Life in the Order
THE RULE OF THE ORDER OF JACOB’S WELL
THE ORDER OF JACOB’S WELL
The Order of Jacob’s Well is a Christian religious Order founded in Wales, UK, in 1998. We are, before all else, wholeheartedly committed to the way and message of Jesus Christ, the source and model of the church – and the source and perfecter of our faith. We are, before everything, disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the earthing of that commitment we seek to be a teaching and ministering Order of Healing and Wholeness, drawing grace, wisdom and power through the continual maturing in spirit of our Brothers and Sisters who acknowledge that the Holy Spirit enables God to make his home in us through our obedience to him.
Under the oversight of the Christian church, life within the family of the Order revolves around three intimacies; love of God expressed in our worship, love for each other expressed through fellowship and prayer, and love for our mission expressed in a common desire to work with God for the extending of the kingdom.
ARCHBISHOP ROWAN’S CHARGE
“We give thanks to God that He calls and equips His children to minister in His name. Some are called and empowered to minister in special ways under the authority of the Church of God.
By the gifting and authority that God gives to His Church we inaugurate this Order, known as the Order of Jacob’s Well to be an instrument of ministry in the Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ called us to go out, teach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick.
Those who have been called to serve in oversight of the Order, we commission you to seek out those who express a calling to the Christian Healing Ministry, to test that calling and to encourage, teach and uphold them in your prayers.
You are to seek out those whose lives are centred on Christ, having hospitable hearts that are open to the Bible and to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, encouraging those gifts and ensuring through your teaching that the maintenance of their discipleship is of the utmost importance.
May all that you do strengthen the Body of Christ and may all your work be to the glory of God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen”
Rowan Williams, Emeritus Archbishop of Canterbury.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten , not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the scriptures, he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
STRUCTURE AND HIERARCHY:
The Elders of the Order are encouraged to meet twice yearly in convocation; Convocations being convened by one Elder acting as Secretary. Such Convocations take place under the Chairmanship of the Prior or Sub-Prior. These meetings are opportunities for the Order’s Elders to be appraised of mission progress, to pray together for the Order, and to consider its well-being and the spiritual well-being of its members.
OFFICE OF PRIOR AND SUB PRIOR
These offices are appointed by the simple majority vote of all Elders. Their appointment is to last a minimum of five years. After that time they may retire from that office, but only after Elders have proposed one or more candidates for the re-occupation of the office, allowing further elections to take place. Such elections occur in Convocation by a simple show of hands.
Elders are appointed by invitation only, by the Priors together with three other Elders who are themselves regular Convocation delegates. They are to accept the Charge as direct instruction to them from the leadership of the universal church. Under that Charge, Elders are people of initiative, overseeing the detailed mission of the Order through their authority.
Nomination to the Eldership of the Order is through the majority vote of local Well members.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS
These are the members of the Order, appointed by invitation only, those showing a calling of the Holy spirit to the life and work of the Order, as well as possessing such other gifts and talents as the Convocation generally determine are required for this position. Invitations to join the Brethren of the Order are issued solely by the Priors, but only on the willing advice and recommendation of two other Elders.
Brothers and Sisters may be invited from existing Well membership; or directly from the church membership at large, as either Prior or Sub-Prior and the two Elders concerned might determine.
Brothers and Sisters are elected for life. The Priors and Elders in convocation may invite, discipline or exclude on consideration of any behaviour inappropriate to the Rule and good reputation of the Order.
These are those already Licensed into membership before the implementation of this Rule. No new Licensed members are accepted after implementation of this Rule.
APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
The Order does not accept direct applications to membership of the fraternity of the Order. Brothers, Sisters, and Elders are elected as above through invitation only. Those expressing a calling to our ministry may be encouraged to join or to form Wells as the Priors and Elders determine and govern.
These are subdivisions of the Order, communities within the community, teaching and practising the healing ministry of Christ to the glory of God. Each Well is under the supervision of an Elder, himself or herself being a regular member of the Convocation.
PROGRAMME FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
All members of the Order’s fraternity are committed to involvement in such programmes, these being defined by Elders and agreed in Convocation.
GENERAL APPROACH TO HEALING THEOLOGY:
BASIS OF THEOLOGICAL APPROACH WITHIN the ORDER:
Brothers and Sisters are aware of their calling to imitate Christ, as any apprentice is trained to imitate the works and skills of the master. So, in obedience to that call, the Brothers and Sisters of the Order seek, pray and study to understand from Scripture both the characteristics of Christ and those of his healing ministry, and to see them as reflections of will from the perfect image of the invisible God.
THE ORDER UNDERSTANDS:
That Jesus Christ alone is the perfect theology.
That Christ taught the kingdom of God as a place of restoration, and that the signs and wonders of that kingdom were brought into reality in God’s proving of that teaching.
That the victorious work of the cross is complete and sufficient, that the proclamation of its message in the world, and the disciples resulting role in the extension of the kingdom, is of paramount importance.
