Many regulars at Saint Uriel’s attend one of more gatherings or events in the parish without feeling a need to develop a stronger bond with the church and that’s just fine. There’s no requirement at all to formalise membership in order to be a part of the community.
Some people are interested in deepening their connection to the Johannite tradition. This can take several forms: membership, service and religious vocations.
You can become a member of the AJC by baptism, confirmation (if you’re already baptised) or being received into the church (if you’re already confirmed). You stay a member as long as you share in the Eucharist with us at least once a year. Membership does not involve fees of any kind.
Before becoming a member, you would typically attend a few services, meet with Father Tim and discuss your spiritual journey and investigate the church a little. If you’re interested, talk to Father Tim.
Some members and regulars are moved to volunteer time to help out with organising gatherings and events assist in services or start new initiatives.
If you can see a way you’d like to help, or something you’d like to improve, or you just feel you’d like to help but aren’t sure where, talk about what you’re thinking either with people in your group or with Father Tim.
We always need help to get better at what we do!
A religious vocation is a recognition in yourself that you feel called to serve the community as an ordained person. This is different from an ambition to serve or a decision to serve, a calling is recognised in the self, but also seems to come from somewhere deeper or somewhere beyond the self.
The AJC ordains people to three different kinds of vocation: minor orders, major orders and monastic orders.
The Minor Orders embody a practical service to the community as well as a dedication to inner growth explored in the world and in community. There are four stages to the Minor Orders: doorkeeper, reader, healer and acolyte – each carries responsibilities for some parish functions as well as requiring a programme of study and work.
The Major Orders (deacon, priest and bishop) embody a responsibility to maintain the community and the church as a whole, to serve all people and to ensure the community’s access to the sacraments (baptism, confirmation, eucharist, unction, matrimony, reconciliation and ordination). Candidates for the Major Orders enrol in a distance learning curriculum via the the AJC seminary, Saint Raphael’s to undergo the process of Formation which may take several years. Successful candidates must make their way to the annual AJC Conclave in the USA to receive ordination from the Patriarch.
Monastic Orders involves entering a religious order as a monk (a term used these days for both men and women). Entering an order involves taking vows to undertake spiritual practice and service. The AJC currently sponsors the Order of Saint Esclarmonde, a Gnostic, monastic lay order (which means you don’t need to give up your life and family in order to join).
If you feel a strong tug to become involved in a life of deeper service through the Orders, talk to Father Tim. Further information about the St. Raphael the Archangel Theological Seminary or the Order of Saint Esclarmonde is available from the main AJC website.