We trace our roots to the late 60s and early 70s — times that, while turbulent, saw God acting in powerful ways. Into those times were born the charismatic renewal and the covenant community movement. To this day, most of our brothers live and serve in Christian communities comprised of families and single men and women sharing a common way of life. We presently number more than 60 men serving in various countries. While the majority of our brothers are from the United States, we also have brothers from England, Ireland, Fiji, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Lebanon and the Philippines.
Our brotherhood was founded in 1971 by Stephen B. Clark, a philosopher, Scripture scholar, and leader in the Cursillo movement and Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. In addition to teaching and writing, Steve has worked with covenant communities world-wide and is a leader in The Sword of the Spirit, an international, ecumenical community of communities to which we belong.
In August 1971, a group of eight single men from the Word of God community in Ann Arbor, Michigan took a 10-day retreat together in Dexter, Michigan. Previously, they had taken a special period of time fasting, praying and talking together about giving themselves to God in a special way. They studied the example of great heroes of the faith–Francis of Assisi, Augustine, Basil and Benedict—and the way they lived poverty, chastity, and obedience in community. Together they set about putting together a set of ideals, and formulated these ideals into a written “covenant”. At the end of the retreat, they each made a temporary commitment to live single for the Lord.
Two and a half years later, in January 1974, five of the original group deepened this commitment while on retreat at the Trappist monastery of Genesee, in western New York State. During that retreat, they voluntarily made a promise to remain single for the Lord for the remainder of their lives and to live together a common life in community. The lifelong nature of the commitment greatly strengthened the fledgling brotherhood and guaranteed its ability to go forward.