. God’s call is often in the details of our lives, so, it is important that the reception of a new member take into account the prospective member’s life situation, desires, and reasons for seeking to join, as well as an evaluation of the ability of the prospective member to engage and participate in this parable of the Kingdom of God, and the particular makeup of the community at particular time. Even if a prospective member does not end up joining the community, the process is a chance for the community and prospective member to grow in their spirituality and sense of God’s call.
This period of mutual discernment has three steps or components: initial interest in which the prospective member reads the Rule and meets with the Dean or Prior to discuss the Rule, exploration which involves the individual and the community getting to know each other, and a period to discern the call and fit within this particular house of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.  Part of the second and all of the third component of the period of discernment is conducted as an Observer of the House.  The reception of new members is overseen by the Dean, and if the Dean is unable to do so, this task falls to the Prior.

A. On joining the house as a single or as a couple.
i. Those interested in joining us under this Rule  must first take regular part in the life of the House as an Observer for a period ranging from six months to a year and a half.  A prospective observer first, having read the rule and having met with the Dean (or Prior), will take part in the prayer services, community meals, and other appropriate parts of the community’s life.  If after meeting with the Dean, reading the rule, visiting the community, and participating in some aspects of its communal life the prospective member still wishes to join the community the Dean (or Prior) presents the request to become an Observer to the community in council.  If the community accepts the prospective member as an observer, the Observer will continue in being present with the community as able and will move into the community as soon as the Observer is able to do so.  During the observer period (six months to 1.5 years as decided by the community in council), the Observer will meet regularly with the Dean in “observer meetings”. The Dean is responsible for training the Observer in the life of the community and to help the Observer adjust to communal life and learn the idiosyncrasies of the particular House of the Order. The time of the member’s Observer period is for discernment both of the individual person and the community. If one has been a long-term guest and believes they’d like to join the community more permanently either as a member of the order or member of the house, the period of time as long-term guest shall not count toward the Observer period, nor toward the period/s of postulancy and novitiate with the Order.

If a prospective member does not live near the House, the prospective member will need to arrange to be a guest of the community, number and length of visits to be determined by the Dean and the community in council.  After the visit(s), the prospective member and community will decide whether or not the prospective member shall become an Observer.

ii. On Joining as a Family.

A family is a couple or individual with one or more children. The process of initial exploration and becoming an Observer is the same as with individuals and couples. The Dean and prospective members will need to be aware that joining as a family is a different dynamic, and provides a distinct challenge both on the part of the family but also for the community. Families have their own patterns and will continue to have some of those independent patterns once in community. The key question of any observer period with a family is how well the family's patterns fit with the patterns of community life: hospitality, daily prayer, communal meals and use of shared and common space.  The community in considering a family as prospective members needs to ask from the start whether it truly has the space to accommodate the family in question.  "A family in community will often take up common space in ways that may unintentionally result in other members being unable to use that particular space.  Children at different times in their development will have different space expectations.  A family may have more children after joining the community.  Questions of accommodating future growth of a family will also need to be considered . Children are de facto members of the community and will be expected to as is developmentally appropriate to fully be engaged and participate in life under this Rule.  Once a Child reaches the legal age of maturity if she desires to continue to be a member of the House she must become an observer of the House.

iii. Joining the House through proximity to the property of the House.
Singles, couples, and families can join the community by renting/purchasing a property near the main house of the community, while in all other ways sharing in the common life of the community.  An observer period would still pertain to this scenario as it is worked out whether the individual, couple, or family is integrated into the life of the community or simply good friends and neighbors of the community.

B. Joining the community seeking to be a professed member of the Order
If a single or couple (a couple or a single could have children and be members of the order however minor children may not become members of the Order so “families” are not mentioned in this section) seeks to join the community and become members of the Order of Jesus Christ Reconciler, the Observer period will coincide with the postulancy and novitiate of the Order and be overseen by the Prior and not the Dean, unless the Dean is a professed member of the order and is assigned to do so by the Prior.  With this exception, joining the House will not differ from the joining process of any other prospective members of the house.

C. Joining the house as a professed member of the Order
While professed members of the Order will have gone through the postulancy and novitiate, when joining a House of the Order, professed members will still need to become Observers of the House before becoming a member of the House. The Gathering of the Order will be apprised of the desire of the member of the Order to join the House. The Dean will oversee the observer period.  At least three months of the Observer period must take place after the Gathering of the Order, where the member’s desire to join a House has been announced. The observer period will not be less than six months and will not exceed 10 months.  Leadership and other members of the Order should be in consultation with the community in council when a House is considering a member of the Order as a member of a House.

