What is the CMHC? The initials stand for the Congregation of the Most Holy Creator, which is an Independent Orthodox Franciscan Missionary Order. The CMHC was founded in 1946. The CMHC was founded by clergy from the Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Oriental Orthodox traditions and backgrounds. The catechism we use is from the Russian Catechism. We use the life and ways of Saint Francis of Assisi as our model for our ministry and missions. Saint Francis of Assisi is often known as “the lover of all creation”.
While we do share some aspects and beliefs of both the Orthodox and Roman Churches, we are truly an independent jurisdiction also known as an “autocephalous” or “self-governed” church. While we recognize our brother and sister clergy and religious from the Orthodox, Roman and Anglican Communion we have no formal contracts with them due to our extremely small size and mission focus. We have always and will continue to work very closely with many of the Protestant and Independent Churches as One Body of Christ. It is our mission to bring the Word of God, His Peace, and Love, to all people in an inclusive and loving manner. Where the traditions and dogma are not used to exclude people, but to truly serve our sisters and brothers where they are at, for who they are.
As with the Oriental Orthodox Church we are a church of the three councils, in other words our beliefs and teachings are based on the works of the first three truly ecumenical councils.
As with Saint Francis we were founded to “rebuild my church” often times that means that we have to apologize for the way Christian Churches have treated some people because the dogma and traditions were more important that the people themselves.
We currently have The Abbey Church in United States of America. As of November 25th 2012, we closed His Loving Word Parish in Tacoma Washington, due to the lack of clergy in that location. We also closed the St. Anthony Chapter of our Society of Penance, (our lay or third order), in place of that we have recommended that our lay members become active in the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans. We are hoping to continue to be a presence in that area until we can get trained clergy back into the Pacific North West.
If you would like to know more about our hierarchy, follow this link.
Current projects of the CMHC
Besides growing the Abbey Church here in Scottsbluff, our projects are:
1. To continue to partner with other Ministries and Organizations to serve our local community.
2. To purchase some land here in the western panhandle of Nebraska to build our Abbey and a retreat center that will be available to host spiritual and secular retreats for individuals, groups, and corporations. The Abbey will also be a place for an intentional community and for both permanent and temporary residents. We also want to build some transitional housing on the property for those persons in need.
What is an intentional community? An intentional community is a group of people with a common faith in Christ as Lord and Savior that want to come together to live and support not only each other but be actively involved in the larger surrounding community spreading the Word by lifestyle and example.
The Abbey would also be a training center for our missionaries, not only in our theology and ministerial classes but also a strong emphasis on global stewardship and social justice issues. All classes would be available to not only those seeking ordination but our lay-friars and the greater community at large. These issues would be taught through a Franciscan Chartism. This means our focus is through the guidance of St. Francis of Assisi, to be humble servants and stewards of all God’s creation from the earth and all life upon it to our brothers and sisters no matter what faith or denomination they are of.
Our goal is to provide these services in co-operation with the other Churches of the region without government assistance so that the Church has say over how and whom it serves instead of having to follow government guidelines. This is not to exclude anyone but to open our services for those that are truly in need of them but do not qualify under current government standards.
We are not looking to compete with the Churches in the region but to work with them as a source for the greater good of our community at large.
Friar Fr. Aj Severns, Brother Abbott, CMHC was ordained to the priesthood as friar on May 6th, 1986 and was consecrated Brother Juniper, Arch-Abbott of the Americas, and Shepard for the CMHC on December 28th, 1998. Currently serves as Pastor of The Abbey Church, Scottsbluff, NE
Message From The Order
We are an open, affirmative, welcoming, friendly, reassuring, casual, and fun place for you to worship and socialize, whether you are part of the Straight or LGBTQ community, divorced or any other reason that you can no longer receive all of the Rites or Sacraments or be a fully active member. While it is true that many of the members of our church have left other churches for one reason or another we are open and accepting to all persons, and all people are able to participate fully in our Rites and Sacraments.
This is our chance to bring you back into your faith and spirituality, perhaps you’ve been hurt or disenfranchised or just been away from God.
Come join us Sunday’s at 1 p.m. for our weekly Liturgy or Service, which are held at the First Christian Church (DOC) 2102 Ave. A., Scottsbluff, NE 69361
We are not a member of First Christian Church or the Disciples of Christ Denomination, but they have been generous to let us share their facilities with them for our ministry.