The Ephesus Chapter of the Rivendell Community is based in the parish of St. Gregory’s in Woodstock, NY. Taking inspiration from the original community house in Memphis, which served Grace-St. Luke’s parish and the surrounding community, we seek to enrich the lives of our congregation through offerings centered around the Rivendell charisms of hospitality and the contemplative dimensions of Christian faith.
Mentioned multiple times in the New Testament, Ephesus played a vital role in early Christianity. Starting in the first century A.D., notable Christians such as St. Paul and St. John (“the Beloved Disciple”) spent significant time there, winning many Christian converts in the process. According to tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary spent her last years in Ephesus with St. John, following Jesus’ commendation of them to one another from the Cross. A chapel stands today on the foundations of the house where they lived.
St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, written around 60 A.D., emphasizes the mystery of the Church’s call as the Body of Christ, “the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:23). Carl McColman has called the letter’s third chapter “the charter of Christian mysticism”; he writes: “In its poetic description of the mystery of Christ, this chapter lays the foundation for Christian mystical theology, introducing ideas and beliefs that inspired generations of men and women who sought to unite their lives with the love of God” (The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, p. 44).
In keeping with the Ephesian picture of Christ “gathering up all things… things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10), our Chapter seeks to gather together our friends and fellow parishioners by offering Saturday night potlucks, parish quiet days, and Rivendell community feast day Eucharists. We also have a Rivendell Study Guide group that uses the community’s discernment manual to deepen their Christian journey. Consonant with Our Lady’s presence at Ephesus, we also have a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, commemorating her feast days and sometimes gathering to pray the Rosary.