Rule 4) On The common life
Sharing life with families, couples, singles, and celibates has its challenges and can lead to freedom from the various forms of the fable of self-sufficiency that are so contrary to the Kingdom of God. This may have similarities to past forms of the multigenerational family existing as a single household under a single roof but has little resemblance to the current dominant forms of life and of organizing family as the nuclear family. Our common life under this Rule is an attempt to live differently and in resistance to the elements of our society that lead to isolation and encourage self-sufficiency and consumption for the sake of consumption.

A. Singles in community can benefit from life in community as they have companionship and a relationship with others beyond roommates.  Living in community means that a single person has a level of commitment to others (who are also members of the community) that generally doesn't exist for singles outside of living with family or in a relationship with a significant other.  
i. A single person in community gives up some of the freedom and independence associated with singleness.  Also in a community that includes couples families celibates and singles one should be aware that these differences may put limits on how one conducts one's life, ie. how one dates.  But also one may find it emotionally challenging at times to share things in common with those who don’t share in the life of someone who is single

ii. A single who is in a dating relationship will need to conduct that relationship in a manner consistent with the patterns of the life of the House, and should be aware that transitioning from being single to a couple may lead to leaving the community. The details of this will be established according to the context of the House and is articulated in the Customary of the House.

B. Celibate members may find living out such a call is most difficult in a community where all haven’t taken vows of celibacy, and should be prepared to deal with those difficulties. However, we believe there is benefit in living with those in differing situations and commitments and discipline.  Also, the presence of celibates in a House can be also be a powerful witness to the call of discipline that all members of the House are called to while living in community.
i. A celibate will need to recognize that it may feel like more is required of them, and may find that there are more occasions to question the call of celibacy when living in the presence of those not also called to a life of celibacy.  This situation is often dynamic, and not all houses will necessarily have celibate members, so the way in which the each House handles the specifics of this dynamic will be articulated in the Customary.

C. Couples, like singles, will find benefit in escaping the potential isolation that can exist in our society as a couple expected to maintain a separate household.  Couples should be aware of the need to balance being in community as a couple and engaging the community as persons in community un-mediated by the other or by being a couple.  
i. Each partner should recognize and respect the agency of her or his partner(s) to interact as an independent party with any individual member of community, or the community as a whole.
ii. Couples who plan to bear or adopt children need to remember that the move from couple to family will create great changes in the dynamics of the community, as it is essentially bringing in a de facto Member who will not have an Observer period.  For this reason, a couple in community must relinquish a certain amount of privacy concerning their family plans. So far as it is possible to know ahead of time, and prior to seeking pregnancy, the couple will consult with the community about their move towards becoming a Family and not just a Couple.

D. A Family, an individual or couple with one or more children, may join the Community with the desire to live outside of the pressures and expectations of self-sufficiency that the nuclear family model typically entails. A family should seek to join community because the parents (and older children, should there be any), wish to live out a radically different relationship to family” than the models offered/pushed by the world system.  Being a family in community is to see communal life as the answer to God’s call of training up their children in this radical discipleship.  Even so, to be a family unit within communal life is to be and maintain a community within a community.  As with all aspects of life under this Rule, there is a negotiation between common notions of what is private and public.  A family’s negotiation between what is its own and what it holds in common rubs up against many cultural expectations, both for the other members as well as for the parent(s) of the family.  

