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Third Order of Franciscans in the Anglican Mission

Community of Acts

Community of St. Francis, Servants of Jesus

      The Community of St. Francis, Servants of Jesus, provides an ancient Christian way of life for emerging generations, a way of life in which hearts are surrendered to God anew, and guided by the eternal biblical principles of Simplicity, Purity, and Fidelity.

The Franciscan Way of Life

         The Community of St. Francis is a disciplined body of believers totally committed to Jesus Christ as their Lord.  They have surrender their lives to serve Him, His people, and the missing and lost.          

 

The Order is made up of men and women, married or single, lay or ordained, who hear Gods call to dedicate their lives to Him by undertaking a Franciscan Way of Life. We have three Franciscans at the Anglican Community of Acts.

 

         St. Francis of Assisi was a man who loved God passionately, and followed the precepts and principles of Holy Scripture with abandonment and generosity.  Community members choose to follow Christ in the way of St. Francis, by making voluntary commitments to Prayer, Bible Study, and Service, while continuing to pursue their chosen life professions.

        

Membership moves through four phases: Friend of Jesus, Student of Jesus, and Companion of Jesus.  Companions clothed in the brown vestments of the Community become Devoted Companions of Jesus and are vested in a celebrative service of lifetime dedication.  Franciscans wear their secular clothing during the week, and at church services wear their vestments, or habits.

Three Commitments

         Persons who aspire to become members of the Community of St. Francis begin at the first level of commitment, Friend of Jesus.  They promise to serve God in Simplicity, Purity, and Fidelity.  They also make a pledge to be obedient to a rule of life which each person will determine in accordance with his or her life circumstances.  These promises are renewed monthly as a Friend of Jesus and a Student of Jesus, and then annually, after becoming a full member, Companion of Jesus or vested as a Devoted Companion of Jesus.

            Faithful living out of these promises is a process of surrender and growth that unfolds and deepens over time.  For this reason regular seasons of renewal are provided.

Simplicity

            The first Christians surrendered to the Lord Jesus and passionately gave all they had.  They introduced the world to a new paradigm a community whose priority was relational rather than material.

            Jesus taught, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  John 13:34-35   St. Francis embraced this when he chose a life of poverty.  It was his desire that all barriers to love based upon wealth or privilege should be overcome by divinely empowered love.  This is the inspiration for the commitment of Simplicity.

            Community members are ready to live simply, share generously, and give freely and joyfully, reflecting Jesus challenge to sell all give to the poor, and Him.  2Corinthians 9:6-8

Purity

            Community members embrace Christ's ministry of reconciliation.  The primary objective of the commitment to Purity is to mirror the openness of heart, which was characteristic of Jesus.  This pure spirit of love and harmony is spread by setting aside partiality and injustice resisting ignorance, pride, and prejudice that are caused by distinctions of race, sex, color, class, creed, status, or education. Galatians 3:26-28

Fidelity

            The commitment to Fidelity is rooted in the conviction that Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of God.  It was through the incarnation, ministry, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the gift of His Spirit at Pentecost, that true life has been made available to us.  Knowing Christ and making Him known is the primary aim of this commitment, and shapes the lives and attitudes of the community members in their service to others. Matthew

 

Three Characteristics

 

      The graces of Humility, Love, and Joy characterize the lives of those who have dedicated themselves to God in the Franciscan Way Life.  These three fruits of the Holy Spirit are not to the exclusion of the nine fruits named in Galatians 5:22-24, nor the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12:4-12.  They are, however, primary focuses of the Franciscan life and, as such, create a unique presence of gentle peace.

Humility

Jesus Christ emptied Himself, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  Philippians 2:6-7    Like Him, we seek to be servant-hearted and humble.  Humility is the basis of all Christian virtues and the basis of a joyful community life as well.  All we are and have is a gift, so we admit our total dependence on God and welcome opportunities for humble service, without seeking recognition or praise.

Love

 Jesus said, A new commandment I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples John 13:34-35  All true disciples of Jesus are distinguished by their love.  Members of varied races, education, and personality are bound together by the love they share for Christ, and for one another.  Supporting one another in prayer and fellowship, they guard against anything that might injure this love.  The same Christ-like love is shown to those outside the Community.

Joy

            The members of the Community of St. Francis are eager to manifest the grace and beauty of divine joy in their lives.  Philippians 4:4-7   This gift of joy grows by living near to God and in union with Jesus Christ.  Divine joy gives courage and strength even in times of darkness, disappointment, sickness, and suffering.  The inward joyful serenity Joy gives makes it possible to rejoice in weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:10

 

Three Ways of Service

         Members of the Community desiring to be conformed to the image Jesus Christ, live their commitment through Prayer, the Study of God's Word, and Service.  These three elements must find a full and balanced expression in each individuals chosen rule of life, and that of the Community as a whole.

Prayer

     Those who follow the Franciscan Way of Life seek to live in the constant presence of God.  This ever-deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy, inspires service, and provides the empowerment for sacrifice.  It also enhances personal and corporate prayer, praise and worship.  Believing that a clean heart is an essential prerequisite, the Community encourages regular participation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which brings forgiveness, peace and hope.

Bible Study

          Jesus prayed, Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3   Community members read, mark, and inwardly digest the Word of God.  It increases faith, penetrates the heart, reveals motives, and cleanses the soul.  Romans 10:17, Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 5:26   Knowledge of Gods living Word is vital to the deepening spiritual intimacy God desires with His chosen ones.  The study of Scripture also leads to better understanding of the Churchs mission.  For all other questions concerning the life of faith, the Word of God is the primary resource.

Service

         Work that is directed by the precepts of Scripture and the principles of the Community is a vital part of the Franciscan Way of Life.  The commitment to Simplicity, Purity, and Fidelity finds concrete expression in daily labor.  Every effort of life then becomes a reflection of the love and life of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, quoting Isaiah, said of Himself, The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because he has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor. Luke 4:18-19  Jesus came not to be served but to serve.  We must do likewise.