A Social Justice and Faith Webzine



by Joanna Manning

A remarkable transformation of the churches is slowly but surely taking place. The old model of priesthood, which has become discredited by a combination of scandals and, in the Catholic Church, by the Vatican’s intransigence on women’s ordination and compulsory celibacy, is dying, but new and prophetic versions of church leadership are taking root and flourishing, often outside the walls of churches. These ‘Priests Without Borders’ resemble the ‘Doctors without Borders,’ the healers who operate outside the walls of hospitals and surgeries, wherever in the world the need for hope and healing is most intense.

     In my last article I outlined the path taken by the Rev. Debbie Little, a priest who has shepherded the Episcopalian Church in Boston beyond its walls to minister to the homeless on Boston Common. Another church without borders has come into being at Spiritus Christi, formerly Corpus Christi, in Rochester, NY.

     In 1976, a newly ordained priest, Fr. Jim Callan was appointed to Corpus Christi church, a declining parish in downtown Rochester. From the
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