A Church Fully Alive: St. Irenaeus and the Praxis of Community by Richard S. Gariepy Print Book, 154 Pages How is a Church in the 2nd Century viewed as 'fully alive'? St. Irenaeus was one generation removed from the Apostle John and sought to create an authentic pastoral Christian 'community' inspired and animated by the 'Spirit' as both equally important. Irenaeus saw these two realities as together for nurturing an environment of a Church fully alive. This book then, attempts to show how a 'communal ethic' was an integral part of the New Testament world and is assumed in cultivating the full effect of the spiritual life of Spirit in ecclesial community. As well, four paradigms derived from Irenaeus are seen in his 'Praxis of Community' which are discussed as vital renewal themes for spirituality and Church in our post-modern society today.
“Long ago in a distant land, a prince dreamed of creating more than a geographical or political kingdom. He dreamed of establishing a community in which all persons were committed to each other in loyalty and equality, where every person sought the welfare of the neighbor even at a cost to the self. So the prince called a great meeting of all the heads of clans, all the wise and trusted people of the land, and dared to tell his dream. Each chieftain and his clan were invited to join in on the foundation of a new society.
As part of the community’s inauguration, each was requested to search his cellar for the best wine produced from his ancestral vines. These treasured bottles would be uncorked, poured into a great communal vat, and blended, as the true community it represented, into a common vintage.
'How can I mix my exquisite wine with that of my neighbors?' asked one of the winegrowers invited to the covenanting. 'I would sacrifice the unique variety of grape, the special climate of the year, the sweetness of a late harvest, the indefinable magic of bouquet, and I would violate my art as a winemaker. Impossible! Give up my distinct variety? Lose my separate self? I will not be adulterated in such a common cup.'
So he corked a bottle of tap water, affixed his most beautiful label to the bottle, and at the time of ritual poured the water ceremoniously into the vat. When the covenanting was solemnized, all filled their glasses for the communal draft, the toast that would seal commitment to community. As the cups touched their lips, all knew the truth. It was not wine. It was water. No one had been willing to pay the cost of community.”
Sadly, Jamie says this story powerfully indicts us all on some level. Where have you replaced the wine of true community for the water of complacency and self service? What price are you willing to pay to be the community of Christ?
CD release Celebration There was a Listening Launch Party at the Church of St. Stephen in-the-Fields
A few years after the concert to save the Church, the community rallied to raise funds and various musicians and CBC media personalities associated with the neighborhood participated in this wonderful evening of entertainment. Now thanks to friends of St Stephen the CD has been professionally released. Relive the evening and enjoy the music!
All funds raised go to the ongoing support of this neighborhood church so vital to the life of the historic Kensington Market area.
Richard Rohr Live WebCasts Franciscan Mysticism: Why is it Unique?
Fr. Richard sees his Franciscan mystical tradition as "the incarnation taken to its logical conclusion, and to a sometimes shocking world view." It has created an alternative orthodoxy that both invites and threatens Christianity, and all religion, to this day.
Common prayer community at FreeChurch Toronto— music with Rick Gariepy, Laura Wood and Ronelle Bonikowsky in Dec 2010.
This was part of the beginnings of a new monastic urban experience here in the Kensington area of Toronto. Our Advent Evening of music and meditative prayer reflection in solidarity was inspired by the launch of the prayer book for ordinary radicals where groups from across North America and Europe held prayerbook launch parties. The event was supported by FreeChurch and St. Stephens-in-the-Fields Churches. It was a creative and inspiring evening that focused on experimenting and experiencing evening liturgical prayer as a life lived experience touching everyday life.