(i.e., plays well with others)
A progressive Catholic church in Colorado, we "play well with others" in both worship and mission. While much of our on-the-streets ecumenical collaborations happen within our respective communities, much of our corporate advocacy is with the Colorado Council of Churches (CCC) (see below). Bishop Kae Madden serves on the CCC’s Judicatory Board,
Our Vicar of Ecumenical Engagement, Fr. Michael Nicosia, is a member of the CCC Board of Directors and also represents the ECC churches of the Region by collaborating in ecumenical and interfaith ministerial partnerships and advocacy opportunities; helping to define CCC public policy statements and ministerial initiatives, and participating in the CCC’s Communications Network.
Actively partnering with social justice advocates of many faiths, the Colorado Council of Churches is a keystone of the Faithful Thursdays initiative at the Colorado State Capital during the legislative session. CCC Executive Director Adrian Miller and Fr. Michael currently also serve on the Advisory Board for an Advance Care Planning education program for faith communities in conjunction with UCHealth.
Bishop Kae and Father Michael were honored to be part of the worship team at the CCC’s 75th anniversary Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2022, and Presiding Bishop Pablo was the principal preacher in 2023.
Individual members of our Region also partner with Colorado Faith Communities United to end gun violence (CFCU), Colorado Ceasefire, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, and Together Colorado on various advocacy and service initiatives.
A member community of
THE ECUMENICAL CATHOLIC COMMUNION
How do we live Ecumenically?
By welcoming ALL, by practicing Eucharistic hospitality, and by giving everyone a voice.
Each member shapes and influences the whole; everyone has gifts to share and every gift is welcome.
How do we live into our Catholic identity?
Ecclesiastically, in worship, ritual and sacraments, by listening to the Word and sharing Eucharist, by being empowered to be the Body of Christ in the world, by following the liturgical year, by using symbols, signs and traditional prayers, and by being faithful to the apostolic tradition. Non-ecclesiastically, we are “all-embracing and inclusive.”
How do we live into communion?
We're part of a covenanted “communion of communities.” Each uniquely shaped, autonomous community shapes the larger communion. We are in deep intimate relationship with each other and our world.
Three Legged Stool
The Ecumenical Catholic Communion has a synodal model of governance. The Holy Synod (an assembly of the clergy and laity that guides the church) gathers bi-annually to determine how we are church together and chart our course. It is chaired by the Presiding Bishop in collaboration with the House of Laity, the House of Pastors, and the Council of Bishops.
The House of Laity (HOL) is comprised of lay members of each faith community of the Communion. Their number of delegates is proportional to their number of active members.
The House of Pastors (HOP) is comprised of all pastors and a second designated ministerial representative from each participating faith community.
The Council of Bishops (COB) is comprised of all bishops within the communion. Elected bishops are voting members, but the other bishops in good standing are a valued part of their conversations and their consensus-based deliberations.
While the Synod is not in session, the Leadership Council carries on the business of the Communion through regular meetings and the work of various ad hoc committees and working groups. The Council is comprised of the Office of Presiding Bishop and the chairs of both the HOL and HOP.
Check out this pdf summarizing the ECC Synod2022 held in St. Louis MO.
Colorado is Blessed
Both our Presiding Bishop Paul "Pablo" Burson and the President of the House of Pastors, Fr. Teri Harroun, call Colorado home.
CATHOLIC / LUTHERAN RELATIONS
The members of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church and the St. Paul Catholic Community of Faith had been living the vision for years. In 2019, on a formal level, their shared journey as ECC and ELCA members of the Body of Christ was celebrated as a model of inter-denominational collaboration. …and lest you think formulating a necessarily nuanced, official agreement is a simple task, the name says it all: Considerations for Collaboration in Mission and Sharing in Worship between Congregations of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Congregations of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion in this Territory. (See the pdf below.)
So thrilled was Sue Kaessner, one of the members of the hosting church in attendance, she wrote: “The Ecumenical Catholic Communion and the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church joined together in a glorious liturgy and celebration at St. Paul Lutheran and Catholic Community of Faith* on October 30. Bishop Jim Gonia of the Rocky Mountain Synod presided at the Lutheran Eucharist, The Most Rev. Francis Krebs, Presiding Bishop of the ECC, preached.
“Both Bishops signed the Agreement that marks the collaboration and sharing in worship between the faith communities. Bishop Francis gave an inspirational sermon on forgiveness and peacekeeping, embracing the account of the conflict between Jacob and Esau (Genesis 33.1-11).
