We are so glad you found us. Our story is basically one of gratitude that we have found each other in this place called “Sts. Clare & Francis.” We identified ourselves as Catholics, AND we hoped for a church where everyone was welcome regardless of gender, race, marital status, sexual orientation, etc. to fully participate. We wanted a church where all the members, not just the clergy, had a voice and a way to serve.
We discovered each other and decided to form a parish together beginning in the fall of 2004. We chose the name “Sts. Clare & Francis” to emphasize gender equity and to appeal to the great Franciscan tradition of living of the gospel simply and of reforming the Church by modeling something different.
Coming here involved a choice. Some people don’t like what is going on in their church, but they feel that being faithful means sticking it out, that they should fight for change or wait for change. We are making a different choice. We are not rebelling. We are building. We are building an expression of the Church that we can be proud of.
We are not building alone and we are not building outside the Catholic tradition. We are not “making up our own Church.” We are a part of dozens of parishes across the US who together form the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, or ECC, gathered around a bishop who is in the apostolic line of succession of bishops who in 1870 chose not to accept papal infallibility and the universal jurisdiction of the pope; we celebrate the same seven sacraments. For more information about the ECC, we invite you to explore the Communion’s website.
Many people have felt they “found home” at Sts. Clare & Francis. A young woman who experienced a call to ministry ever since she was a little girl was ordained to the priesthood on September 7, 2007 and served as our associate pastor until early 2014. A talented lawyer, who is theologically educated, wanted a place where lay leadership is embraced; he serves as chancellor of the national church and preaches frequently at mass. A lesbian couple used to “go to church with bags over our heads” for many years; Sts. Clare & Francis is a place where they feel they can be themselves; now, bags-no-more, they are greeters. Many former priests who left the ministry because of the celibacy rule have found a place in the ECC. Our pastor, Frank Krebs, is such a priest. Divorced persons, persons who want to see women’s perspectives celebrated, persons who want to see a church where everyone is engaged and decisions are made collegially; all of these are welcome. It’s not as if everyone were welcome, but instead everyone actually is.
We want to be a viable, visible option, a kind of model that shows graphically how it can be done differently. We want to open the eyes of St. Louis to a different way of being a follower in Christ within the Catholic tradition. We believe that if we are more visible, we can make a bigger difference. So we intend to grow. And you are welcome to be a part as we do!
Click here to download a copy of our Parish Brochure.