We live in a special time of renewal in the Christian
churches. A key sign of renewal is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
and the gifts of the Spirit, people being brought into a revitalized relationship
with God, and the emergence of Christian communities worldwide. When the
Holy Spirit was poured out on the early disciples at Pentecost they were
given a new power to live and to witness together as a community of
disciples (see Acts 2 and 4). This visible sign of unity drew many
people to the Lord and to Christian community.
A "shared life" in Christ
What is Washtenaw Covenant Community? We are an ecumenical lay
renewal community, composed of more than 400 individuals and families who
have discovered the joy of a rich shared life in Christ. We have experienced
a call from the Lord to serve Him together in the ordinary circumstances
of our lives as a people in Washtenaw county (comprising the cities of
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti) located in southeastern Michigan. Our call is
to know and love Christ and to make him known and loved by others. And
our mission includes the call to work for the transformation of society
so that it reflects in greater and greater measure the kingdom of God.
We are called to be a community of disciples who are radically committed
to Jesus Christ. The call of our members is to live out their vocation
as lay men and women in the world. Marriage and family, career and professions
are the place of the transforming witness of our members.
We come from many walks of life and from many traditions. We are multi-cultural,
international, and ecumenical -- African-American, Asian, Hispanic, white,
Middle-eastern, European, and yes, American. We are members of churches
from many Christian traditions -- Roman Catholics, both Latin rite and
Eastern rite Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants from Lutheran, Presbyterian,
Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Free Church, Pentecostal and other evangelical
and non-denominational Christian churches as well. While respecting our
differences and while acknowledging that there are serious disagreements
among the churches, we nonetheless believe that there is much we do share
in common as Christians -- a common baptism and faith in Jesus Christ,
the Scriptures, the gift of the Holy Spirit, prayer and worship, cooperative
missionary work, evangelism, and work for social justice, to name a few.
Links with other communities worldwide
Washtenaw Covenant Community is a member community of The
Sword of the Spirit, an international and ecumenical network of
some 65 communities worldwide in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore,
Fiji, India, Lebanon, Spain, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland,
Scotland, England, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia,
Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada, and in several cities throughout
the United States. Our communities share a common vision and mission and
are united through a covenant while retaining local autonomy.
Our common purposes
We share the following common purposes: (1.) to help support one another
to live a fully converted life as mature Christians, (2.) to foster the
love and worship of God and a life that is lived for his glory, (3.) to
foster a committed life of worship, prayer and witness in the ordinary
situations of daily life (in family and occupation), (4.) to develop a
way of life where the gospel can be lived out more fully, (5.) to carry
out a work of direct evangelization -- particularly reaching out to the
unchurched and lapsed Christians, (7.) to help in the proclamation and
defense of the gospel, and (8.) to foster Christian unity through collaboration
among Christians from various traditions.
What we are not
We are not a commune. We do not all live under one roof nor do we hold
all of our possessions in common. We encourage our members to live simply,
to give liberally, and to share material possessions with those in need.
Many of us do live near one another in neighborhoods. This makes it easier
for us to pray, share, and serve together and to reach out to meet the
needs of others around us.
We are not a church. Members of our community participate in local parishes
and congregations. As a community, we pledge ourselves to support each
other in our respective church commitments.
[Written by Don Schwager (c) 2000 Washtenaw Covenant Community.]