‘- an interview with Jim Kolar
When was your community started?
The community of Christ the Redeemer has its origins in a prayer meeting that started at a youth center in St. Paul MN, USA in the fall of 1972. From that same prayer meeting, two outreaches also developed: an international evangelistic ministry to high school students: NET Ministries, and an evangelistic and discipling ministry to University students: St. Paul’s Outreach.
From its very origin the community of Christ the Redeemer has had a strong orientation to bringing youth and young adults closer to Christ, which has been both a great blessing and a great challenge –striving to keep the overall vision and call in its rightful balance. There have been two brotherhoods that trace their origin to the Community: the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, and the Companions of Christ, a public association of Diocesan priests.
In the early days, the Lord spoke to us through the prophet Isaiah:
“Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples…They shall be called the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord.” Isaiah 62. 10-12
Where are you located?
We are located in the greater metropolitan area of St. Paul/Minneapolis MN, USA. There are a number of clusters or neighborhood areas with a higher density of community folks.
Tell us a bit about community demographics:
– Number of members: 429 adults and roughly 450 children
– Rough ages of adults and kids: ages range from newborns to 81
– Ecumenical make-up: We are a Catholic Community, established as a Private Association of Christian Faithful since June of 1985.
– Kinds of professions: full range of professions and jobs. Law, medicine, academic, IT, construction, and more.
How often do you meet, and in what configurations?
A normal month would have:
– An overall Gathering – including children
– A second gathering for everyone – except for young singles/professionals who would meet separately
– A meeting of the Covenant members or a district meeting or a family formation night
What do you as a community feel the Lord is saying to you just now?
– “I have gathered you here and I will tell you what I am doing. I am knitting you together. I am forming you as members of my Body; not just any body – but the body of my son. For I tell you, this night, this very night, I am raising up a body for my son to inhabit and to dwell in.
– “I’ve chosen you for this time. I had this time in mind for you when I created you and brought you into being. And so I say, draw confidence from me.”
– “Take seriously the call I’ve given to you – to bring others to me.”
– “Remember that I have called you to be together – to be a people. It is no accident that I have called you together in this time. There is power in being together. There is also a cost in being together.
– “I call you to identify yourselves more deeply as a people – as a people with a particular way of life; you are the Community of Christ the Redeemer.”
– “I am making you ready to bear the call I have for you – even to the offering of your lives. I will call you to an ever more radical life together – a deeper laying down of your lives for one another.
– “I have invested in you. I have called you together. I have revealed myself to you. I say, invest yourselves in me and in the call I have for you.”
Some reflections that come to mind as I think about these words/senses:
The stress on God’s initiative, God’s plan to gather and bring us together; to be a people, a people in whom He can dwell and through whom He can act – to bring others to himself.
This call is “forward moving”, or to use a different image “downward moving” – it is directional – leading us to go more deeply into it.
The call has to do with “this time”. It has to do with the ongoing “incarnation” in this day and age.
What areas of community life or service do you feel are a focus for the community, things you all are working to strengthen or take new strides in?
The blessings and challenges of growth – how to work with and respond to that; the challenges of our culture and its impact particularly on younger folks, children, and families.
What particular strength or call do you feel you as a community have been given by the Lord just now?
The young people in community are doing well. They are stepping up and taking their place in the life and work that God has called us to.
Why is it a help being part of the larger network of communities of the Sword of the Spirit?
The benefit of solidarity and the sharing of wisdom and experience.
What is your community doing right now to express our ecumenical call in the Sword of the Spirit?
We have speakers from various church backgrounds come to the community for various events and conferences.
If people in your area wanted to contact you, what’s the best way for them to do it?
We have a website: www.ccredeemer.org
Jim Kolar is one of the leaders of the community of Christ the Redeemer.