Renewing the Church through lives of prayer and houses of hospitality
Rivendell is a Christian Community of the Episcopal Church whose members are drawn to contemplative prayer and spiritual practice in the context of active lives and ministries in the Church and the world. Professed members and Associates of the Community include both women and men, lay and ordained, single, married and partnered. Members and Associates live in several states, meet for study, prayer and conversation in local Chapters when possible, and come together for an annual General Chapter. Professed members follow a common Rule, or pattern of life and prayer, while Associates follow a rule adapted to fit their circumstances.
Among its cental interests, the Community seeks to provide competent and devoted leadership (priestly, diaconal, lay) for smaller, less affluent churches, and to create and serve houses of prayer and hospitality. Through its life and work, the Community seeks to foster the contemplative dimension of Christian faith – not as self-seeking religiosity but as self-giving availablity to the transformative power of the Gospel, in the Church and world as well as in individual lives.
Each chapter, and each Rivendell Companion, expresses the work of Prayer and Hospitality in particular ways. Some members are priests, often serving small congregations; others are deeply engaged in ministry with the homeless and marginalized. Rivendell makes a substantial difference in how professionals choose to practice–for example, in medical practice for poorer, underserved areas and responsible legal practice. Some offer spiritual direction and lead retreats; some are engaged in theological education. Some members invest their energies in the causes of environmental sustainability, ecumenical leadership, or emerging church. And for some, deep, faithful prayer is their ministry.
The Episcopal Church has a number of religious orders and communities. Like Rivendell, most Christian Communities include “dispersed” members living in their own homes, often with families and secular professions. Information about religious vocations and various communities is available from the National Association of Episcopal Christian Communities (www.naecc.us).
The Rivendell Community was founded in 1997 in Memphis, Tennessee, and now has members, houses and/or chapters in several states.