“It was truly a memorable and heartwarming experience, with more than 60 people participating and with the joyful noise of St. Paul’s Lutheran Choir under the direction of Dcn. Mark Alan Filbert. The liturgy was then followed by an enjoyable fellowship in the church hall. An evening we will remember long past the celebration.”
Dennis Giblin drove an enthusiastic carful of seven from Church of the Beloved (including Mother Kae Madden**, Christy Chady, Bonnie Gaither, Kate Giblin, Deacon Buddy Fricke and Alice Bradley) to the historic celebration. All who attended found it to be a wonderful, step forward in the reunification of our common bonds as communities in Christ Jesus. Expressions included, “a wonderful church family reunion” and “it was a powerful, beautiful ceremony.” “It gave me a strong feeling of the communities with which we are connected.” And, “Wow, what a powerful and moving homily by Bishop Francis!” Bonnie commented: “I was truly blessed by being able to attend the liturgy and signing of the agreement between the ECC and the ELCA. It has been a dream of mine since childhood to be able to commune and celebrate liturgy jointly with the ELCA. Half of my neighborhood was ELCA and the other half were Catholic… but we were all little kids, God’s kids, loved by Him, sharing love, life and growing up together, getting to sharing everything but the celebration of our faith. The signing of the agreement by the two Bishops and sealed with a whole-hearted, joyous hug was a realization that we are getting closer to the wish of Jesus that we ALL will become ONE as he and the Father are one.” Dcn. Buddy elaborated, “Great night. Very Positive. Powerful. Historical. As a fan of Martin Luther and a clergy member of the ECC it was especially meaningful.”
In concluding remarks, both Bishops echoed a key line in the sermon that captured the deeply spiritual significance of the evening, the ground of the agreement, and “the holy envy” embodied in our ecumenical relationship: “I see the face of God in you.”
*St. Paul Catholic Community of Faith is now at 6thAveUCC, Denver.
**Mother Kae was elected the First Bishop of the ECC’s Rocky Mountain Region in 2021.
The Rocky Mountain Region of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion is a covenanting member of the
Walking together in faith, working together for justice is the mission of our covenanting denominations, congregations and affiliated partners as they come together to be the Colorado Council of Churches (CCC). Together our member denominations can be a clearer voice and stronger witness for justice for all of God’s children than any one denomination can be by itself. October Newsletter
Our ECC Region's Bishop Kae Madden serves on the CCC Judicator Board, while our Vicar of Ecumenical Engagement, Fr. Michael Nicosia, is on the CCC Board of Directors.
Social Justice Advocacy at the State Capital
In its fourth year, “Faithful Thursdays” is a diverse coalition of leaders, organizations and community members who are committed to adding a deeper, moral dimension to the public policy-making process in Colorado. Our focus is to advance a faith narrative and collaborative process that supports a just economy, promotes equity, and eradicates racism in Colorado. We will hold opening and closing multi-faith events, with some possible intermittent programming during each session of the Colorado General Assembly. www.cochurches.org
A regular participant in the Colorado Council of Churches' Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Fr. Michael usually opens with a Native American flute meditation. In 2022 Bishop Kae joined CCC Executive Director Adrian Miller and preacher Rev. Dr. John J. Yu to proclaim the Good News and give the benediction. In 2023 Pastor Lance Swearengin's band Blood Brothers provided music again, and ECC's Presiding Bishop Pablo preached!
See the livestream video on the CCC website.
INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC MOVEMENT
Members of our Region and from across the ECC are engaged in regular holy conversation and relationship-building among other jurisdictions in the Independent and Old Catholic Movement in the United States and around the world.
Check out the ECC Synod2022 Keynote by Rev. Dr. Jayme Matthais to hear how the ECC Constellation appears in the Independent Catholic Night Sky.
Examples of our shared wisdom can be found in the quarterly publication https://extraordinarycatholics.faith/magazine
If you're looking for a welcoming and affirming Catholic community to worship with while traveling, visit https://en.everybodywiki.com/Independent_Catholic_Eucharistic_Communities
To honor the one month anniversary of the Club Q massacre, leaders in this Independent Catholic Movement are presently crafting a statement in response to the homophobic/transphobic theology and rhetoric of some Roman Catholic and conservative evangelical church leaders, words that have consequences and often lead to violent oppression of our LGBTQIA+ siblings. Stay tuned.