i. A family joining the community must be prepared to make their patterns of life conform to the communal patterns. While there will be some adaptation on the side of the community, it is the parent's responsibility to be aware of their family’s needs and patterns and present them to the community, and present to the community how the community should adapt itself. The parent/s should consider the Prior as a partner and important helper, and meetings with the Prior as a key resource, in sorting out and growing in awareness of these patterns and in these interactions with community life.
ii. Community-and-family interaction will always be a process of negotiation. This negotiation will be the key component for a family joining the community.  Parents should always remember that communal life is different from living as a nuclear family, and should not join the community if they do not desire to seek to leave behind most of those cultural patterns of the contemporary nuclear family.  In this a number of things are required of a family unit in communal life:
1) clear boundaries and discipline.  This is both for the child and for the sake of other members of the community.  The child needs to understand her place in the community and the expectations of children in community appropriate to the age of the child. Also, the other members of the House need clear boundaries of what is expected of the child, as well as the degree to which other members may correct and discipline a child.  
a) discipline of children and the boundaries given for children does not rest with the parent(s) alone but will be partially dictated by the context of the House.
b) the details of this will need to be worked out as the family joins the community or as a couple begins to have a family. Such things need to be worked out and negotiated in community. The specific expectations on these things, either agreed upon prior to a family joining or in the process of their joining, will be found in the customary of the House
2) the parent(s) of the family need to be aware of the ways in which, although they are individually members of the community, they have the primary care for the children who are members of the family and community. This means that parents need to be aware that a family has a greater impact upon the patterns of the community than a single person or couple has. Since a family will act as a unit within the larger patterns of communal life, a parent may have less freedom and more asked of them than do other members of the community.  This is part of the calling of being a family in community. The parents must be prepared to sacrifice a portion of their own freedoms for the sake of the community and the family in community; such preparedness, does not negate that parents need to mediate between communal life and family life; they are the go-between between children and the community.

iii. As with couples, families who will continue to have more children in community will consult with the community as a whole as their family grows.  Plans around family and growth of family are not private matters in communal life.

Rule 5) On Prayer and Meditation
Prayer and meditation will be the center and rhythm of our common life. The work we are called to do as a Community and as individuals is not possible without immersion in the life of God through prayer and meditation. We as a community seek to live into the balance of contemplation and action. The periods of prayer are known as Hours, although they do not take up a full 60 minutes. The Hours are also known as Offices. “Offices” and “Hour” are two ways of speaking of the times of prayer with their appropriate liturgies. These Hours are designed to focus the mind, body, and spirit at key times during a day, and to keep us mindful of God and of our call as a community.
As a house of the order, the prayerbook regularly used for community prayer will be Benedictine Daily Prayer. Other resources may be used as well.

A. Times of Prayer- Hours of prayer will be the following as indicated in Benedictine Daily Prayer.  The precise times and adaptation of the Hours by the House will be dictated by the patterns of life of each House and will be recorded in the Customary.
i. The two main hours of prayer: Vespers and Lauds, also known as Evening Prayer and Morning Prayer.
ii. Three daytime Offices: Terce, Sext and None. Members at home during the day are encouraged to pray these Hours.
iii. Nighttime and early morning Offices: the Hours of Compline and Vigils.  Compline is an office intended to be prayed before going to sleep and may be prayed as a community but generally is to be prayed privately before each member goes to bed. Vigils is a late night or early morning Office and can be used for the purpose of praying through the night.

B. Vespers and Lauds will be a time of quiet for all who are on the property of the community. For those at work or when other circumstances take them from the community house, it is appropriate to acknowledge the hours by praying a short prayer, praying the Jesus prayer (with or without prayer rope), saying the rosary, making the sign of the cross, or other prayerful or meditative action. The goal of this is that, wherever any member of the community is, she may always be mindful of our living according to these sacred rhythms.

C. The community should pray together at least one of the hours when a majority of the community can be present.  Each House should keep this in mind when scheduling the exact times of the Hours of prayer.  Ideally, due to tradition and evolution of the Daily Office, the community should seek to have its prayers together be either Vespers or Lauds.  However, it is also appropriate (especially in an urban setting) for a House whose members work into the night to consider Vigils as a primary Hour of prayer when the community as a whole can gather.  Compline, since it is more suited to individual prayer, should not be used as the primary common prayer of the community. It is appropriate for a House to decide that it will on occasion pray Compline together(for example, on retreat together), but this should only happen when the community has similar schedules and bedtimes.  If members are home during the day, some form of praying the daytime offices should be considered by the House.

D. In the absence of the Prior and Dean a member of the community will be appointed to lead prayer services.

E. The exact time of the Hours and which Hours the community will pray together will be based on the patterns of life of the community and its members.  The House’s particular patterns of daily prayer will be recorded in the customary of the House.

Rule 6) On Property and the Community of Goods
Essential to the life of community is a willingness to hold lightly one's own possessions.  In the Houses of the order this is primarily expressed in holding real estate in common, along common funds for the provision of food, maintenance of real property and rent should the House lease the property it holds in common.  However, this holding lightly one's own possessions also means offering oneself to a life lived in common with others.  Under this Rule  one commits to a community of goods, in which what is ours is continually offered up to the whole. As in Acts, space remains for what is one’s own and what is others’ with the expectation that each offer up a portion of what is one’s own to the community as a whole. Holding property in common is itself a spiritual discipline, calling each member to care for community property. This community of goods is part of a chosen poverty, which seeks to care for more than just one’s own personal property. While portions of the common property will be for personal use, living together and sharing common space constitute this discipline and poverty.

