Questions & Answers Regarding The Christian Community
Is The Christian Community connected to any other church or religious movement?
No. The Christian Community is a completely independent Christian movement. It was founded as a new impulse within Christianity. The founders were, in some cases, formerly active as ministers in other churches –
The Christian Community’s unique approach to church life and practice came through the willing help and advice given through Dr. Rudolf Steiner. The original priestly ordination was received by Dr. Friedrich Rittelmeyer who then enabled others to be ordained into the priesthood of The Christian Community. Priestly empowerment was received ‘vertically’ rather than through any established historical apostolic succession.
What is the attitude towards women in The Christian Community?
There is no particular attitude towards women in The Christian Community. From the start of the movement, women were ordained and active as priests just as men were. Leadership roles within the movement are occupied by women in the same way as men occupy such positions. Currently 3 of the 4 full-time priests in New Zealand and Australia are women.
How is The Christian Community financed? Are priests paid or voluntary workers?
As far as possible priests are financially supported so that they can devote their time to priestly work without having to be employed elsewhere. Their personal needs and the needs of their families are considered along with the material resources necessary for them to carry out their work. The funds needed for all of this must come from the freely given financial contributions of the individuals and families who value what they receive from The Christian Community and its priests.
Capital items such as church buildings are normally financed through specific fundraising projects, bequests, loans and large gifts. However, the cost of maintaining capital items is met through the regular financial contributions of individuals and families.
The Christian Community does not have any beliefs. Individuals within The Christian Community have beliefs, and they hold these beliefs freely as convictions born out of their own experience. In other words, there is no dogma within The Christian Community –
The Bible –
If there is no dogma or particular teaching in The Christian Community, what does The Christian Community stand for? Where does it stand on issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and so on?
Are priest in The Christian Community free to change the way in which they hold the services? Can they change the words in the rituals?
No they are not free to do this. They are free to teach from their individual responsibility by way of sermon, lecture or writing so long as they do not contradict the intention of the sacraments as expressed in the form and content of the sacramental rituals. The ritual forms, prescriptions and content were given out of an insight and inspiration that went beyond the design or intention of any human individual. The validity of these rituals flows from a source beyond the reach of normal human capacity. This is the understanding and experience of those who know them. Thus no individual or group of individuals is in a position to make such changes.
Where doubt has existed concerning any aspect of the original intended prescription, such doubt may be resolved by a group of priests working thoroughly through the doubt, in consultation with their wider circle of colleagues. Occasionally changes in ritual wording occur insofar as this relates to a translation from the original German into some other language. Even the smallest rendering of a translated word is worked through over a long period of time by a group of individual priests as they endeavour to fine-