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The Constitution of the Community of Celebration states that its aim is to be "a sign of the celebration of life in Jesus Christ, and a friend of the poor and oppressed". We recognise that we cannot definitively live the life of Jesus Christ: his body is infinite in its variety and creative expression. But we are a sign; we seek to manifest through our own community life the vivaciousness and aliveness of God's Spirit as it has been revealed to us in Jesus. Nor can we identify with the poor and oppressed, in the sense of becoming one with them. Our access to the sources of power precludes us from that, however much we try to divest ourselves of the trappings of wealth. But we can be a friend to them; we can discover Jesus in them.

Words like "sign" and "friend" imply something less definitive than a specific objective in ministry. There are many ways to be a sign or a friend, and it is important for us to be able to adapt and be flexible. Yet at the same time our life together is intentional. It is not haphazard, left to individual interpretation: we have a common purpose. For that reason our life is also governed by a Rule. A Rule of Life is not the same thing as a law. A law is prescriptive, defining conditions and boundaries, often with sanctions for infringement. A Rule of Life is a statement reflecting the understanding which any group of people have concerning what is normal among them.

In order to protect our common life and witness, we therefore live according to a Rule which reflects our understanding of the principles of our life and what is necessary to maintain it. The Rule is not a document which we expect to remain fixed for all time. On the contrary, it is a living instrument, a source of inspiration and subject of constant study, reflection and prayer. Its value and power depend on its ability to act as a lens which gives us an authentic interpretation of life as we experience it and as God is currently leading us. We expect it to be refined and modified as times change, fresh insights arise and usage (e.g. in language) develops. But the spirit of the Rule will, we trust, continue from one generation to another.

In addition to a Rule for ourselves, we encourage our Companions to adopt their own Rule. This will be different from ours, because they are not sharing an intentional common life. Yet they also participate in the spirit of the Community of Celebration by their association with us. By following their own Rule, they too can be intentional: living by the spirit of the Community in the world and sharing with us a relationship of fellowship and mutual support.


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