The Order of The Servants of The Holy Cross was established by some members of The Fellowship of Saint Augustine of Oxford, Michigan (a prayer fellowship for Lutherans concerned with promoting interest in, study, and understanding of the religious life in community), and candidates for Holy Orders within The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod at Concordia Senior College in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, on 27 May 1965. Membership has fluctuated over the years but today there appears to be a renewed interest in this Order.
The history of The Order is a reflection of the liturgical and doctrinal renaissance among Lutherans in the U.S.A. With a greater appreciation of and return to the Lutheran Confessions, the sacramental life, the true Catholicity of the Lutheran Movement, and a growth in liturgical piety among North American Lutherans, a return to the ancient heritage of cenobitic life is inevitable. This is only the beginning! If God's grace indeed resides in these things which Lutherans hold precious and dear, this movement shall be the spark to light a fire of Pentecostal fervor and Apostolic influence.
The regrettable actions of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in 1969, which many Brothers at the time believed caused the Missouri Synod to become schismatic (if it was not already so before this time), forced The Order to reconsider her ecclesiastical affiliation. Finally, on Holy Cross Day in 1976, The Evangelical Catholic Church was approached and The Order applied for status as a Religious Community within that Jurisdiction. The Order of The Servants of The Holy Cross was accepted as a monastic community within The Evangelical Catholic Church on The Feast of Saint Andrew in 1977. The Order's Superior-General is automatically a member of The Church's Board of Directors.
During the first years of existence within The Evangelical Catholic Church, the service of The Order to The Church and Her Lord has been one mainly of worship and work. The Order is anxious to send men out into the world - and as God gives them grace and talents, more men and opportunities - to serve His Church in every way. For the present, it is important that the community gain stability and its members strength through a life in common.
As The Order looks into the future, it sees many opportunities for service, great vistas for work publishing booklets and liturgical and doctrinal materials, producing ecclesiastical and liturgical art, preaching, teaching, instructing, assisting the poor and helping those abandoned by others.
Any man interested in joining The Order is first asked to visit with either The Abbott or The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church. If, after this visit, he still desires to actively consider joining The Order, he asks The Abbott to receive him as a Postulant. He will then join with The Order in its work, prayer, and service for a period of time long enough for him and The Order to come to a clear view of his vocation to the religious life. As a Postulant, however, he is free to leave (or to be asked to leave) The Order at any time. At the end of this period of time, if he desires to be received as a Novice and is accepted for The Order by The Abbott, he takes his first annual solemn vows. The Novitiate is for a period of no less than one year. Thus begins the long journey into tomorrow.
ARTICLE I: Name
The name of this religious Order shall be: The Order of The Servants of The Holy Cross.
Section I: To awaken and nurture in those who follow The Way of Our Lord Jesus Christ a common life of Faith through prayer, study, and work.
Section II: To promote the systematic study of The Holy Bible and constant growth in Christian knowlege through the establishment, construction, and maintenance of theological seminaries, colleges, universities, academies, schools, publishing houses, radio and television broadcasting systems, web sites, congregations and preaching stations.
Section III: To encourage and foster the establishment of religious communities within The Evangelical Church of The Augsburg Confession.
Section IV: To actively work for and foster the visible unity of all Christians.
Section V: To assist, guide, direct, and promote the spiritual growth and development of the Faithful through the conduct and sponsorship of spiritual retrerats.
Section VI: To establish and conduct all such enterprises and endeavors and to exercise such further powers as may be necessary or expedient to carry out the objects and purposes for which this Order is founded.
Section I: All members of The Evangelical Catholic Church (and those ecclesiastical jurisdictions with which The Evangelical Catholic Church is in full communion) who keep themselves active in use of Word and Sacrament are eligible to apply for membership in the Order.
Section II: Although the Order is under the jurisdiction of The Evangelical Catholic Church, it does not exclude Christians from other communions which hold the same confession and agree with The Evangelical Catholic Church in that they confess the Catholic Faith of all places and all times.
Section III: Full membership is achieved only after at least three months as a Postulant and at least one year as a Novice.
Section IV: A man who would like to provehis calling to community life in The Order of The Servants of The Holy Cross but is prevented from entering the Order immediately, may be received as an Aspirant.
