the Healing Shepherd
Welcome to the Ecumenical Catholic Communion!
The ECC is a Communion of Communities that, though unaffiliated with the Church of Rome, sees itself as Catholic. It maintains 40 churches in 12 states and three countries,
and is served by 90 deacons, priests, and bishops, of whom one-third are women.
ECC membership in the United States is estimated at 6,100.
A significant number of parishes are located in Colorado, with five ECC
communities found between Denver and Fort Collins along the Front Range
of the Rockies. California and Florida each play host to four ECC parishes,
while Arizona and Washington each have three parishes.
Here in Pennsylvania…
There are two established ECC Communities in PA, All Souls located in Reading and Church of the Healing Shepherd in Chester Springs, PA.
Former Presiding Bishop Francis Krebs, the ECC presiding bishop, describes the ECC as “Catholic, but not Roman.” He adds that it is “similar to the Roman Catholic Church in matters of
both creeds and sacraments,” but he stresses that it is a separate religious body.
The ECC traces its origin to 1870 — the date of the First Vatican Council — when
tens of thousands of European Catholics refused to accept the idea that the Pope was
infallible in matters of church dogma, and rejected allegiance to Rome.
“This group of Europeans then formed what is commonly called the ‘Old Catholic Church,’ a movement from which the ECC emerged. They believed in ‘great autonomy for local churches,’ a belief reflected today by the fact that all the local communities within the ECC elect their own pastors and bishops. The ECC “put down roots in Southern California in 1998,” and is “one of several North American descendants of the Old Catholics in Europe.” - Bishop Francis Krebs
East Coast Region Communities
Healing Shepherd is sister community with four ECC Parishes in the Northeast - All Souls in Reading, PA, Mary Magdalene in East Rochester, NY, Holy Spirit Catholic Community in Newtonville, MA, Community of St. Luke in Framingham, MA, and St. Francis in Largo, FL. Although far apart, the East Coast Region stays connected through conference calls, retreats, and social media. Clergy and laity share ideas, progress, events, and support.
The clergy marry,
women are ordained,
and sacraments are available to all
In practical terms, the ECC is a place where the clergy marry, women are ordained, and the sacraments are available to ALL. Annulments are not required for remarriage, and the ECC is open and affirming to the LGBTQA community.
National Council of Churches
The Ecumenical Catholic Communion is a member of the National Council of Churches, based in Washington, DC. The Council, with 38 members in the USA, describes itself as a “leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians,” and was founded in 1950. The ECC is also a member of Church World Service, a cooperative ministry sponsored by 37 Christian denominations to provide assistance to the hungry and to the poor around the globe.
Different from the Roman Church …
The Ecumenical Catholic Communion has many traits that make it distinct from the Roman Catholic Church.
For example …
The ECC believes in a “policy of inclusion,” where all its members are called to serve, regardless of their gender, marital status or sexual orientation.
Each ECC parish is financially independent, and each elects its own leadership.
Ordination of deacons, priests and bishops is open to all qualified women and men.
Liturgy and church ritual employ inclusive language that permits both women and men to consider themselves as active participants in the faith.
The laity and the clergy of the ECC are equal partners, and both share the responsibility for day-to-day decisions, as well as for broad issues of governance in the Communion.