Community of the Gospel names first international monastic Kenneth Mortimer Sr., elected to full profession, chooses Brother Michael-Jude as his name

Kenneth Mortimer, Sr., has been elected to full profession in the Community of the Gospel (CG) making him the first international member of CG, a non-residential monastic community in standing with the Episcopal Church.

Mortimer has chosen Brother Michael-Jude as his monastic name.

According to Mortimer, his election on March 6 is a culmination of a desire he has had from his youth.

“My role is to be a living stone, to stand firm with all the other living stones, always recognizing that the cornerstone … the capstone and the foundation is all Christ. As ‘living stones’, we must seek the good of others as we seek the good of ourselves,” said Mortimer.

He participated in the Rite of Profession of the Community of the Gospel on March 20, which was held within the context of the family eucharist at his home parish of Holy Cross.

Family and friends and those of the Cursillo Ministry within the Anglican Church and the Diocesan Council of The Anglican Church Men witnessed the Rite of Profession.

Brother Daniel-Chad Hoffman, CG, Guardian of the Community of the Gospel said, “Bother Michael-Jude has already enriched our community with his single-minded focus on monastic living. His presence reminds us of the truth contained in the lyrics of the beloved John Oxenham hymn: ‘In Christ, there is no East or West, in him no South or North, but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.’”

The Community of the Gospel is recognized as a Christian community with the Episcopal Church. The recognition was granted in February 2013, by the House of Bishop’s Committee on Religious Communities, according to the Community’s site.

The Community is not based exclusively on any one major tradition. It is a Christian community formed according to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, USA. But any person interested in seeking a deeper relationship with Christ may be considered for membership in the Community.

The Community’s foundation dates back almost 2,000 years. CG was founded in 2007 in accordance with the Canons of the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) and is sanctioned by the worldwide Anglican Communion but is not limited to just members of the Episcopal Church.

It is a non-resident monastic community, which is open to anyone who is interested in seeking a deeper relationship with Christ. Its members express their baptismal vows through a life of concentrated prayer, reflective study and personal service.

The Community is open to any person over the age of 21, single or partnered, who seeks to live their life according to the Gospel. The expectation is that any relationship is based on fidelity and integrity.

Professed members are expected to help to financially support the Community. They recognize some members can not contribute much because of their circumstances, and others contribute more. They say no one is pressured to contribute funds, and everyone’s contributions are held in strict confidence.

According to the Community’s website, members are encouraged to grow into the disciple of tithing, but it is primarily directed toward the member’s local parish or cause that further the love and compassion of Christ. Members are responsible for their own vestments, books, travel and communication expenses.

The official prayer book of the Community is based on the Book of Common Prayer of the Church, but members select the prayer book of their choice for personal use.

And all members are considered to be under continuous formation and assigned a formation guide who assists the member with his or her formation.

Now that Mortimer is professed, he is responsible for designing and fulfilling their annual formation plan.

Members of the Community are free to use neck crosses, prayer shawls and stoles. Their main habit they say is the external behavior they exhibit toward others and toward themselves in keeping with the love of Christ in their hearts. Local parish customs and special celebrations may permit the wearing of celebration vestments, which include an alb, cincture, and scapular. While members of the Community wear no distinguishable clothing in public, they ask members to dress simply in keeping with their value of simplicity.

An Anglican from birth, Mortimer’s spiritual formation is rooted in the parish church of Holy Cross in Highbury Park, where he presently serves as a lay minister and a leader with the Scout Troop.

He began his studies with CG in January 2019, which entailed both distance learning and on-campus instruction, which took place at annual convocations and regional retreats.

Although still a monastic order, the Community is not based exclusively on any one major tradition, as with the Franciscan or Benedictine Orders but there are parallels – much of the prayer life is based on the Benedictine tradition; the aspects of study are somewhat Dominican; and the life of service is similar to the Franciscan or Jesuit Order.