The Emmanuel Covenant
I commit to:
- Embrace God’s invitation to live our community life centred on the Eucharist, obedient to God’s Word, faithful to Catholic teaching and committed to daily prayer. [Acts 2:42]
- Embrace the dynamic action of the Holy Spirit in my life and exercise the charisms for the renewal and building up of the Body of Christ. [1 Cor 12:7]
- Embrace my call to live and grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ with my Emmanuel brothers and sisters. [Luke 9:23-25]
- Live a life of holiness: pursuing compassion, humility, patience, forgiveness, gratitude, encouragement and love so that Christ will be the centre of our community and family life. [Col 3:13 ff]
- Live in communion with my brothers and sisters, supporting each other and respecting the authority of the Elders to make decisions in community matters. [1 John 3:17, Hebrews 13:17]
- Live the Emmanuel ‘Way of Life’ and financially support our life and mission. [2 Cor 8:2 ff]
- Proclaim Emmanuel, God with us, in our world through a life of personal witness to the Gospel inspired by the Holy Spirit. [2 Tim 4:1-2,5]
- Proclaim the Gospel by participating in Emmanuel’s mission to reveal Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. [Mark 1:38; 1 Cor 9:16]
- Proclaim the Gospel by agreeing to be of service to the Church and to the world, wherever we may be called. [Mark 16:15]
Revised Preface to the Covenant
The Emmanuel Community is a Catholic, Charismatic and Mission Community bound together in Covenant relationship. In February 1975, the Emmanuel Community (originally called Brisbane Covenant Community) was founded. This experience of community had grown out of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and continues to give emphasis to the experience of a Personal Pentecost (Baptism in the Holy Spirit) as a foundational grace for the life of the community.
Just as the original Covenant written in 1975 was the Community’s first common understanding of how the Holy Spirit was working among the newly formed Brisbane Covenant Community, this new expression of the same Covenant seeks to capture how God has continued to lead us as his Emmanuel people and invites us to an obedient response.
The history of the Church is filled with examples of communities of men and women who struggled to write down their first leadings by the Holy Spirit while at the same time wanting to maintain the freedom of that same Spirit for further development and growth. As the Emmanuel Community, we find ourselves on that same journey as we seek to commit to writing our understanding of God’s call to live as his Emmanuel Community in the 21st century. Since the writing of the first covenant, there have been many changes that have impacted the Community including:
- Transition from the name of Brisbane Covenant Community to the Emmanuel Covenant Community and now to the Emmanuel Community,
- Transition of identity from a Catholic Ecumenical Community to a Catholic Community,
- Changes in styles of leadership and the exercise of authority,
- The Church formally and canonically welcomes the contributions of New Communities and Movements (e.g. Emmanuel received its first Archdiocesan canonical recognition in 1979 and from the Holy See in 1990) strengthening Catholic identity,
- The celebration of Sacraments within the Community and the centrality of the Eucharist in Community life, and
- The Church’s call to participate in the New Evangelisation.
This rewriting of the covenant retains for us the key elements of the original covenant but also brings to light the new challenges and ways in which God has invited us to respond. We are confident that the covenant remains relevant right up to this moment because men and women continue to identify in this Community the ongoing and unfolding action of the Holy Spirit. Our brothers and sisters who will take Covenant today remind the Community that they see the action of the Holy Spirit both in its founding and in its ongoing reality. This does not make us a perfect community but it does remind us that God has not finished with us yet and is ready to work with a Community that is weak and fragile.
In our own history, we have described the Covenant as a veil or a doorway that leads us into a deeper communion with one another and with God. Indeed, to be a covenanted member of Emmanuel is a radical commitment, a commitment founded in our Baptism and nurtured by the Holy Spirit to die to self and to live for Christ within this particular community. We live this commitment according to the ‘Way of Life’ that God continues to give us. We rejoice in our communion with God, his Church and with each other and long for the opportunity to share our joy with others as we participate in Christ’s mission. We pray that each one of us might be generous in our response because God is worth the gift of our whole lives.
8 February 2012