Relationship and Intimacy
St. Julian’s will be a vital growing parish of the Episcopal Church, and though growing to a point of achieving financial independence and parish status, there remains a deep sense of family and intimacy among those who call St. Julian’s home. These spiritual friendships are fostered through opportunities in many appropriate settings and contexts to share our stories with one another…such that we can say, “We truly know others even as we are deeply known.” Moreover, opportunities for adults and children to break bread together abound as a community of the whole and in more intimate settings. The welcome, grace and generosity shared at Christ’s altar extends to all table fellowship shared in the community. St. Julian’s is known as a place were the people really know each other, like each other, cry together, celebrate together…and all with great dignity and humor.
Rule of Life
The people of St. Julian’s are considered a people marked by mission and who live with a purpose. This sense of direction and meaning is fostered by a shared purpose, vision, mission, core values and rule of life that are written on the hearts of those who call St. Julian’s home. Almost all at St. Julian’s know our rule of life and keep it close as a constant spiritual practice that deepens ones intimacy with God in Christ individually and, as we share in the rule together, creates a deep bond of affection between participants in our church. St. Julian’s is known as a community of intentionality, which holds together both celebration and discipline.
Jesus’ groundbreaking definition of neighbor as anyone in need without exception is demonstrated in the building of a church facility that has become truly the heart of the community in which St. Julian’s is settled. From this facility and the time and talent of an empowered laity flows a robust Outreach Ministry that seeks to love well, in particular, God’s beloved in any kind of need or trouble. Those who arrive on Sunday morning are truly welcomed as they are, and systems exist to help them come to know and be known at St. Julian’s, which ultimately leads to finding their own ministry. That welcome on Sunday extends through the week, as people in the community know that St. Julian’s is a place one can go to receive support and encouragement when in need. Moreover, St. Julian’s is considered a great partner in the community because we willingly and strategically partner with organizations in the community that share our values to further together the building of God’s kingdom.
In the spirit of St. Julian’s monastic life, St. Julian’s functions in a new model of monasticism that creates safe space for rest, renewal and healing for both those who worship at St. Julian’s and the larger community around us. This is lived out in a campus that has dedicated space for prayer inside and outside that people can enter at anytime, a vibrant community garden, a healing and recovery ministry, and regular retreats, workshops and seminars that provide insight and wisdom on topics from ethics and theology to finances and healthcare to addiction and recovery to scripture study and prayer to sexuality and healthy relationships. These offerings will not only be extended to adults but there will be particular attention given to the care of the souls of our youth and children. So people can heal, rest and renew and then be equipped to move back out into the world a agents of Christ’s compassion and love.
If St. Julian’s were to “disappear overnight”, it would be deeply missed. And the reason for this is the sanctuary mentioned above is extended not only to St. Julian’s participants but the community at large. St. Julian’s intentionally works to invite the larger community to learn alongside us, including our interfaith partners, and truly all at St. Julian’s are blessed by the stories and experiences of neighbors not associated with St. Julian’s. St. Julian’s is also known as a community that works beyond its own doors in transformative ways with partner organizations seeking justice for all. Moreover, St. Julian’s has intentionally designed its campus including its worship space for community use, therefore St. Julian’s is often used for concerts, art shows, classes of various kinds including music, cooking, gardening, fine and visual arts…and all for adults and children.
Discernment and Mentorship
The Christian journey is chiefly traveled as a community, with partners and spiritual friends who offer us support, counsel…someone to celebrate with, cry with, and hold us accountable as we become more and more the people God is calling us to be. To this end, St. Julian’s has embraced a ministry of discernment that gathers partners who are on similar paths to discern together and individually where God is leading. These “discernment groups” meet around a multiple and really unlimited number of topics including career and vocation, ministry in the church, ordination, loss and grief, school and college, parenting, retirement and aging and many, many other topics. At St. Julian’s we discern God’s will as revealed in community. In addition to discernment, mentorship is important to the people of St. Julian’s. Partnering adults with children and youth to share wisdom and advice as new waters are charted and adults with other adults who are going through various life transitions or other spiritual crisis. We appreciate the wisdom bearers and experienced members of the congregation who have served alongside us for many years and feel they have much to share. We together are the church.
The ministry of the Baptized at St. Julian’s is a first order ministry. The laity at St. Julian’s are equipped to know their gifts for ministry, grow in those gifts and then given opportunities to lead in ministries well served by their gifts and talents. This is not limited to adults. Children and youth are, as baptized ministers of the church, leaders in all aspects of community life from worship to education to outreach to various forms of parish leadership. Leaders at St. Julian’s are given the grace to risk and fail, think outside the box…while at the same time being held gracefully accountable to giving their very best for God’s work in the church. The staff and clergy at St. Julian’s role then is primarily to support the ministry of the laity and provide all resources necessary to carry out their bold vision. To that end, St. Julian’s is known in the larger church as innovative, creative and led by the people of St. Julian’s.
St. Julian’s exists on 15 acres of land in the Brushy Creek area at the confluence of Austin, Cedar Park and Round Rock. Space exists for worship, prayer and contemplation inside and outside. Gardens for prayer, remembering the faithfully departed and growing produce are at the center of the campus and used by St. Julian’s participants and the community at large. The buildings are built with care given to the environment including the use of renewable energy. They are aesthetically pleasing, with the look of the hill country but undoubtedly being sacred space. Buildings can also be used in multiple ways to support a variety of programming and ministry. The campus is often full during the week in addition to Sunday with laughing children, people in classes or receiving prayer or other counsel or services needed. The wedding bells are often ringing and the waters of baptism are often being parted and all with space left over for the community to discern the possibility of adding new ministries such as a school, clinic, outreach center or other missionary extensions of the church.