THE EIGHT MARKS OF THE CHRISTIAN CONVERGENCE RECOVERY CHURCHES OF AMERICA
As believers in the saving Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, coming together to honor the Godhead through the convergence of Bible-based beliefs, Holy Spirit led gifts and Liturgical worship with Orthodox teachings, we state our beliefs as follows:
1) We are a "Moonlight Church."
That's a church that operates formally but without a heavily visible presence in the community. Much like the Basement Churches, which are spiritual groups that meet in church basements or coffee houses to deal with 12 Steps Issues, our church operates with a low overhead to impact groups who are victims of moonlight crimes or problems such as mental illness, abuse, molestation, rape, bullying, poverty and dysfunctions that are seldom addressed in the open "sunlight" churches. While we might have centers of service, we never forget our house church roots and continue to hold services there, as well as in town. Acts 2: 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to thebreaking of bread and to prayer.
2) We are a Mission Church
This goes back to a vision I had about being a pastor to those whom everyone else rejects. This outreach is from the Hurting but Healed to the Wounded and Seeking. We reach out from our Faith to give others Faith with Hope in Love.
If you want to attend a Sunlight Church at the same time that you attend our Moonlight Church, that's okay. Our mission is Healing with what God has given us freely. If you stay, great. If you stay for a season and return fully to your church, great. We'll be there for you one way or the other. Membership is not required. Communion is for those who believe the Creeds. So is Baptism, Confession, Confirmation, Marriage, Healing and Holy Orders. This is the "Peoples' Church." If you believe, you can receive. If you can't believe, well, we'll minister to you anyway!
As Jesus said, "If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me. But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.” (John 10: 37-38)
3) We are a Recovery Church
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Steps groups started out in the Anglican Oxford Group and the Welsylen movement. These were accountability groups who met together to stay sober, clean and centered on service to God and each other. Bill W and Sam Shoemaker both saw these steps as a key to spiritual revival. But the Sunlight churches rejected that for anyone other than the "addicted." So, the Oxford Movement became the basis for the 12 Step Movement, confined to the outsider status of AA, NA, etc. Recovery Churches of America is the Oxford Movement and the 12 Steps restored to its roots for the 21st Century.
The key to Recovery is in the ORIGINAL Serenity Prayer:
The Serenity Prayer
written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in the next.
4) We are also a WOMBman Church.
That means we see each other as Parents called to care for the Christ Child reborn in each one of us. So, our patrons are the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Eternal Family of God the Father, God the Son and the God the Holy Spirit. We like to say, "The Trinity above and the Trinity below." That is why we see God as a FAMILY, not a hierarchy. Male and Female exist for a reason. We are called to bring our differences together like the ancient symbol of Yin and Yang. The results of that meeting is new life on a physical, psychological and spiritual level. Whether we marry or abstain from marriage, we are here to nourish and nurture our unique callings as men and women both made in the Image and Likeness of God as equals:
Genesis 1: 26-28
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
This leads us to our next statement:
5) We are a CHILD centered Church
Who Is the Greatest?
33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you [f]disputed among yourselves on the road?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be thegreatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” Mark 9
Children are the core of the Faith. They are the expression of Divine Joy and Beauty. They are not to abused, hurt, harmed, killed, starved or neglected. The ONLY sin that will get you excommunicated in our branch of the greater Body of Christ is abusing a child. You will be held accountable for abuse, stealing, etc with accountability and spiritual direction. But, if you rape a child, you're will be turned into the authorities. Period.
Our exception to that is both abortion and physical child abuse under drug or alcohol use. We understand that stress, fear and substance abuse can drive people to hurt children. Society promotes this, as it always has, especially when it comes to girls. This is the result of a death driven world that hates innocence and beauty.
But God knows our weaknesses and forgives them. That is why we do masses of atonement and healing for parents and their children-living or dead-when they have been hurt or even murdered legally or illegally by their parents. Everything has its consequences, no matter what society teaches or preaches. We try to bring healing to all the Parties and work against the factors that lead to child murder.
Beyond that, we focus on healing our young people through recovery WITH the children FOR the children. We see our recovery WITH Jesus, the Child of the Father and the Holy Spirit FOR His Glory, which He gives to the Father through the Holy Spirit.
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
6) We are a CROSS Church
We emphasize reaching towards individually to the Trinity, (Arrow Up) through Jesus, God Incarnate, (Arrow Down) and then across (Right) to the people on earth and also across (Left) to the saints who have passed beyond our gaze so that Christ is in all. What brings that together is Christ Crucified and then Resurrected in the written and spoken Word, the Sacraments and in the Holy Spirit. That is why our symbol is the Dove, the Twelve Steps and the Host with lines of Blood and Fire on a Cross.
People seem to be ashamed of the Cross. But we revel in it because it is the symbol of the Price that was paid and the Savior Who gave. The Cross is the reason and power behind our Sobriety, so we embrace it :
14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
7) We are a SERVICE Church
Each one of us serves the other as equals. So, the majority of our tithes and funding goes towards service. The Clergy join the Mercy Apostles and take vows of service, which includes the ministry of Harmlessness and Helpfulness. Jesus commanded us to serve without "lording it over each other." That is what we strive to do.
"So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."
8) We are a PROPHETIC Church
There are many branches of the One Vine that is Christ. Each branch of the ONE Body of Christ has a purpose. We believe that our purpose as the Recovery Church is to reach out to those who have been broken by the Five Sins of Child Abuse, Sexism, Racism, Greed and Idolatry. We believe that the Atonement of Christ stands against and HEALS these sins when the Church rises up in Faith with Hope through Charity for those who cannot fight for themselves , so that they can become strong enough to change the world that God loves, redeems and and transforms.
Whether the world agrees with us or not, the Body of Christ has been appointed and anointed to TELL THE TRUTH OF CHRIST. Telling the Truth makes folks mad, as it did when Christ Jesus said the same thing. Our Leader said to expect that response and IGNORE IT.
As long as we stick to the Truth of Faith, Hope, Love, Life and Service, we will continue to do our jobs as Recovery Christians.