A. Real estate (rented, leased, or owned) shall be held in common, each member contributing financially to its maintenance as she is able, either from outside employment or in common enterprise of the community.

B. The responsibility for collecting money for community bills and paying them will be rotated amongst the members or assigned to one or more of the members of the community by the council.

C. The cleaning and maintenance of the community house (such as repairs and acquisition of supplies) will be apportioned to the members of the community by the community in council.

D. Each member of the community commits to exploring the nature of our community of goods (as that which includes both the tangible and intangible and our abilities and personality), and what personal property and the sharing of resources and goods means for the life of the House.

Rule 7) On Food and Maintenance of the Kitchen
Each meal of the community should be seen as an anticipation of the great wedding feast of the Lamb, thus meals are not only a means of sustenance for members but also an expression of hospitality.  Our relationship to food and sharing of food is itself a spiritual practice of this community.  As such, each House must reflect on its and each individual member’s relationship to food and seek to maintain healthy and just practices in regard to food and its sources and acquisition.
Food is part of our common life, and of our hospitality as a community. Sharing meals together and supporting each other in fasting are essential to the common life. Our life together should include times of fasting and feasting. Our relationship to food must move beyond our individual patterns and desires, and be oriented to eating and sharing food with others.  Our common life around food commits us to regular community meals. Holding food in common involves the preparation of food, and the maintenance of kitchen and dining room. Such spaces are to be welcoming and oriented towards our health and well-being and the health and well-being of those who join us at meals as guests.

A. We take Jesus’ practice of table fellowship, as guest and host (at the Last Supper), as our model in coming together as a community around food and the sustenance of our bodies.
B.  Food for the community will be provided for by all, each providing according to their means.
C. Preparation and acquisition of food for the community will be rotated through the members of the community or assigned to one or more members of the community by the community in council.
D. Clean up of kitchen will be assigned to a member(s) of the community by the community in council or will be rotated through the members of the community.
E. There will be regular common meals,  It should be the goal and standard of the community to schedule both a 'standing' meal (such as Saturday morning breakfast) and a rotating schedule of other meals.  The daily practice of having regular common meals will be outlined in the customary of each House.

Rule 8 ) On Maintaining a healthy community
We seek an economy based on the sharing of personal wealth and talents for both the common good and personal development; an economy beyond individual ownership.  This commitment means that all members have particular responsibilities. The community also makes certain commitments to members. These responsibilities and commitments are outlined for each member and the community during the Observer period.
A. A member of the House can expect that the community should be a place of respect for themselves as persons in community, and a place that encourages their healthy development as persons.  However, a member is also expected to be aware of the ways their health and personal development may bring them into conflict with the healthy functioning of the house and their relationship with other members.
Each House of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler seeks to be a place of peace, comfort, and healing for its members and its guests.  Each house of the order, according to its own calling and character, seeks to be a space of reconciliation, inviting all kinds of people from all backgrounds, both as members and as those who may participate in the life of the community as each House offers hospitality. This can be misunderstood or lead to conflicts with individual members if the expectations of this rule and what follow are not fully understood.
All the Houses of the order are Christian communities which may welcome those who are not Christian into its life as members. However, it is expected that members who aren't Christian will adhere to and seek to make decisions within the life of the community in accordance with the Christian orientation of the common life of the House.  The summary of the Christian character of the Houses of the Order is found in the quoted sacred texts in the introduction of this rule

All houses of the Order are committed to Hospitality (See sections ). It is understood that the flow of people and the welcoming of guests on a regular basis may be wearing on certain personalities, or difficult for people struggling with certain mental health issues. Nevertheless, while the community will consider this in its offering of hospitality, members cannot expect that their personality or state of mental health will be allowed to severely limit for long periods of time the ability of the House to offer hospitality.  A member who finds the patterns of Hospitality of the house unbearable should consider such a situation as a sign that their time with the community is coming to an end (see section 12 On Leaving the Community).  A House will take the member’s mental health in considerations of offering Hospitality.

