One of my first responsibilities after vacation was making my annual visitation to the Community of Celebration in Aliquippa, PA. I serve as their “bishop visitor” (meaning counselor, encourager, and friend).
Some may know this community better by the name of their music ministry, The Fisherfolk.
Born out of the renewal movement at the Church of the Redeemer in Houston in the 60s and 70s, the community has traveled all over the world and had major presences in England and Scotland as well as several locations here in the States. Now officially recognized as among the Religious Orders and Christian Communities in the Episcopal Church this mixed, family oriented community takes life vows and their days are marked by Morning, Noonday, and Evening Prayers from the Book of Common Prayer plus a festive, song-filled Eucharist on Saturday afternoons.
Their main ministry is one of presence in a modest to poor neighborhood of Aliquippa, part of the rust belt on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. They provide lower cost housing for a number of families, work to improve the community, partner with the Church Army in ministries such as the “Uncommon Grounds” cafe, and ecumenically with othe Christians to tutor children from neighborhood housing projects, work with a Women’s Project teaching life skills to women from the local prison. A new ministry, Global Outreach in Addiction Leadership (GOAL) seeks to “export” 12 step programs to parts of Africa most effected by HIV/AIDS in an innovative approach to understanding the linkage between these two scourges.
The total commitment of these Christians to the triune God and to each other, their perseverance over many years of ministry, their hospitality to all, and their infectious joy in the Lord humbles me everytime I am with them. Join me in praying for their life and work!