The Constitution of The Lindisfarne Community

1. Emphases

The Lindisfarne Community is a “new monastic,” apostolic network with a heart for spiritual renewal and service. The emphases of the community are drawn from a number of historical Christian traditions — the desert mothers and fathers, the early and renewal monastic movements, the Celtic Christian communities of fourth to ninth centuries in Britain and Ireland, the anabaptist radicals of the sixteenth century, the charismatic, home church and Christian feminist movements of the twentieth century. 

2. Chartering

Since its beginning in 1993, the community has been in a process of evolution and development. In July 2001, the community was chartered as a jurisdiction in the one holy catholic and apostolic church under the guidance of the Most Rev. Wayne Boosahda, bishop of the Archdicocese of St. Patrick, Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches.

3. Community

To be a community means that we share a common way of living. In the Christian tradition God is understood as Trinity—Father-Mother (Source of all being), Child (Eternal Word), and Holy Spirit; the lover, the beloved and the love which is between them. At the heart of the God we worship is community; eternal, perfect community of love. It is the relatedness of friendship in its highest and purest form. In its holiest calling the church is to reflect the community which is the life of the Holy Trinity.

4. Rule

Christian communities throughout the centuries have adopted a Rule to express their commitment to God and to each other. We encourage those in community to live a balanced life and to make a sincere commitment to follow the Rule of the Lindisfarne Community.

5. Leadership. 

The Lindisfarne Community is led by an Abbess and/or Abbot, the Board of the Community, and the Council of Elders. 

The community’s founders and leaders since 1993, the Rt. Revs. Jane Hall Fitz-Gibbon and Andrew Fitz-Gibbon were appointed Abbess and Abbot, apostolic overseers of the community, by the Most Rev. Wayne Boosahda when the community was formally chartered in July 2001. They received the gift of apostolic succession for the community on June 22, 2003 when they were consecrated bishops by the Most Rev. Wayne Boosahda (CEEC), the Most Rev. Joseph Grenier (CCC) and the Right. Rev. Charlotte Buckans Rogers (ACC USA). 

It is the intention of the community that the founding Abbess and Abbot will lead the community for as long as they are able. When they are unable to continue as leaders of the community, a new leader(s) will be appointed by consensus of the Professed members of the community. 

The Abbess/Abbot act as spiritual parents and soul friends to the community. It is not an hierarchical position but a position based on maturity and experience, learning and wisdom. 

The legal board of the Lindisfarne Community is composed of the Abbess, Abbot, Community Warden and Prior/Prioress.

The Council of Elders is composed of the Board and all ordained priests.

6. Membership of the community 

Membership is open to women and men, lay and ordained, including those who are married, single or single again. We affirm both celibacy and life long commitment to a partner as valid callings from God.

7. Joining the community 

a. Those who want to join the community must make application to the Abbess/Abbot (or their delegate) and become an “Inquirer” for a period of at least three months. After which time, if it is mutually agreeable between the candidate and Abbess/Abbot (or their delegate) there is a preliminary commitment of a year as a “Novice.” 

b. At the end of that year, again with mutual agreement, the candidate may become “Professed.” Profession signifies a firm commitment to following the Rule of the Lindisfarne Community. This stage of commitment must only be taken with the utmost seriousness, and after much reflection, prayer, fasting and consultation. Professed members may include the designation LC after their name.
d. All members are encouraged to visit Lindisfarne, the mother house of the community in Ithaca, NY at least once each year, if at all possible. 

e. Members may leave the community at any time, with the prayer and blessing of the community. Those who are Professed will only do so with the same care and attention with which they made their profession.

7. Expressing Commitment

There are three ways of expressing commitment for Noviced and Professed members:

a. As a member of a Lindisfarne Eucharistic community
b. As a member of another church
c. As a solitary

8. Membership of a Lindisfarne Eucharistic community

Lindisfarne Eucharistic communities function as local churches, meeting, most likely, on Sunday. Lindisfarne Eucharistic communities are church in every way; including Eucharist, fellowship, teaching, prayer, baptism, a regular financial commitment, pastoral care etc. These communities are open in exercising hospitality and welcoming guests to community meetings. They may well include regular attenders who have not as yet made a formal commitment within the Lindisfarne Community. Children are to be welcomed at community meetings in ways appropriate to their age and development.

9. Forming a Eucharistic community.

a. Application is made to the Abbot and or Abbess.

b. Upon acceptance, the community is considered “in formation” until the following are all true of it:

• There are at least three Professed members.
• There is at least one ordained priest.
• The community has been in existence for at least a year

c. When the above is complete there is a service of recognition and dedication of the new Eucharistic community.

d. At least one member, male or female, of such communities should seek to follow a course of study and mentoring leading to ordination to the diaconate and priesthood.

e. Lindisfarne Eucharistic communities are usually home based and should grow no larger than can adequately meet in the home.

e. The name of a Lindisfarne Eucharistic community will be chosen by the new community. Here are some suggestions :

• a place name such as the Lindisfarne Community at Ithaca
• a saint’s name: “St. Aidan’s Christian Fellowship (The Lindisfarne Community)” . . . short form “St. Aidan’s”
• some other meaningful prefix, such as “Living Water Community (The Lindisfarne Community)”

10. Individual Members From Other Churches

Individual Noviced and Professed members of the Lindisfarne Community may be members of other churches of any denomination. These members of the Lindisfarne Community will seek to be in good standing with their churches and exercise the responsibilities and commitment of church membership as required by that church. 

11. Solitaries

Some Noviced and Professed members of the Lindisfarne Community may be called to the solitary life. We recognize such a calling from God, but also know that such a calling is rare and demands a great deal of maturity and wisdom.

12. Habit

Noviced and Professed members of the community may wear the community cross. For worship services, personal meditation, gatherings of the community or on retreat community members may wear the community habit. The habit consists of a simple flax colored cassock/alb and a rope cincture, flax in color for noviced and black for professed. The cincture is to be knotted three times on one end, symbolic of the Holy Trinity and our commitment to prayer, study and work. When the habit is worn, it is as a sign of commitment to the new monastic way and as a sign of humility. It must not be worn as a sign of achievement or ostentation.