B. External Resources for Individual Members
It is to be expected for people to seek out community as places for their healing. However, Houses of the Order are not therapeutic communities or halfway houses. The community will seek to aid members in adapting to life in community, but intentional community is counter many cultural assumptions and patterns [and a prefiguring of the Kingdom of God, and as such it is a difficult and demanding project. Prayer, justice, art, and hospitality -- are meant to be ways in which members seek health (shalom, peace, wholeness) for the world and for their own persons. Regular and special community meetings are the primary space (though not sole means) for providing mutual support of the lives, health, and projects of members, and for conducting the business of the community. The meetings, however are not intended to function as group therapy (nor are the meetings with the prior intended to be a form of individual therapy).  However, naturally as a parable of the kingdom of God, people tend to be drawn to community because of wounds and/or because they are in the process of recovery and healing. Even if a member does not come to the community cognizant of their woundedness, community life is bound to bring up spiritual and psychological issues that may be unknown in a person’s, couple’s, or family’s life. Given the nature of the Houses of the order, these will need to be dealt with outside of the community; to that end the following is required of each member of the House.

I. The above  being so, we require each member to have and consult regularly (typically at least monthly) with external help: a spiritual director, a counselor, a therapist, or a therapy group (such as a twelve-step group). The exact nature of this external help is not dictated for members but a member should present to Prior and Dean their plan for engaging external help.  The community will provide aid as need in finding and paying for these external mental and spiritual health resources.

II. Observers who have no such system in place should use their observer period in finding and settling in to such a relationship. The observer will be in conversation with the Dean (or Prior) throughout this process and concerning this process;  failure to acquire and use such help by the close of the observer period may be considered a persuasive reason for the Members of a House to refuse membership.

III. Longterm guests will be considered on a case-by-case basis but should seek to comply with this requirement wherever possible.

IV. A member may of course need to change directors, etc., at different times and for different reasons. She should apprise the Prior as soon as possible once she sees the relationship changing or about to be terminated. The Prior should be a resource for her in transitioning; in very least, the Prior must be made aware that a transition may happen or is happening, and should seek to assist her in the transition.

V. We are not interested in an exacting, hidebound interpretation of this requirement. Rather, we are interested in conscious, good-faith efforts on the part of our members to have, maintain, and use healthy external resources in their own ongoing efforts to be and become healthy persons and participants in our common life.

C. The common life is not simply for good times, or when all members are healthy, but also exists to offer support and care in the difficult times of life. Once one is a member of the House, members of the House and the community as a whole are committed to that member under the agreement of membership.  A member can expect that this commitment includes times of hardship such as (but not limited to) economic problems, health (mental or physical) trouble, and familial conflict, even if in this period a member is less able to engage the community and her responsibilities in community.

Yet there is a careful balance that is needed here, and even in a time of crisis or hardship a member should seek to take responsibility for maintaining appropriate engagement as a member of the community and ask for help and/or accommodation.  The overall healthy functioning of the community and its communal life has priority under this Rule.  The only permanent memberships exist when community and member have made lifelong commitment to each other.  All other forms of membership are understood as provisional and for a period of time. This Rule does not imply permanent commitment to all members without regard to life situation and the resources of the community.  Membership is provisional based upon the vows and agreements each member has made to the community and the community has made to the member.

D. All members will have a membership agreement drawn up indicating the nature of their membership, the means by which they will contribute to the community (whether financially and/or through non monetary contributions), intended time period (including whether definite or indefinite), and the conditions of termination of agreement and membership.  Any changes in the nature of a member's relationship to the community will require a new agreement drawn up. This most commonly will take place as a member makes the transition from Observer to member of the House.

Rule 9) On Governance and Leadership of the Community
The community in Council will be the governing body overseeing the regular and daily functioning of the community through consensus. The community will be served, as numbers and circumstances will allow, by 1 or 2 priors, a dean, a Hospitaler, a financial secretary, and a secretary/archivist. The community will maintain at least one Prior and one Hospitaler at all times.

