Evangelical Catholic: The term Evangelical Catholic is used to define those who understand the Christian faith a both “catholic” and “evangelical” (meaning “gospel centered”).  Evangelical Catholic refers to those Christians  who understand themselves to be catholic Christians who identify with the historic Christian Church, and who believe that the early ecumenical councils and the Protestant Reformation were both part of the progressive illumination of the Holy Spirit.


Among the Reformed and Lutheran traditions, Evangelical Catholic has come to mean those who have a high understanding of the Sacraments of the Church and the Church’s rites and rituals.  Among the Reformed, one of the oldest uses of the term is by John Williamson Nevin and Philip Schaff during their efforts to restore clarity to the theology of the German Reformed Church in the United States.  Out of these efforts came the “Mercersburg Theology” which is the foundation of the Order of Corpus Christi.


The Body of Christ: The Order of Corpus Christi calls us to a disciplined life of common prayer and contemplation which produces concrete action in the life of the Church and the world.  At the heart of Corpus Christi we encounter the living Christ in Word and Sacrament in the community of the Church which nurtures and empowers us in the life of faith and in mission and ministry.  Daily prayer, silence, contemplation, and a common discipline also inform the life of Corpus Christi.


The disciplines in which the brothers and sisters of Corpus Christi engage are intended to express commonality in faith, worship, and service. In the midst of diversity there is commonality in Christ!


The common disciplines of Corpus Christi serve as a witness and a sign.  They witness to our oneness in Christ and they are a sign of our communion with others in Christ through our one Baptism, one Bread, and the call to faithful discipleship in the midst of the world.


These common practices and those God will make known to us in the days and years to come are means through which the brothers and sisters of Corpus Christ respond to God’s call heard and seen so clearly in the celebration of the Eucharist: “Be who you are--the Body of Christ!”

The sisters and brothers of Corpus Christi endeavor to respond to this call as an ecumenical evangelical catholic community within the Reformed and Lutheran traditions and that is welcoming to other traditions who are part of one holy catholic and apostolic Church.  In so doing, Corpus Christi prays that it may be leaven within the loaf.


Nature and Faith of the Order

With the whole Christian Church the Order of Corpus Christi confesses its faith in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the living God, the only God, ever to be praised.


We believe that the gospel is our daily call and guide

to be part of the visible Body of Christ, We are made one in that same Body of Christ, the Church, through the Word, the Sacraments  and our Christian life together. And so we acknowledge and answer that call, keeping the passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ foremost in thought and worship.


Rooted in the theology of the Mercersburg Fathers, we believe that the Christian Church is sacramental, creedal and confessional.


We express our faith in the Word read and preached,

and the sacraments celebrated with due order and reverence, Baptism in the Triune Name, and the Mystical Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

We accept the witness to the apostolic faith expressed in the ecumenical creeds – the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, and acknowledge the declarations made in our Reformed, Lutheran and Evangelical traditions in which they stated the faith and sought to make its implications clear.


Faith alive and active; gift of an eternal source, renewed for every generation. Recognizing that oneness in Christ has many expressions and affirming our commitment to an evangelical, reformed, catholic, and apostolic Church, we continue to pray and work

to be open to the true leading of the Holy Spirit. We commit ourselves to Christ’s call That they may all be one”. We pledge ourselves to work for the visible unity of all Christ’s Church in the way that he chooses that all people may be led to love and to serve God and praise him forever.

 

Introduction to the Order of Corpus Christi

PHILIP SCHAFF

1819 –1893

JOHN WILLIAMSON NEVIN

1805 – 1886