Ecumenical Catholicism is one of many expressions of the ancient, undivided and apostolic Catholic faith where the clergy marry, women are ordained, and the Sacraments are available to persons of all orientations!  

Charis is a vibrant new praying community of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. We gather for prayer every week on Sunday mornings at 7117 Washington Ave. South in Edina, MN. Please click here or use the Pray with Us tab to find out about this week’s plans. 

Our community is justice-focused, sacramentally inclusive of all, flexible in guidelines for the Mass and other prayers, and democratic in our leadership at all levels.

Wherever you are on your journey, know that you are wanted and welcome at Charis, the first Ecumenical Catholic Community in Minnesota.

The Mission Statement of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, of which we are a part, reads:

“We are People of God baptized in Christ and professing our faith in a living Catholic tradition. We are men and women, lay and ordained, joining together as a “communion of communities” in response to the messianic call of the Spirit to preach the Gospel of liberation and justice; to offer a refuge in Christ for those who suffer prejudice; to stand open to dialogue with others so called, and to conform our lives to the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Our expression of Catholicism offers:

Worship That’s Both Familiar and Creative Centered in the Eucharist with creative inclusive prayer that keeps Mass fresh and with thoughtful reflections by lay and ordained leaders that connect the Gospel to our place and time.

Collaborative, Justice-focused Leadership Lay and ordained members in community, diocesan, and national structures that are democratically led.

A Place of Integrity to Call Home A praying community keeping pace with social change that recognizes the full dignity of all persons regardless of gender or orientation.


Charis is incorporated under the name the Ecumenical Catholic Communion Twin Cities, a name that predates the community choice of the current name. We are in the process of updating our state and federal paperwork. 


What are Ecumenical Catholic Churches?

We are independent Catholic faith communities in that we are not under the jurisdiction of the Pope nor are we subject to the canon law or the guidelines of the Roman Catholic Church.

We share common roots of the same Bishop, The Most Reverend Francis Krebs, also the Pastor of  Saints Clare and Francis Ecumenical Catholic Church, located in the city of Webster Grove, MO. Though we also share a common Catholic theology and liturgical tradition, we differ significantly in many of the disciplines and rules that govern the Roman Catholic Church. Take a look at the Distinctives for specific details.

How is the ECC “catholic?”
We uphold our catholic tradition with respect to the following principles:

  • The teachings and person of Jesus Christ
  • The New Testament
  • The Nicene Creed
  • The Sacramental & Liturgical tradition practiced
  • Apostolic Tradition and Succession affirmed

Our Communion unites authentic Catholic faith communities that stretch across the United States. We are a communion of communities which are ecumenical and catholic in that we celebrate a characteristically Catholic faith tradition that is not sectarian.

We share a common theology and liturgical tradition with the Catholic Church. Our deacons, priests and bishops participate in the same historic apostolic succession as do the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and other apostolic Churches. We share the same historical developments as Western Christianity.

We trace our modern roots to the emergence of the Old Catholic movement which began in 1870 as a response to the first Vatican Council’s pronouncement of Papal Infallibility and the primacy of papal jurisdiction.

For more detailed information, see Distinctives.

What does the word “ecumenical” mean?
We understand the word ecumenical, as it is expressed within our ecclesial community, in four ways:

  • We recognize that the body of Christ, the Universal Church, includes all baptized Christians regardless of denominational affiliation. All those who have followed the Lord Jesus in baptism are regarded as members of the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”
  • We are actively engaged in promoting Christian unity. Therefore, we seek to join together with all of our Christian brothers and sisters in the proclamation of the Gospel, in the celebration of the liturgy and the realization of the life of Christ.
  • We recognize the presence of the Spirit at work throughout the world in the faith experience of people of other religions. We recognize the divine presence in every human heart, believing that all people are the beloved of God. Therefore, we seek mutual understanding and respect with those of other religions through dialogue and we seek mutual cooperation in the endeavor for peace and justice in our world.
  • Webster defines it as universal.

Does the ECC support the ordination of women to the ministerial priesthood and why?
Absolutely! In the ECC, women are encouraged to respond to a genuine vocation and to participate in all levels of ministry, lay or ordained. As St. Paul writes: “there is neither jew nor greek, slave nor free, male nor female, all are one in Christ Jesus.”

See our statements Co-equal Ministry and the Pastoral Letter on Women’s Ordination

What is the ECC’s understanding of same-gender sexual relationships?
We are an open and affirming communion recognizing the value and dignity of every person, in our God-given diversity. We promote the education and development of the People of God in their understanding of the diversity of sexual orientation among their brothers and sisters. All sexual relationships are to be guided by the Christian moral principals of love and fidelity. We uphold the ideal of committed relationships blessed by the sacred rites of the church. We believe that all questions of sexual morality are best addressed through pastoral care and counsel.

What is the ECC’s understanding of clerical celibacy?
Clerical celibacy was not a requirement until 1274. In fact, it was enforced for relatively practical reasons: first to ensure that clergy would not be hindered by following a call to ministry with respect to the responsibility of a family; and second, to prevent the threat of hereditary claims placed upon church property, by the children of clergy. Again, we follow the teachings of Jesus and allow individuals to respond to God’s call freely and, therefore, marriage and ordination are not mutually exclusive.