A. The community will have one or two Priors not for purposes of rank or rule—we are ruled by the Gospel and its particular expression in this Rule—but to gather together the various intentions, motivations, gifts, and goals of the members of the community, shepherding them toward the goals of the community and to ensure that the discipline of the rule is kept. The priors will be accountable to the body governing the clergy of the priors’ denomination(s) and to the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler.

i. The priors’ duties will include leading prayer and meditation; giving direction and counsel to the community as a whole; giving direction and counsel to individual members as is needed or desired; meeting with members on a regular basis; providing a teaching ministry according to her or his gifts and the needs and activities of the community; and keeping awareness of the patterns and needs of the community.  Prior/s are assisted by the dean, as described in 9.B., and as the community needs and assigns by council. The prior(s) will be the pastor(s) of the worshiping community attached to the House as a public oratory of the Order..

ii. The prior(s) will be chosen or appointed by the community in council in consultation with the leadership of the worshiping community. Chosen from Criteria based on current needs of community and worshiping community. The prior must be a member of the community and the leader;s spouse and/or family must also feel called to intentional community of goods, and live according to the Rule of the community.  If the Prior is not a member of the Order of Jesus, Christ Reconciler, the process of calling the individual to be prior of the community must also feel called to the Order and have begun the process of joining the Order. (My thinking here is that there are scenario possible that the Community and worshiping community may seek and find a qualified person to lead the community who is either not a member of the community and also not a member of the order, or a member of the House but not of the order. These two scenario shouldn't prevent said person from becoming the prior if all are agree that the person fits the needs of the community and worshiping community.

B. The community will have a Dean chosen and appointed by council.  The Dean of a House needs to be at least a lay Baptized Christian who is gifted in spiritual guidance and has skills in mediation.  The Dean may be clergy and/or a member of the Order but this is not a requirement for being a dean
i. the dean is assistant to the prior(s). A dean must be chosen and appointed by council when the community exceeds 5 members.
ii. The duties of the dean will include leading prayer and meditation in the absence of prior(s), assisting the prior(s) in meeting with members and taking of the pulse of the community.  The dean will also moderate council in the absence of the prior(s), when prior(s) are subject of the meeting either for purposes of discipline or questions raised about conduct of prior(s), or as is needed for the working of the council and health of the community. The dean is ombudsman and in charge of the observers under the guidance of the prior(s).

C. The community will have a Hospitaler at all times appointed by council
i the Hospitaler may be rotated on a periodic basis through membership.  The Prior or Dean should not also hold the position of Hospitaler.
ii Duties of the Hospitaler will include scheduling and receiving overnight guests, scheduling of gatherings planned by the community and or individual members of the community, keeping the community informed about guests and events.

D. the community will as circumstance and numbers allow have a financial secretary.
i. The financial secretary will be chosen and appointed by council
ii. The duties of the financial secretary will be to collect the community assessment from all members and maintain the books of the community.  Financial secretary will regularly report on the finances of the community to the council.

E.  The community will have a secretary/archivist chosen and appointed by the council as needed
i.  duties of the secretary/archivist will include taking notes at all council meetings, maintaining all non-financial records and archives of the community, and assist the prior(s) and dean in communication with the members of the community and members on sojourn.
ii. the position of secretary/archivist may be rotated through members of the community but should not ever be the prior(s)

Rule 10) On Administration and Communication
Maintaining the common life needs to be tended by all, not simply the Prior and Dean of the community. One of the main ways the common life is tended is through maintaining clear and regular lines of communication. The community should be a place of support and health. This requires members to see each other face to face on a regular basis and bring what they are doing in and outside of the community as well as to share with the rest of the community their spiritual life.  There are a number of ways this formally takes place, through meeting with the prior and holding regular community meetings, and informally, through simply being present on the property of the House.

1) The community will meet at least once a week in council to allow a forum of discussion, to provide support to each other on our spiritual journeys, and to do the business of the community. As needed or requested by a community member, the council will meet to administer the community, discuss new and ongoing endeavors, and deal with conflict within the community. Such a meeting will be announced to the community, and will usually be at the time of the regular community meeting.

A. Financial issues are to be dealt with in council. Members with financial responsibilities of the community shall report to the council. Change in a member's financial situation is best dealt with in council, so that all members can come together in support of each other and be aware of the changing situation for the community as a whole. However, this is at times a difficult thing for some to do, and it is appropriate for said member to talk with the Prior and/or Dean, who will then report with sensitivity to the community in council.

B.The prior will be the moderator of all council meetings, except when the council is considering issues concerning conduct of the prior.

C. If the council is unable to reach a decision acceptable to all, the moderator, ensuring that all have made known their thoughts and feelings, will adjourn the council.  At a later meeting of council, based on the views of the members, the stated purposes of the community and the Gospel, the moderator will recommend to the next meeting of council, either to leave aside the issue before the council or to move ahead in one direction or the other.

