Worship at the Heart: The PAX Community Celebrates 25 Years
When a community remains vigorous after 25 years, celebrations are in order. We know of such a community now planning its silver jubilee and reflecting on the lessons learned in the past quarter-century.
PAX (Pilgrims After Christ) began in the heart of a Catholic parish in Northern Virginia. For more than a decade, their worship time coincided with the 9:30 Sunday morning Eucharist of the larger Catholic community. Liturgical celebration continues to occupy the central place in PAXs life in the years since they became independent from the parish.
The community has maintained an essentially lay quality. In selecting their eucharistic celebrants from among ordained clergy, the community approves (or disapproves) their aptitude to lead it in worship. This process has taught PAX that all ministers do not fit with the communitys style or theology. Even with the ordained clergy who do fit, frequent turnover provides a healthy mixture of personalities and gifts for the assembly.
The PAX community has never taken a corporate stand on any political question, despite prodding from some within their ranks and from some clergy who celebrate with them. The consensus within PAX has always dictated that it be as inclusive as possibletheologically and politically. Still, thanks to frequent liturgical themes on a pain-filled world, PAX members show ever increasing concern for the multifold sufferings of people as close to home as Washington, D.C., and as far away as Bosnia. Several "mission groups" have emerged within the PAX community on issues such as homelessness or Central America.