Episcopalians are invited to learn about, pray for, and celebrate the vowed religious orders and communities that have long been part of the church during the first observance of Religious Life Sunday on Jan. 22, according to a news release from the Episcopal Church Public Affairs Office. Find more information and download bulletin inserts.
The 80th General Convention in July approved a resolution naming the third Sunday of Epiphany as Religious Life Sunday in an effort to highlight and affirm the Episcopal monastic and Christian communities that offer spiritual growth practices, retreats, and hospitality, as well as welcome new members.
Religious communities in the Episcopal Church include monastic communities—whose members live together under a rule of life and vows such as poverty, chastity, and obedience—and dispersed Christian communities, whose members have jobs and live in their own homes, but who also live under religious vows.
“My godmother, the late Sister Althea Augustine, was a member of the Sisters of the Transfiguration, one of our religious communities in the Episcopal Church,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said. “Her impact on my life and that of many others is reflective of the impact of Episcopal sisters, brothers, monks, nuns, oblates, and others who are part of religious communities.”
“This is our attempt to raise awareness that we exist—there are brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church; there are also dispersed communities … many different ways to explore a religious vocation,” she said. “We’re also going to help people learn about what religious orders can offer the world in terms of helping people with their prayer lives, providing a safe space to come for retreat and spiritual refreshment, and many, many other ministries that we do every single day.”
“Religious Life Sunday is an opportunity for Episcopalians to learn about and pray for those who have given and those who might consider giving their lives to live under particular vows of commitment to Jesus Christ and service to the world and the church,” Curry said.