The Christian Community in Ireland - Movement for Religious Renewal
The Christian Community, Movement for Religious Renewal is appropriately named on at least two counts. It was born out of a shared/common concern, a group of people rather than one inspired leader/personality, who together shared the question(s): What does Christianity still have to offer, (in the dark years following the 1st World War), and in an increasingly one-sided materialistic age? Is a renewal possible? And is there space for the freedom of the individual within the framework of Christianity?
Within that initial group of almost 20 men and women, aged between eighteen and over fifty, there were a few who knew of Rudolf Steiner and felt that he could help them further with their questions/search. It is surely thanks to him that the movement which he helped them to bring about was described as being of religious renewal: his breadth of vision paved the way for a movement with a renewal of the Christian Sacraments at its centre, yet also including an awareness and understanding of the many spiritual streams and developments which have accompanied and helped mankind's path over thousands of years.
The initial group grew to ninety interested people, some Lutheran, some Catholic, others with no church roots, and had consolidated by Autumn 1922 to a group of 45. These became the founding 'community', who gathered in Switzerland before then starting to build congregations in the cities of middle Europe.
Already by 1928, The Christian Community had 'arrived' in the UK – the English speaking world – perhaps anticipating the further upheavals in central Europe.
Further expansion was to follow in the post war years, with small and larger centres today in many countries of the world. The first groups in Ireland grew around the visits of priests from 'across the water' in the 70's and 80's, to the North and South. At present there is a resident priest in Holywood, Co Down and in Tuamgraney, East Clare, who are celebrating the sacraments at those centres and in neighbouring places, (eg Camphill centres in Tyrone, Wexford, Kilkenny etc), where there are friends and members.
All events are open, be it the Communion Service, (“The Act of Consecration of Man”), baptisms, marriages, festival gatherings. Maybe it can help with the questions you are carrying regarding a growing need for a marrying of our spiritual-physical nature, and the part Christianity can play: the central purpose of the Deed of Christ was just this, and its effects are being increasingly felt in recent decades by people of varied persuasions. We want to nurture that growing awareness and experience.
Do make contact if you have read this far and are still interested.
Malcolm Allsop Priest of The Christian Community Tuamgraney Co. Clare
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