What is a Franciscan Methodist?

You may have been wondering about the title of my blog. In the Fall of 2002, I went to the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN for a campus visit. I was immediately struck by the beauty of the campus and the kindness of the people. I decided to study business at Saint Francis, but as it tends to be with God, my study included a discovery. Not only did I learn much about myself, I also learned about what it meant to me to be a “Wesleyan Methodist” on a Catholic campus.
On my first day on campus, I stood outside the small chapel debating whether I should enter or not for Mass, as I had never been to a Catholic Mass before. A short, yet kind, nun, dressed in brown, greeted me. I asked her if I could join the time of prayer, not feeling comfortable calling it a Mass as a Protestant. She replied, “Yes, of course, and it has air conditioning, so it’s cool in there.” That began a friendship that continues this day with Sister Geraldine Hartke, OSF, who now lives in Mishawaka. The Sisters of Saint Francis live with a contagious joy, one that I imagine Francis himself lived as he shared the Good News of the Gospel.
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I learned more about this person Saint Francis and the sisters who followed his way of life. The Franciscan values of the University are:*
-Reverence the unique dignity of each person
-Encourage a trustful, prayerful community
-Serve one another, society, and the church
-Foster peace and justice
-Respect creation
These values spoke to me and I would later realize that they were consistent with my Wesleyan theology. Wesley was concerned with both personal and social holiness. He cared about peace and justice, creation, prayer, service, and experiencing God’s grace. I sense the grace, love, and kindness of Jesus’ Spirit in both Wesley and Francis.
As I discerned my call to ministry within The United Methodist Church, the Sisters of Saint Francis were there for me. They offered their prayers, encouraging words, and listening ear. As I prepared to graduate from college and enter seminary, I wrote an article for the school newspaper calling myself the “Franciscan Methodist”; as one who was Methodist, yet embraced the Franciscan values. The Sisters loved my self-proclaimed title and invited me to fully embrace the spirit of Francis as I began ministry.
I have embraced this call to be a “Franciscan Methodist” pastor. As a symbol of these roots in both Wesley and Francis, as I was ordained two years ago, I wore a San Damino cross around my neck, which is the cross that spoke to Francis in Assisi and is a symbol for the Franciscan Order around the world.
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I continue my ministry today in the spirit of the many saints of the church universal and especially Rev. John Wesley and Saint Francis. I pray that they would be as pleased as the Sisters were of my self-proclaimed title of being the “Franciscan Methodist.”
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10 thoughts on “What is a Franciscan Methodist?

      1. I personally am a professed member of the Company of Jesus (http://www.companyofjesus.org) and have been for the past three years. My Methodist connection is that I’m actually currently in the Candidacy stream in the Virginia Conference. I stumbled across your blog a week or so ago when I randomly Googled “Franciscan Methodist” I figured nothing would come up to be honest… obviously your blog popped up.

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  1. Jason, I wish you well in your journey. My journey toward ordained ministry began when I was in college at the University of Saint Francis. I had many people encouraging me in my journey, from the Franciscan Sisters on campus, the Catholic Chaplain, to many United Methodist pastors, it truly was a community of faith who supported me.
    I’m not familiar with the Company of Jesus. I will look it up. Thanks for sharing and I pray that God will guide you in this wonderful journey of ministry. God’s peace and grace be with you!

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  2. To both Matt and Jason, thank you for your words and recommendations. I too googled “Franciscan Methodist” expecting little but was thrilled to find this. I know there’s a Benedictine Methodist order but my charism is much more consistent with Francis than Benedict…in fact, I think I’m probably more consistently Franciscan than Methodist in the first place. haha.

    Matt, curious if you had any further thoughts on OEF or CJ…I was already looking at OEF’s discernment process but I’d like to check out CJ as well.

    Jason, what’s your experience been with CJ?

    Would love to connect with y’all further!

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    1. Keri – Sorry for the delay in responding.

      I’ve been a member of the Company of Jesus going on four years. Over all I’ve had a very favorable experience with the brothers and sisters who are part of it. I appreciate the fact that the Order exists as it allows me to formally engage in monastic rhythm with like-minded folks. As a side-note just know that CJ is rooted in Anglicanism. Though I wasn’t a Methodist when I joined the Order now that I am Methodist I love it’s thoroughly Anglican… after all, Fr. Wesley was an Anglican, and the Anglican Communion is, in a sense, our spiritual parent.

      You can find us at the website (http://www.companyofjesus.org) as well as on facebook, where we’ve got a page and group.

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      1. Thanks for sharing Keri and Jason. I believe there are more of us out there in Protestant denominations interested in monastic spirituality than we probably think. I have looked into the OEF some, but have not contacted them. They are meeting in the city where I currently serve as pastor, so maybe I will connect with them at some point in the future.

        I will check out The Company of Jesus Community, as I am interested in both the Franciscan and Benedictine orders. I like the idea of embracing both ways of faith and life. I thought the Benedictine Franciscan Methodist might be a bit too long, but I am certainly interested in both. I have continued a relationship with the Episcopal brothers of Saint Gregory’s Abbey in Michigan.

        I wish you both well in your journeys. Grace and peace.

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    1. The Company of Jesus is indeed open to those outside the Anglican tradition. Besides Anglican we’ve got members who are non-denominational, Methodist (like me), and other Protestant denominations.

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