A little about St. Francis Church of Holy Light
St Francis Church of Holy Light (SFCHL) takes as its exemplar the early Gnostic’s who shaped traditional Christian spirituality. These early Christian’s recognized that they stood on the shoulders of all who had come before them. As a result Gnosticism was founded on the wisdom of the past as it strived to lean into the future.
Gnostics were the antithesis of a literalist Roman Catholic Church which Constantine formed in his own image as he proclaimed himself Holy Roman Emperor. Early Gnostic’s viewed the Roman Catholic Church as a fallible human conception. Gnostics shone light on the opulent and decadent life style of Roman Catholic Bishops as proof of their lack of gnosis.
Gnosticism is the mystical arm of Christianity . Mysticism is the search for the Divine within one’s self. For Gnostics self-knowledge was revealed by the Christ within through gnosis. Knowledge of the Christ introduces us to the Divine essence which lives within all creation. The Gnostic path is a path of direct enlightenment or direct experience. This experience is personal and cannot really be communicated to others with words. This is the Divine essence of direct experience. The literalist Roman Catholic Church who held the reins of power felt threatened by anything that could undermine their authority through direct experience of the Divine. As more and more people began to follow the Gnostic path the Roman Catholic Church felt increasingly threatened and responded with propaganda, heresiology and inqusitions. However as we all know you cannot kill an idea. Especially an idea whose time has come. Once again the time for a Gnostic renascence has arrived. We Gnostics are still here. We are meeting again as diverse peoples of Mother Earth who seek freedom and liberation of the Divine spark which lives within each and every one of us.
As we move forward SFCHL offers a place to gather and live as equals within our given state of grace. We strive to advance the life of Christhood and to live in communion with the natural world. We seek to avoid monetary regimes of governance and pursue resource leadership systems based on consensual egalitarianism.
St Francis Church of Holy Light does not therefore levy monetary systems which are based on competition and confrontation. We choose rather to promote resource based systems of collaboration and cooperation. We are a recognized charity with Revenue Canada and donations we receive go directly to those in need. Because we choose to avoid the trappings of organized religion we are self-sustaining. We respond not to a church of mortar, brick and glass, but to a temple of the mind, heart and soul of the Holy Spirit.
When we gather for liturgical celebrations we do so outdoors around a sacred fire. The grass becomes our carpet. The trees become our walls. The clouds become our frescos. All the sights, sounds, smells and beauty of the natural world become a gift offered to us by the Creator. A temple which all of creation has been invited to share with one another. It is from this position of equality that all peoples are invited to participate in the life of St Francis Church of Holy Light regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation.
ABOUT TAU DAVID DESCHAMBAULT
As a fellow seeker I attended St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Seminary from 1988 to 1991. After completing my studies I was accepted by the Bishop for ordination. However after much prayer and discernment I declined ordination. As much as I was convinced that I had been called to the seminary I was also convinced that I was not being called to the Priesthood as it existed at that time. However I continued to feel that I was being called to a life of service.
After working twenty seven years with the marginalized in the fields of addictions, mental health and the criminal justice systems I once again felt the call to the Priesthood. However by this time I had been married, divorced and remarried. After all these years had passed I did not understand why God was once again calling. I only know that when God calls you have to pay attention. Experience has also told me that if God wants something then nothing is impossible. As a result I was led to an Independent Catholic Church and in 2009 I was ordained a Priest.
I was then assigned to a Parish in Midland, Ontario. As I became more involved within the parish I also became increasingly concerned about its theology. As a result I was offered the opportunity by the Archbishop to establish the new mission of St Francis Church of Holy Light (SFCHL) which was also located in Midland, Ontario. However as time passed I continued to disagree with the church hierarchy and its theology. Over time I visited other Independent Catholic Churches but always found them lacking in vision and temperament. As a result I completely divested from the Independent Catholic Church movement and SFCHL followed me.
St Francis Church of Holy Light Inc. is now an independent other-denominational church with charitable status as recognized by the Canadian Revenue Agency. The ordination counsel of SFCHL has appointed me as its Bishop and as we move forward SFCHL will continue to become more liberal and progressive in both theology and practice. We are open to everyone regardless of their race, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation or sexual variance. We are still located in Midland, Ontario in the region of Huronia which is also the traditional hunting grounds of the Metis people who settled in this area after the war of 1812. Historically these Metis citizens are known as Drummond Islanders which are my ancestors and heritage.
As a result St Francis Church of Holy Light is now openly gnostic and completely supports the rich cultural diversity of Huronia. Therefore as quickly as I was installed Bishop I accepted the title of Tau and put to rest the designation of bishop. This new privilege of Tau has become a more accurate embodiment of who I am humanly and spiritually. Tau simple means “Elder”. As an elder I am simply a custodian and servant of the people who are the real body of Christ.
This has been my journey of gnosis. As the life of the church has evolved I have evolved with it. My prayer is that both traditional aboriginal and gnostic paths of gnosis become a beacon of light which SFCHL helps to cast upon Mother Earth. My hope is that as more of us make this journey the eyes of humanity may be opened so all will be awakened. Whether this happens individually or collectively is the responsibility of all of us.
Tau David Deschambault