That the earliest church relied only on the doctrine of Atonement and the fact of Resurrection, and that Godly healing ministry should be centred around those two.
BASIS OF MINISTRY
The Order seeks to teach and to minister as Jesus taught his followers, rather than using any styles and methods that have grown from that fundamental base. The focus of the Order’s teachings and ministries is to be found in the proclaiming of the good news of the kingdom, the message of the cross of Christ, its grace and its benefits, and the giving of glory and thanksgiving to God for its work and for all that flows from it.
LIFE IN THE ORDER:
RULES FOR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Brothers and sisters of the Order of Jacob’s Well are to:
Seek to become, with the help of God, imitators of Christ.
Be subject to the teaching and encouragement of the Order and the policies of its Elders in Convocation.
Participate in personal Programs of Professional Development as determined by, and agreed with, Elders in convocation.
Centre their ministry to others around the character of Christ, the message of the cross, the Gifts of Calvary and the Holy spirit.
Understand their work relationship with God. Brethren seek to fulfil the humble role of carrying Jesus into a broken world. In this partnership we proclaim and he heals in response.
Be obedient. Obedience, in the understanding of religious Orders, is something born out of listening to God, to his revealed word and to his people. Brothers and Sisters are to listen to the Elders of the Order, and all Brethren to the wounded children of God wherever paths cross. Elders are to listen to and instruct Brothers and Sisters so as to enable them to become more effective in carrying out the Daily Vow of the Order.
Develop their prayer life in the particular area of thanksgiving, giving honour and glory to God.
Renew, daily, the Order’s promises to God to minister his kingdom to the wounded where paths cross.
Study the gospels, and discuss them with others, to seek to arrive at greater depths of faith
Grow in their awareness of the working relationship between mankind and God’s kingdom.
Seek and maintain a relationship that offers spiritual direction, either from inside or outside the Order, so that their spiritual life and integrity is kept healthy.
Exercise deeds by grace out of faith, both communally and individually.
LIFE IN THE WELLS:
DEFINITION OF A WELL
A Well is a community where Christians come to listen: to listen to God, to listen to Scripture, to listen to each other and to listen to the needs of God’s wounded people, in and through the lifestyle of the community.
It is a place to study and practice the Healing Ministry of Christ; a safe place to fail, a place of love and blessing and refreshment where people may quietly bathe in God’s love for them, and in the love of their fellow Order members.
It is a place of prayer for each other and trust in each other, a place where the precious gifts of inner joy and beauty can be sought and found.
RESPONDING TO GOD’S SUMMONS
The Order has a summons from God to hear and to respond to what God says, rather than to hear oneself and respond to self. Obedience, as commonly understood in the religious Order tradition, is the outward manifestation of the inward giving up on one’s own self-centredness.
The local Well and its activities are where Brothers and Sisters listen to the wounded and apply the message of the cross, the Gifts of Calvary, and the Word of love experienced in forgiveness and healing.
Well activities are determined by Elders and Brethren together and may differ in style and frequency depending on the needs of the locality. Time in a local Well is set aside for prayer and for study so that its members may advance in their service to God.
PRAYER AND PRAISE:
DAILY VOW OF THE ORDER
Every day, every Brother and sister of the Order, individually or together with whatever Elders may be present, are to repeat aloud the following Daily Vow:
“To the one true Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I/we declare afresh that I/we will this day minister your grace to the sick and needy, and to boldly proclaim cross and kingdom anywhere you ordain along the path.
I/We will do the utmost to demolish every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and strive this day towards a pure and holy life. Amen”
THE ORDER’S RESPONSIVE PRAYER
At the beginning of every formal meeting of the Order where an elder is present, other than healing services, that elder should lead those gathered with The Order’s Responsive Prayer:
The Order’s Responsive Prayer:
Leader: May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which he has called us, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
A Reader: The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
All: We praise the God of Israel.
Leader: Our Father has been pleased to give us the kingdom
All: For our sake!
Leader: Jesus has sacrificed his life, the Well-Beloved,
All: For our sake!
Leader: He is risen, the Well-Beloved,
All: For our sake!
Leader: He is praying, the Well-Beloved,
All: For our sake!
Leader: Our Father offers generously to all of us,
All: Without finding fault.
Leader: The Son of God, Jesus Christ, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.”
All: No matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
Leader: The son can do nothing by himself;
All: He and the Father are one.
Leader: He does not withhold his grace,
All: For our sake!
Leader: There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
All: The holy place where the Most High dwells.
Leader: By the river of grace stands the tree of life,
All: the leaves of the tree are for healing.
Leader: Everything is possible for him who believes.
All: We do believe; help us to overcome our unbelief!
Leader: Thank you, Father that Jesus has taken all our pain and carried all our sickness.
All: And by his wounds we are healed.
Leader: Glory be to the Father, and to the son, and to the Holy spirit.
All: As it was in the beginning is now and shall be forever. Amen