A Short History of the Christian Community
From time to time the development of humanity requires a spirit of renewal. A true spirit of renewal enlivens and strengthens our work and sense of direction. Just such a spirit of renewal set in motion the founding of The Christian Community.
The Christian Community was founded in 1922 in Switzerland. The leading personalities were Protestant German theologians, foremost of all the widely acclaimed and respected Dr. Friedrich Rittlemeyer. The diverse background of the founders and the focus of their intent determined the Christian Community to be a truly ecumenical church. As such it is non-denominational and does not feel attached to any dogma or fixed patterns of belief. It was founded on the understanding of three factors:
· That each community is autonomous, respecting the freedom of the individual
· That men and women are equal, therefore from its inception, both women and men priests were ordained
· That there will be no dogma in which 'the church' interprets spiritual understanding.
The Christian Community Worldwide
The Christian Community has approximately 350 independent Christian Community congregations worldwide. There are regional and international bodies to coordinate the work at those levels.
The Act of Consecration of Man was celebrated for the first time on the North American continent during Christmas time in 1928 in a private residence located in Brooklyn, NY. The work in America found its first solid footing with the founding of the congregation in New York City in 1948. Alfred Heidenreich and Werner Hegg were among the first priests active here. Today there are 14 established congregations and numerous affiliates. For more information, visit the North American Web Site.
Priests are ordained through the Sacrament of Ordination. The preparation for ordination takes a minimum of four years. There is no higher level of ordination in the Christian Community, although some priests are selected to carry specialized tasks. These special tasks include responsibility for a region embracing several congregations and responsibility for an overall world view and the co-ordination of the congregations world-wide. Priests are free to marry or not
The Christian Community recognizes Christ's deed of death and resurrection as the pivotal turning point for all renewal in the history of mankind. He initiated new possibilities for co-working between human beings on earth and the beings of the world of spirit.
Through His indwelling in the sacraments, this revitalizing impulse continues to be available to us today. The christened substance produced in sacramental community becomes available as a source of genuine healing and renewal in the lives of individuals and in the life of the world and mankind as a whole.
Surrounding the work of the sacraments lies a rich and varied community life of celebrations, fairs, festivals, conferences, children and youth work, talks and study groups.