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ABOUT US
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Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva

"Hospitality is the dirt   
   in which grace grows."

~member Liz Begalla

 

Our patron St. Paul, was a tentmaker by trade.

May God bless the work of our hands
as we create spaces of hospitality and inclusion.

lgbtq pride blessings

STP'S CONSTITUTION

On December 9, 2023 our membership approved our revised Constitution. It serves the community in two ways:  it articulates our way of being church together, and ensures that we are living up to our covenant relationships within our community and with our sibling communities across the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. 

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A member community of 

THE ECUMENICAL CATHOLIC COMMUNION

www.ecumenical-catholic-communion.org

How do we live Ecumenically?

  • by welcoming ALL

  • by practicing Eucharistic hospitality

  • by giving everyone a voice

  • each member shapes and influences the whole

  • everyone has gifts to share and every gift is welcome

 

How do we live into our Catholic identity?

Ecclesiastically:

  • in worship, ritual and sacraments

  • by listening to the Word and sharing Eucharist

  • by being empowered to be the Body of Christ in the world

  • by following the liturgical year

  • by using symbols, signs and traditional prayers

  • by being faithful to the apostolic tradition

Non-ecclesiastically:

  • We are “all-embracing and inclusive”

 

How do we live into communion?

  • We're part of a covenanted “communion of communities”

  • Each uniquely shaped, autonomous community shapes the larger communion

  • We are in deep intimate relationship with each other and our world

 

Three Legged Stool

The Ecumenical Catholic Communion has a synodal model of governance.
The Holy Synod (an assembly of the clergy and laity that guides the church) gathers bi-annually to determine how we are church together and chart our course. It is chaired by the Presiding Bishop in collaboration with the House of Laity, the House of Pastors, and the Council of Bishops.

 

The House of Laity (HOL) is comprised of lay members of each faith community of the Communion.  Their number of delegates is proportional to their number of active members.

The House of Pastors (HOP) is comprised of all pastors and a second designated ministerial representative from each participating faith community.

The Council of Bishops (COB) is comprised of all bishops within the communion.  Elected bishops are voting members, but the other bishops in good standing are a valued part of their conversations and their consensus-based deliberations.

While the Synod is not in session, the Leadership Council carries on the business of the Communion through regular meetings and the work of various ad hoc committees and working groups. The Council is comprised of the Office of Presiding Bishop and the chairs of both the HOL and HOP.


Check out the recording of our Regional educational seminar
ECC 101

posted on the Rocky Mountain Region's home page 
 

OUR HISTORY
AS A FAITH COMMUNITY

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It is our practice to lite candles on our sanctuary's side altar honoring those who have fallen victim to gun violence during that week. Added to our thoughts and prayers, we actively advocate for sensible gun regulations.

St. Paul Catholic Community of Faith (ECC) located in Denver, Colorado, evolved from being a small, independent Catholic group in 2003 led by Fr. Don Sutton, to its now thriving community of faith co-housed with the Sixth Avenue United Church of Christ.

Father Don was a Jesuit priest with rich experience, including teaching at Regis University, being the principal on-call sacramental minister to Denver’s hospitals, and serving seven years as Vicar at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Denver.  In 2003, his faculties in the Archdiocese had ended  when then Archbishop Caput decided against incardinating him into the archdiocese.  That decision led a group of parishioners to ask Fr. Don to  continue to preside at Eucharist and preach for them. 

Fr. Don agreed that he would continue to serve this small group, which gathered initially in the home of Dr. Mike and Bonnie Kurtz.  Then, due to Fr. Don’s friendship with Pastor Kevin Maly (both having taught at Regis at the same time), the fledgling community was welcomed to St. Paul Lutheran Church just 2 blocks away from Denver’s Capitol Building. We subsequently gathered for our first Eucharist there on June 18, 2003. 

This was a happy joining as both pastors were very interested in ecumenism. Even though the two groups maintained separate worship times, but decided for Holy Week and Easter of 2004 that it would provide for a better liturgy if they combined for preeminent celebrations.  The custom of joint worship expanded to include Christmas and Reformation Sunday. The two groups began doing common adult education studies and all social events were done jointly (Mardi Gras, Octoberfest, et al.).  Social outreach projects were also done in common, e.g., a soup kitchen and food bank, rummage sales, clothing drives, and collections of food and clothing at Christmas.  They jointly studied the great documents about Lutheran and Catholic relationship and theology, Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1999) and Declaration on the Way (2015).

The study of these documents was a powerful force in solidifying the community’s sense of identity and purpose, expressing the hoped-for unity of the Christian community while maintaining and respecting differences.  In fact, the two pastors named the two communities the “St. Paul Community of Faith.”  This joint community grew  as the members of the separate traditions came to recognize what they shared in common and desired to express the commonalities as being more significant than the differences.  They desired to embody Ephesians 4:5, “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” 

When Pastor Kevin resigned, the Bishop of the ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod, +Jim Gonia, appointed Rev. Penni Walsh as interim pastor to help the community’s transition. The Bishop also challenged the Catholic members of the community about their lack of affiliation with an episcopal jurisdiction. This led them to an examination of the theology and praxis of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC) and subsequently to the decision to request acceptance as an ECC community in 2018. No longer independent, St. Paul Denver ECC has grown in covenantal relationship with the other 4 ECC churches of the Rocky Mountain Region, with lay and clergy representatives of our community serving on its Regional Council.

St. Paul Lutheran and Catholic Community of Faith’s identity as a single community worshiping in two faith traditions was an inspiration to both Bishop Gonia and ECC Presiding Bishop Francis Krebs, who both saw us as a model of ecumenical unity “from the ground up.” Their dialogues, with input from the ELCA’s Chief Ecumenical Officer, led to the historic 2019 “Considerations for Collaboration in Mission and Sharing in Worship between Congregations of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Congregations of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion in this Territory.”

Later in 2019, the Lutheran members called the Rev. Barbara Berry Bailey as their pastor, who was welcomed and supported by our Catholic members.  Over time, however, the Catholic community found that the two groups had different views on the future use of the church building, and since it belonged to the Lutheran members, theirs was the view which prevailed.  The disagreement highlighted our need to develop our own individual identity as an ECC church, so we sought a trial separation from the Lutheran community.

 

Knowing our commitment to remaining “in the city for good,” Fr. Michael Nicosia, ECC Bishop Krebs’s Regional Vicar at the time, introduced us to Sixth Avenue United Church of Christ—they had once before hosted an ECC community. Since 2021 it’s been our new home. With the UCC community we’re blessed to have a broader understanding of ecumenism as we collaborate in worship and mission.

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