How is the ECC authentically Catholic if it is separate from the authority of the Pope?
We are practicing the original understanding of the Church which existed for the first 800 years of Christianity and still exists in the current Eastern Orthodox tradition. In this ancient understanding of Catholicism, each faith community was led by its bishop and pastoral councils. The people of each local faith community participated in the life of the Church by electing their bishops and taking an active role in the ministry of their faith tradition. The Pope was considered to be a spiritual leader, however, each community upheld the autonomy of its own life and governance. Approval from Rome was not required in the decision-making process of each local church.  Read about our Old Catholic Roots here.

Are the sacraments offered to people of denominations other than Catholic at Mass?
We do not withhold the sacraments from any person based solely on their denomination or faith tradition. For example, we recognize that Jesus is the host of the eucharistic celebration and therefore all are welcome to the table of the Lord!

Who is the governing authority within the ECC?
The People of the ECC are the governing authority! Our constitutional document was ratified by both clergy and lay persons present at our 2003 convocation. This constitution establishes a polity structure including a House of Laity, a House of Pastors and an Episcopal Council – all possessing roles of decision-making and leadership in governing the Communion.  Feel free to view our constitution here.

Pray With Us!

Transformation and Divine Dinner Crashers

“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.”

I love Zacchaeus. I love his eagerness to get a good view of that celebrity prophet strolling through Jericho. I love his startled yet open heart when Jesus announces that he’s inviting himself over. And I love that although he’s someone on the margins, he’s the one in whom Jesus is most interested.

The sinner. The guy who is so unselfconscious about appearances that he’s game to scramble up a tree. The one the neighbors resent. The one who isn’t a good Jew, but in fact an agent of the empire’s fiscal oppression.

He’s the one who gets holy communion?!? I mean, a home visit with Jesus?

This week, the quadrennial “wafer wars” got underway. A Roman Catholic priest decided that Joe Biden, who was spotted just before mass at the top of one of those fantastic North Carolina pine trees with his plaid boxers showing, was too sinful for the eucharist. Writing about the event in the National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters noted: “Nothing so exemplifies the culture warrior approach as the denial of the Eucharist to pro-choice politicians, and that approach has failed as an ecclesial proposition. If the goal was to turn the Catholic Church into an arm of the Republican Party and to cause left-leaning Catholics to find something else to do on a Sunday morning, the approach has succeeded.”  My theological and pastoral reaction to his assessment? Yup.

Pope Francis, aka the Bishop of Rome (an office that Ecumenical Catholics hold in deep respect and reverence), noted that the eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”  If you’re curious about Winter’s very good representation of Roman Catholic Canon Law on the matter (which points to the fact that Joe Biden’s rights as a fully initiated Catholic were violated), click here.

Watching the litmus testing start up again, I can’t help but think of the relationship Jesus had with sinners. So many stories. Which of us gets to throw the first stone? Which of us has the centurion’s humility and need for forgiveness? Which of us, like Zaccheus, would be Jesus’s first choice dining companion? The illustration, above, made me smile. Zacchaeus is in the tree. But so are a lot of other folks!

One of the things I love about the ECC is our welcoming table. We’ll lean on the unreasonable love of God. We have no truck with condemning people who are divorced. Using contraception. Loving someone of he same gender. We’ll just bless the bread and cup, break and pass. In Ecumenical Catholicsm, the doors to the sacraments are wide open. Notes the woman who is ordained a priest.

So, this week is round two of that fabulous invitation: Any sinners out there who get this email are heartily welcome to join us at Mass this Sunday. Prayer will be led by a sinner. Music provided by sinners. Fellowship with happy sinners. St. Ambrose said,  “If, whenever Christ’s blood is shed, it is shed for the forgiveness of sins, I who sin often, should receive it often: I need a frequent remedy.” Well, that would be me and I’m thinking my friend Zacchaeus. Maybe you, too.  Mass is at 11 a.m. at 7117 Washington Ave. South.

In gratitude for your companionship on this journey,
Pastoral Director

An Ecumenical Catholic Community
cháris Χάρις khar’ece

Our name means grace, good will, loving-kindness, favor; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

Independent Catholic 101: What’s this “not Roman” thing all about?

Do you feel pretty Catholic but not very Roman any more? Do you know that there are Catholic churches that embrace the beauty and practices of the ancient Tradition but also have kept pace with the “signs of the times?” They make up an independent sacramental movement that’s gaining momentum across the United States.
Join the Charis Ecumenical Catholic Community for our monthly Potluck Community night to hear more about the ECC and the movement as a whole. We are a completely inclusive community where no one is excluded from the sacraments. A safe place. The open, thinking, healing, welcoming faith community you may be looking for this Advent and Christmas. It’s a potluck, so RSVP to community@charisecc.org or here on meetup. For more information, visit www.charisecc.org.
Regular Sunday Mass is at 11 a.m. at 7117 Washington Ave. South on the EP/Edina border.