It’s hard to come up with a concrete definition for what are being called “Intentional Eucharistic Communities.” Perhaps it’s best to start with a definition of Eucharistic Community. What are commonly called mainstream, liturgical denominations, such as Catholics, the Orthodox, Anglicans/Episcopalians, Lutherans, and others have an established liturgy worship service followed by all member churches that centers around the celebration of the Eucharist, normally at every single, principle worship service. That is in contrast to many of the Protestant churches which may or may not have an order of worship that may or may not be followed by all or many of the churches in that denomination. More importantly, most of their worship services are not centered around the Eucharist. In some cases, they may never have a Eucharistic service or only have it on occasion, such as once a month.
In most or all Eucharistic Communities, the individual churches are set up or authorized by a central figure such as a bishop and only approved (ordained) ministers may perform the Eucharistic service. Thus, the community of believers did not “intend” to set up the individual churches; it was done at the intention of the bishop.
In most non-Eucharistic Communities, if a portion of the population becomes disaffected, they can simply split off and set up their own church of the same denomination. That is clearly not true among the Eucharistic Churches.
Clearly, among the Eucharistic Churches, there are people who feel disenfranchised by their denomination; in some cases, they are forcibly excluded through excommunication or other devices. In many such cases, these disaffected people have set up what have been named “Intentional Eucharistic Communities.” In these cases, the faithful who organized such churches are said to do so by their own intention, rather than that of a bishop or other power.
DignityHouston forms one such community. We invite you to discover more about Intentional Eucharistic Communities through these links:
- Intentional Eucharistic Communities (home page)
- Maureen Fiedler, National Catholic Reporter, Intentional Eucharistic Communities search for meaningful worship
- Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, Intentional Eucharistic Communities
- Alternative Catholic Experience (home page)
- YouTube Channel, Intentional Euchartistic Communities