Section V: Aspirants live under a common rule:
Section VI: Single adults who wish to identify with the Order but have no present intention to taking up the religious life may be received as Associate members; in the manner and degree suitable to the situation, Associate members will follow the common rule for Aspirants.
Section I: The Order of The Servants of The Holy Cross is a religious Order within and under the control and jurisdiction of The Evangelical Catholic Church.
Section II: The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church has the supervision regarding the doctrine, faith, morals, discipline and administration of all members of The Order of The Servants of The Holy Cross; he has the authority and duty to see to it that all members of the Order act in accordance with the Canons, Articles of Incorporation, and By-Laws of The Evangelical Catholic Church and to admonish and discipline all who in any way depart from them.
Section III: The physical and spiritual body of The Order shall be attended to by: a Superior-General; a Dean for Congregational Affairs; a Dean for Ecclesiastical Affairs; and a Procurator-General.
Section IV: The Superior-General, together with the Dean for Congregational Affairs, the Dean for Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Procurator-General, and The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church, shall constitute the Plenary Council, which shall be responsible for the maintenance and functioning of The Order. Each member of this Council, presided over by The Superior-General, shall have one vote in Council affairs.
Section V: The Order gathers yearly in a Chapter meeting. Only those Brothers who have reached full membership in this Order shall take part in The Chapter meeting and have the right to speak and vote. Aspirants, Associates, Postulants and Novices may make proposals in writing to The Chapter; such proposals must be received a minimum of 14 days before the annual meeting.
Section VI: The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church shall serve as The Episcopal Visitor, who shall visit The Order (or House within The Order) when he deems it suitable or at the request of The Superior-General, the Brother-Superior of the House, or of two or more Brothers. All members have the right to appeal to The Episcopal Visitor in any and all matters concerning the Order. Solemn Profession may be made before The Episcopal Visitor or someone appointed by The Chapter in Apostolic Succession recognized by The Evangelical Catholic Church.
Section VII: The Plenary Council may divide The Order into Houses, when it deems membership warrants such action. Each House created by The Plenary Council shall elect for a five-year term its own Brother-Superior, who shall have such powers and duties as The Chapter and the House wish to bestow upon him (within the guidelines of this Rule and the Canons, Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws of The Evangelical Catholic Church).
Section VIII: The tenure of office for all officers of The Order shall be five years. In the case of vacancy, The Superior-General, in consultation with The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church, shall appoint a successor who will serve until the next regular meeting of The Chapter. The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic Church shall appoint a member of The Order to serve as Superior-General for the remainder of the term of office when that office become vacant.
Section IX: The Dean for Ecclesiastical Affairs shall be charged with the responsibility of watching over the uniformity and safe-guarding the development of the rites and ceremonies of The Order; to resolve all questions of etiquette and precedence in the affairs of The Order; to act as parliamentarian for The Order; to promote and supervise popular religious instruction; to supervise the training of novices; to give instructions for the observance of holydays, fasting, and dress; to see that this Rule and its vows are observed by the membership; and to plan and organize all meetings of The Chapter.
Section X: The Procurator-General shall receive all contributions to The Order, keeping an accurate record of all receipts and disbursements; pay all bills approved by The Plenary Council; exercise authority, on behalf of The Order and with the approval of The Chapter, over the administration of all ecclesiastical property (which must be held by The Order in trust for The Evangelical Catholic Church); act as Public Relations Manager for The Order; and exercise such other duties as The Chapter or Plenary Council shall bestow upon him.
Section XI: It shall be the responsibility of The Superior-General, as executive officer of The Order, to
conduct all meetings of The Plenary Council and Chapter; to coördinate the work of all
officers, members, and committees; appoint all committees and committee members and
be ex officio a member of the same; to ordain (if he be a Bishop with valid Apostolic
Orders), or cause to be ordained, all candidates for Holy Orders declared eligible for and
worthy of ordination by The Plenary Council (but only after receiving The Primate's written
authorization); to exercise the duties of all or any one of the officers of this Order when he
feels they are incompetent and until such time as The Primate of The Evangelical Catholic
Church or The Chapter of The Order re-instates the individual in his office or elects a
successor; to attain and discharge all other responsibilities which, as the head of this Order,
shall befall him.
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