Each year at Annual Conference, you may see people in albs (white or flax colored wrap-around robes) with bright red scapulars (aprons), especially during a worship service which includes Holy Communion. These helpers are members of the IGRC Chapter of the Order of Saint Luke (OSL). OSL was founded in 1946 by members of the Methodist Church (a predecessor body to The United Methodist Church) and continues today as a religious order dedicated to sacramental and liturgical scholarship, education, and practice. The moving and sustaining force of OSL is the vision of John and Charles Wesley who sought to bring about a revival within the Church that was sacramental as well as evangelical.
While the Order of Saint Luke was formed to bring about a recovery of the worship and sacramental practice which has sustained the Church since its formation in apostolic times, it also seeks to help the Church rediscover the spiritual disciplines of the Wesleys as a means of perceiving and fulfilling the mission for which the Church was formed.
At Annual Conference, OSL has traditionally been responsible for setting up the communion elements, recruiting and equipping servers, and properly caring for leftover elements following the service. OSL also traditionally offers early morning Eucharistic (Holy Communion) services in the prayer room. With the changes in the Annual Conference schedule this year, those services will be offered on Thursday morning in the prayer room and on Friday morning during the OSL breakfast. Those not registered for breakfast are still welcome to join the group for Eucharist in the room where the breakfast is held. On Saturday morning, OSL encourages everyone to participate in the Community Prayer Breakfast at Bethel UMC, so no Eucharistic service will be held.
Membership in the Order is open to Christian laypersons, seminarians, and clergy, regardless of denomination. While membership is in the General Chapter of OSL, regional gatherings at several IGRC locations meet monthly except for December and the summer months for fellowship, Morning Prayer, a book study, and Eucharist.
For more information, or if you are interested in becoming a member, feel free to visit the OSL display or talk to any OSL member at Annual Conference, or to contact Prior Beth Fender, firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-529-2611; or Sub-Prior Mick Laflin, email@example.com or 618-592-3217.