2. Each member will have a monthly meeting with the Prior or Dean of the House occasionally missed meetings either due to the  schedule of a member or Prior or Dean is expected.  A
3. Prior, Dean, Hospitaller and Treasure will meet regularly as needed at or  least quarterly.

4. The community will be presented to the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler by the Prior (along with any members of the order who are also members of the community) at the Gatherings of the Order.

Rule 11) On hospitality
Hospitality is part of our common life; it is part of what keeps the House from being centered mainly on its own needs and that of its members. Our model of hospitality is God’s own self-giving love. The Scriptures consistently show God’s concern for the stranger. God’s love for us calls us to be a welcoming people. The common life of the Houses of the order requires this hospitality offered as a conduit of God’s reconciling work in the world.
Next to the life of prayer, hospitality is a central activity of this community. Hospitality will be expressed in various ways.

A. Overnight guests will be received according to the abilities of the community. And as the community in council decides and as coordinated by the hospitaler.  Details on each Houses policies for Overnight guests will be found in the customary

B. Guests are invited to take part in keeping the Hours of prayer, and are requested, if not keeping the Hours, to respect the Hours when on the community property.

C. Preparation for and reception of guests shall be coordinated by the Hospitaler with the assistance of members appointed by council or according to a rotation agreed upon in council.

D. Hospitality should be seen as something which members also extended towards each other. This mutual hospitality includes and is to expand upon Rules 4 and 5.

E. Houses of the Order of Jesus Christ Reconciler, in addition to their daily prayers will maintain and be responsible for overseeing a public oratory as a worshiping community for itself and those outside the community.  The Prior of the House is the Pastor of this worshiping community.  House members are encouraged but not required to participate in the weekly Sunday worship.  Members of the Order who are members of the house will be part of the worshiping community unless they have some other ministry that they are engaged in on Sundays as part of their work as members of the Order.   See also paragraph 1 under “Patterns and Cycles of Life and Work” in A Little Rule

Rule 12) On Leaving the community
Members will come and go.  Some who join the Houses of the Order will commit to live in community under this Rule for a specific period of time.  Many will join with the intention of being part of the House long term or even permanently.  For these the length of commitment to the community is only discovered in the midst of living in community. Part of the continuing discernment necessary for the Houses of the Order is discerning if and when members might leave the community.

A. A member may feel called to leave the community when they thought they would be part of the community indefinitely or before their intended departure from the community. In such situations the member should speak first with the prior or dean about her needs, change in life situation, and concerns and her “fit” with the community. During this process (most likely more than one meeting with the prior or dean to discern one’s need to leave) the member should bring it up in community meeting.

B. In some cases, it can be difficult for a Member herself to determine that leaving the Community is appropriate. This is especially true in cases of major life transitions (for example, beginning a committed relationship, entering a new grad school, having children, &c.). In cases of major life transition the Members concerned should meet with the Prior or Dean to determine whether the Community is still a good fit for their new situation in life. Members should have this meeting even if their Communal lives are still going smoothly. However, if there is discord in the Community, then this meeting is even more important.   From this the Prior or Dean and the member may conclude the change in life situation presents no problem of continuing fit with the community.  The member may conclude from this that further discernment is necessary  with the community in council.  The  member may conclude that  the new life situation is the time to depart the community and the member will announce intention to leave the community at the next community council meeting.

C A member may need to leave the community [without being able to discern the need on her own] in one of two situations:

i. A life transition for a member. A member’s commitment/s come/s into conflict with her commitment to the Rule.
A partial (but not inclusive) list:
o    becoming partnered/married
o    going to school
o    having children
o    moving


ii. There is evidence that the member is having difficulty living in community. This evidence  may be things like continual conflict with other  members of the house even after attempts to resolve the conflict; consistent failure to do chores or other requirements of a member of the House; behaviors inconsistent with or that impede the regular functioning of the community.
; destructive behavior.

In either scenario, but especially the second, other members noticing the troubles have two approaches open to them:
a. Go to the member directly (“You seem not to be living by the Rule in x way(s). Are you okay?”).
b. Go to the prior. [Going to the prior is perfectly acceptable and not a “cop-out”! The prior will often have fuller information about members’ life situations and may be able to shed light upon a difficult situation.] - I
“A Member who is concerned that another Member is having difficulty living in Community, or has become the nexus of discord within the Community, should use the same procedure that is used for handling personal disputes, as detailed in the section of the Rule on mediation and resolution of conflict.

