Excerpts curated and presented by Evan McGillivray and Robyn de Klerk
In 1917, during a series of lectures, Rudolf Steiner said, “It ought to be clear that religion in its vital life, its living practice within the human community, enkindles the spirit-consciousness of the soul. If the spirit-consciousness is to be quickened within the human being, he cannot stop short at abstract ideas of God or Christ, but must ever anew be engaged in religious practices and activities which in different people may take different forms; he must live in a religious atmosphere, in a religious milieu which speaks to him”.
After attending a Students Conference in the spring of 1921 some of the students discovered that they had the same question on their minds. In a little café one of them produced a transcript which had been made of the series of lectures in Berlin on “Cosmic and Human Metamorphosis”. The spark flashed and set minds ablaze. It was decided there and then to approach Steiner with a short memorandum. “We, the undersigned, are convinced that the unfolding of Spirit-consciousness is what humanity today is wanting above all to achieve; and we are convinced moreover that ‘religion in its vital life, in its living practice within the social life, enkindles Spirit-consciousness’”. This document, in which the historian will not fail to recognize the great reserve and respect with which these young people approached Rudolf Steiner, was the first formulated initiative towards that which in due course was born as The Christian Community.
Rudolf Steiner responded at once. Many revolutionary points were put forward with complete matter of factness. The Movement should form free congregations, women were to work on a basis of complete equality with men, the sacramental Mysteries of Christianity were to be renewed. Rudolf Steiner gave the name “The Christian Community” to the new Movement. He said “The name must be simple and challenging”. He also gave the name to the new Communion Service: The Act of Consecration of Man. All this was given with the greatest naturalness in a few sentences.
During the following winter 1921-1922 an event of supreme importance put the whole enterprise on a safe basis. Dr Friedrich Rittelmeyer resolved to throw in his lot with the new Movement.
In August 1922 a much sifted and reduced group gathered for a final retreat on the shores of lake Ammersee at the foot of the Bavarian Alps. On the 4th September the final number of 45 founders crossed the lake at sunrise in little boats to catch the early train which would bring them to Dornach. It was a crossing of the Rubicon. On the 16th September 1922 the first celebration of the Act of Consecration of Man was completed and we have since counted this day as the birthday of The Christian Community.
On the first Sunday in Advent 1922 the Act of Consecration of Man was celebrated in a number of towns for the first time in public. Now the community had to make its way.
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