The Mission Episcopate of Ss. Francis and Clare is a small part of the universal church.
At present we are represented in the North Greater Houston area of Texas in the USA, Kirkcaldy, Scotland and Brighouse in the U.K.
We believe the Divine to be Almighty, Eternal and Omni-present, and to find expression in all faiths. Each tradition holds a part of the whole Truth. Thus, we are sympathetic with interfaith ideals.
Even so, we are firmly Christian in orientation. For the same reasons that we are sympathetic to interfaith ideals, we are likewise ecumenical in attitude, and yet we identify ourselves most strongly with the sacramental and ceremonial expression of Christian practice and worship. We are undoubtedly and unambiguously serving within the single body that constitutes all believers, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Our liturgical tradition derives principally from Catholic and Anglican/Episcopalian roots. Most specifically, we are especially inspired by the fundamental contribution made by the Liberal Catholic Church (LCC).
We respect entirely the right of each individual to freedom of belief, and find ourselves as much at home with those who wholeheartedly and literally accept the traditional Christian Creeds as with those who accept them only in part, and/or with liberality of interpretation, or not at all.
We do not feel that it is our calling to impose beliefs, but rather to share the journey towards understanding, and most of all to administer generously and prudently the Sacraments left to God’s church by the Christ.
In our worship, we use principally the liturgy of the Liberal Catholic Church, which we are in the course of revising so as to make it gender inclusive and less archaic in tone. We may draw from other practices and traditions in healing rites, Daily Office, prayer services, and other devotional practices, without losing sight of our principal charism. We use the Liturgical Calendar and Services of the Liberal Catholic Church, amended as appropriate.
We also follow the practices of the LCC in having an open altar and in making the sacraments available to all who sincerely and reverently seek them, without discrimination of any sort. Christ is available to all. We do not require anyone to “join” our church. We rejoice in unity in diversity and accept bi- or multi-denominationalism.
While we are loosely sympathetic with the Doctrine and Principles of the LCC, we do not adopt them nor require anyone else to adopt them. In particular, we do not seek to impose practices or beliefs associated with the LCC, such as vegetarianism, abstention from tobacco and alcohol or belief in reincarnation. We leave such decisions to the freedom of the individual.
For all the above reasons, we regard ourselves as “catholic”, but independent of and free from the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church, the Liberal Catholic Church or indeed any other catholic church. We are therefore “independent” catholics, and, in view of our cultural debt to the Liberal Catholic Church, we describe ourselves as “Independent Liberal Catholics”.
Since some of our members have adopted a Franciscan lifestyle, either by membership of Franciscan Orders or as individuals, we incorporate important celebrations and practices of the Franciscan year into our own calendar. They are included on this site for the benefit of those similarly disposed.
Many of us also have a particular devotion to the Holy Lady Mary, and the concept of the Divine Feminine. For this reason, we also incorporate key Marian observances and practices into our calendar. We include in our approach to the Divine Feminine the acknowledgment of the Sophia principle as co-existent with the Trinity, operating as the feminine aspect of God in concert with the three principles of the Trinity which are traditionally described in masculine terms.
The clergy of the MESFC are ordained and, where appropriate, consecrated in the Historical and Apostolic Succession, and the Mission Episcopate of Ss. Francis and Clare has been properly and canonically established. On July 2nd 2010, the Ecclesia Apostolica Divinorum Mysteriorum (The Apostolic Church of the Divine Mysteries) founded and established the Mission Episcopate of Ss. Francis and Clare as an autocephalous ministry within the Franciscan charism.
In summary, therefore, the Mission Episcopate of Ss. Francis and Clare maintains a tradition of inclusive independent Christian freedom of belief, and is non-dogmatic in nature, being open to the insights of all faiths and philosophies. It derives its Apostolic Successions from the historic Churches of the East and West, and principally the successions of the Apostolic Episcopal Church as conveyed by its Emeritus Primate, Archbishop Bertil Persson. It has significant ties with the historic Liberal Catholic movement, and is part of The Movement for Sacramental Intercommunion, in which respect it is associated with
The Order of St. Lucy,http://www.orderofstlucy.org/ , and
The Aquarian Catholic Spiritual Community, http://www.aquariancatholicspiritualcommunity.net/index.html .
Individual members of the MESFC are free to join the Liberal Catholic Alliance, and several of them have done so. http://theliberalcatholicalliance.weebly.com/
Finally, we acknowledge our debt of gratitude to Tau Eleutherius, Ep.Gn. (The Most Reverend John Kersey, OCR, DD) from whose website (http://innerchurch.wordpress.com/) we have significantly quoted.