D. The prior is expected and authorized by the community to initiate conversation with the member about the changes in their life situation and/or when observing changes in engagement with the community . The prior may see a life transition looming, or see the member having difficulty living in community. The initial conversations with the prior on these issue do not indicate a belief on the part of the prior that the member needs to leave, but recognizing the sign of a possibility that the member and community may need to prepare for the member to end their time with the community.  This initial conversation should not be interpreted nor seen by the prior as asking the member to leave.

If the prior, after such meetings (which should probably be plural), believes the problem persists: the prior should bring the issue to the community in council. (“There are many instances of you not living by the Rule. Many people have talked to you. What’s up? Do you need help? Are you seeking to transition out of community?”) N.B.: the community in council WILL INCLUDE the member in question.

If, after work and discussion, the member cannot agree with the unanimous agreement of all in the community except the Member in question, this is in itself a sign of poor fit with the community. The community will ask the member to leave.Transition itself to be discussed/facilitated in council?.

In the event that the council can not reach a unanimous decision the House will seek  guidance from the order and/or seek mediation.  See  section on Conflict and mediation.

If the member is part of a couple: There maybe other dynamics and may make it more difficult for the House to discern what is best.  The community in Council may decide to seek guidance from the Order.  Though a couple with one partner in conflict with life in community creates a more complex situation the community should always keep in mind that  the membership of one partner in a couple is dependent on both being a fit with the community.  In the event that one partner of a couple finds themselves to no longer be a fit while the other partner has no conflict with life in community, this is a loss, but does not change the reality of lack of fit of their partner.

One possibility: absentee member? In situations of school residencies elsewhere, justice work in other countries, etc. The gathered community in council (which includes that member) should discuss ahead of time her reentry into community life.

In the week before a member leaves the community one of the Hours of prayer will be a service of acknowledgement and sending off...?  A

A member who leaves for reasons other than misconduct or illegal activity, may be reconsidered for membership after leaving, but would go through the same process of joining as a new member.

Rule 13) Conflict and Mediation
There are times that a conflict between members or within the community is unresolvable through the regular structures of this Rule and common life.  In this instance those in conflict will follow the following procedure that may lead to mediation .  The Scriptural and Traditional basis for this process is Matthew 18:15-20.
A)Conflict with External Persons
If a member has an unresolved personal conflict with regular guest of the community, they should bring it up at meeting. The expectation is that the member has attempted the initial steps of 13 B) below before bringing it to the community in council.  Thus by so doing, the member acknowledges that the problem has escalated beyond the member’s own resources to resolve. The Prior or Dean will then attempt to mediate between the member and guest of the community. If a resolution can’t be achieved through their mediation, the guest may be asked not to come around any longer or an outside mediation may be sought.  Such a conflict may also reveal dynamics within the community or in the life of the member, the Prior and Dean in those instances then follow procedures outlined elsewhere in this Rule.
B) Internal Conflicts
At the 2010 retreat, we outlined a simple process for resolving conflict between members. If member X is in conflict with member Y, X should approach Y directly to seek resolution of the conflict.  If the conflict persists X should approach Y with another member of the community.
X should also apprise the Prior, perhaps during the scheduled Meeting With the Prior or Email to the Prior. (Of course if the dispute involves the Prior directly--or her spouse, &c.--then X should talk to the Dean instead). Perhaps the Prior will have more knowledge of the situation, that can help X understand what was going on. If not, the Prior now has a good knowledge of where X stands and can talk to Y, if and when this is necessary.
If the conflict persists after X and one other person have met with Y, At that point, the Prior should either talk to Y alone, or to both X and Y together, to try to mediate the conflict. Hopefully the three of them together can work it all out!
If not, then X and Y should bring up their conflict to the Council of all members. Perhaps during weekly Comm.Mtg, or perhaps during a specially scheduled session. Hopefully the Community working together can come up with a resolution. If not, the house will seek an outside mediator.
C) Mediation
A persistent conflict between one or more members that is unresolved wither through the mediation of the Prior and/or Dean and of the community in Council probably is uncovering larger conflicts.  Thus it should be expected that seeking outside mediation is an opportunity for the community to grow in health and to find healing. mediation isn’t to be seen as a “failure” of the community to take care of itself. Rather it is a means for the House to take care of itself and its health, and thus is a success.
Rule 14
This Rule is the Rule of all Houses of the Order of Jesus Christ Reconciler.  For starting a House of the Order see A Little Rule and the Constitution of the Order of Jesus Christ Reconciler.