Francis' religious movement, now more than 800 years
old, is still attractive. Because of its simplicity and because the ECC+USA
desires to diversify its ministerial outreach we have created Loci
Ministries. Francis spent much time in solitude and contemplation
in dwellings he referred to as Loci. (Loci is Latin for "places";
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ECC+USA Loci Ministries.
The eremitical and solitary aspect of Francis' movement has inspired
us to deepen and enlarge our ministerial vision. Many know Francis as
a brother to creatures but all too often this is a simplistic, pietistic
and romanticized version of the Saint. He was an earthy mystic, a pilgrim
and stranger, not a plastic saint or a gypsy and tourist.
His life focused on the crucified Christ and it was a life full of suffering
and deprivation. Not only did his body undergo great pain but his soul
and spirit also underwent a sort of martyrdom, the
martyrdom of contemplation.
It is this witness, this martyrdom of contemplation that we hope to
honor, spawn and foster in Loci ministries as one part of our diverse
outreach to minister to the little ones in our midst.
There are poor, ill, and lonely individuals who need our embrace. But
it is these very poor, ill and lonely ones in our midst who are also
the best candidates to share in the martyrdom of contemplation.
We would like to invite those who feel called to associate
themselves with us in this ministry. We have adapted the rule for hermits
of St. Francis as a simple guide for our solitaries. Yet the true rule
and the spirituality of each solitary depend on “the Spirit of
the Lord and His holy operation.” In a word, each individual solitary
develops his or her own spiritual program.
It is the hope of the ECC+USA to help facilitate a common-union and
some communication among our solitaries. For the broader ministries of
the ECC+USA to know that we have a community of contemplative prayer
companions offering their prayers, contemplation and sufferings in an
intentional agreement (where two or more agree in prayer) would give
us conviction and solace.
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