A new movement for lay people is being planned and developed in the Church of England and beyond and we are delighted that St Chrysostom’s will be one of the pilot parishes to help pioneer this encouraging initiative.
The Chi Rho Movement is intended to be a friendly, supportive and inclusive movement with a spirit of Christian joy, welcome and hospitality, and a focus on the Holy Eucharist, the Mass.
The movement has three principle threads.
Firstly, encouraging community: members encourage and support one another – through regular meetings with discussion, sharing food and praying together. Members are expected to attend all meetings (the exact number being 6 – 10 each year depending on the wishes of the local branch members.)
Secondly, encouraging prayer: members have a particular focus on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. They commit to attend Mass regularly. They also plan to spend additional time in prayer with a focus on the Eucharist – say at a weekday Mass each week or month, or in silent prayer before the Reserved Sacrament or in another appropriate way. The name ‘Chi Rho’ comes from the first two Greek letters of Christ and reminds us the movement’s focus on Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, encouraging service: members agree to do some work of service to others. For example, assisting regularly in church pastoral work, or helping others in some other way. It is expected that members will commit to at least an hour a month of such work. If required local clergy will help members find suitable areas of service.
These three threads weave together in a simple Chi Rho Rule of Life which the member reviews each year as they renew their membership. A priest companion for the branch will help members form their Chi Rho Rule.
Some may wish to support the Chi Rho Movement but feel unable to commit fully to membership, they will be welcome as associate members.
A local church is encouraged to form its own branch. Individuals may join a branch if their own church does not have one. Branches will meet in regions for an annual meeting.
The movement is being initiated and guided by the Society of Catholic Priests (SCP) and will have an ethos similar to SCP albeit being a lay not a clergy group. Members will support the principles of the inclusive church movement.
At St Chrysostom’s we’re launching our branch on Easter Day 2020 at 5pm Benediction and we’re delighted that the Church Council unanimously supports the initiative. Indeed several Church Council members have said they are looking forward to finding out more and to joining. We’re hoping others will follow their lead!