Pathways to Companionship
Threads of Companionship
Where do I belong in this tapestry? That’s what the group will help you discern.
You may decide that you love the Companions, but you really don’t feel called to live by the Covenant. You would then become a Friend. You’d be welcome to worship and visit us, to ask for prayers and pray for us, to be a friend.
You may decide that you want to live by the Covenant. You value regular time to reflect and share your experience. You want to be an ongoing part of the Companions community. As a ConSpiritor you would be invited to join us once a month for an online gathering to share questions and experiences of living Companion life. You would be invited to an in-person gathering to be held at least once a year. You will be welcome at any events we hold (as long as there’s room!) and for private retreat time as we are able to accommodate you.
In turn you would commit to regular financial contributions to CMA for the purpose of ongoing formation and education for all members as well as general needs. (Some members may need assistance to attend Companions events.) You commit to living the Covenant to the best of your ability, and to helping others to do that as you are able. You may share in facilitating an online or local meeting of ConSpiritors, or assist in projects from time to time.
Perhaps you feel called to a closer relationship with the Companions. You want to be part of an ongoing community of prayer and to take a leadership position. But you don’t feel called or able to leave your family or your career. There’s a place for you!
Covenant Companions live by the Covenant, and share mutual accountability for their practice. They actively foster the development of the Companions community in any way that meets the community’s needs and uses their individual gifts. They meet weekly online, and once a year for a retreat of at least five days. They share reading and theological reflection, plan programs and share in facilitating programs and newer members. They make regular substantial financial contributions, considering the Companions a primary faith community on a par with their local church.
Covenant Companions begin as Candidates. They undergo at least one year of intensive formation including reading, weekly group meetings, and a monthly meeting with a mentor. At the end of a year they may decide to commit to one year’s commitment as a Covenant Companion, or they may become a ConSpiritor or a Friend. Over time, commitments for longer periods or for life may be considered. This decision is made in consultation with the existing community of vowed and covenanted Companions.
You may feel that you want to center your life on God through the Companions, specifically by living in community. Vowed members commit to conversion of life through the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They renounce private property, choose celibate non-exclusive relationship, and commit to listen to and trust the Holy Spirit speaking through other members and the gathered community. They are strengthened to do this by living in close community with other Companions, and by the daily routine of prayer together and alone. They live by the Covenant, with modifications appropriate to vowed residential life.
The path to vowed Companionship involves conversations and visits with the current vowed community, and extensive discernment. If you think you are called to this, we invite you to inquire about the process.
Wherever you find yourself in the Companions tapestry, you will be learning and discerning in a group. The groups generally meet online, though we are hoping that some groups will organize locally face-to-face. We meet online via Zoom, which we find to be an easy technology for beginners. Our meetings take place once a month at a time set at the beginning of the cycle. Each group will run for one year, after which members may choose to enter another relationship with the Companions or to stick together on your own.
We ask that you commit to six months of attendance for your discernment. If, after six months, you feel clear about what you’d like to do, we invite you to a conversation about that. If you decide to step away, that’s fine. If you want to stay in the group for the rest of the year that’s fine too.
The group experience is key to becoming a Companion. We do not make this journey alone. The covenant is a group commitment, and we live it in community with others. Should you continue your journey into Companionship, you will be spending time with other Companions at least online, and so the group lets you test those waters.
In order for the group members to get the most value from your time together, we will invite you to make operating agreements about honoring the meeting time, sharing in leadership, or any other matters that might arise. We find that operating agreements minimize conflict and let us really enjoy our time together.
We know this is a lot to take in. This is not information to master. You are on a path of formation, of becoming your fullest self. That is more than information or education. If you have questions about joining us, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be glad to answer whatever we can.
Pour into our hearts, O God, the Holy Spirit’s gift of love; that we, clasping each the other’s hand, may share the joy of companionship and draw many to your community of transforming love; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.