Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Benedictus Fellowship L.C.A.C Swindon

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The Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church today

The Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church today is a universal church in the liberal Christian tradition, whose ministry is expressed through a wide range of activities and a diverse body of serving and affiliated clergy.

Liberalism does not mean "anything goes." In the LCAC, liberalism is understood as the adherence to a specific set of progressive values in keeping with historic Christian teachings and practices, and with the ongoing guidance of the Holy Spirit. These values are the expression of the inclusivity and social justice promoted through the ministry of Jesus Christ. For example, we ordain women to Holy Orders, we do not discriminate according to sexual orientation, and we advocate marriage between same sex couples where this is permitted by law.

Clergy in the LCAC are permitted to hold divergent opinions on theological and ministerial issues within the overall ethos of the Church. There is no dogma and no imposition on interpretation. We are open to mysticism and believe that, in Albert Einstein's words, "the most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mysterious." The experience of doubt and evolving belief are seen as an integral part of the Christian life and the search for faith.

The LCAC is Catholic in the nature of its organisation and worship and has preserved the historic seven sacraments. It is jurisdictionally and spiritually independent from the Roman Catholic Church, although holding valid Apostolic Succession from that church and the Orthodox churches of the East. The Mass is at the centre of the life of the church, and is conceived in accordance with Liberal Catholic theology as an offering for the healing and spiritual welfare of the whole world.

As independent clergy, the ministers of the LCAC are to be found in a very diverse range of situations. Some lead communities, parishes, religious orders or sodalities. Others are active in such areas as wedding and funeral ministry, outreach ministry, counselling, scholarship, lecturing and leading workshops on aspects of spiritual practice. Some express their spirituality in ways that are broadly aligned with the liberal traditions within the mainstream churches, while others are significantly more esoteric in their approach. All ministers are required to have completed acceptable theological, ministerial and altar training before ordination; further details may be found on the ordination and incardination page.

The LCAC is an ecumenical body. As a small, widespread church, its ministers are called to answer needs that are not always fulfilled by the mainstream churches, and also to work to promote understanding and co-operation between religious bodies whose polities may be strikingly divergent. The LCAC has worked ecumenically with conservative and liberal denominations in the Independent Catholic movement as well as with Anglicans/Episcopalians, Unitarians and members of the non-conformist churches, among others. This work is given practical expression through the Cross-Denominational Mission, a religious society of the LCAC. The LCAC considers itself by default to be in communion with the whole family of Christian believers, but enjoys special relations with, and intercommunion agreements with, other churches. Intercommunion agreements are based on the Bonn Agreement of 1931 and are regulated by The Independent Catholic Churches Council.

During the past few years, the LCAC has experienced dynamic growth and has seen many enquiries about its work from people all over the world. Those who seek to join us in ministry are attracted by the non-dogmatic nature of the church's spiritual and jurisdictional approach, within a traditional sacramental context. They appreciate that the church is conceived in the spirit of a fellowship of Christian love and less as an organisation concerned with money, buildings and temporal power. All this contributes to a church that is, in the words of one member, "the best and most cordial, Christ-like independent LC church organization I have researched."

We thank you for your interest in our work, and pray for your onward journey in faith.