As a Christian religious order, it is a dispersed community of women and men, lay and clergy, from many different denominations, seeking to live the sacramental life. "Membership in The Order is open to persons of all Christian denominations who seek to live the sacramental life in accordance with our Rule of Life and Service, in community with and acceptance of their brothers and sisters in the Order."
The Order gathers annually in mid-October for several days of worship, fellowship, and administration.
The Order of St Luke was founded in 1946 in the former Methodist Church and, until 2012, held the status of Affiliate Organization with the Section on Worship of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church. The Order was formed under the leadership of the Rev. R. P. Marshall, a former editor of the Christian Advocate. It was dedicated to the cause of liturgical renewal, and led the way in a serious liturgical awakening across the Methodist Church and much of post-war Protestantism. It was inspired partly by the existence of the Methodist Sacramental Fellowship, which serves a similar purpose in relation to the Methodist Church of Great Britain.
A maturing comprehension of liturgical renewal in an ecumenical era has become the guiding vision of members within the Order, just as it has become a dawning concern in the minds of many persons in the Church presently outside the Order. Recent evidence of this emerging vision may be seen in the design of the official worship books of many denominations.
The additional emphasis of directed spiritual formation, adopted in 1980, sets the direction in which the Order believes itself called.
While it will shun doctrinaire positions, the Order is dedicated to the task of breaking down the barriers of historical ignorance, theological sectarianism and liturgical illiteracy in the Church. The Order has no special revelation about the future of the emerging ecumenical consensus, but will do what it can to encourage the people called Christian to look outward and work toward the greater Church which God is surely gathering for Christ' s sake from a broken Christendom.
A major ministry of the Order of Saint Luke is OSL Publications. This ministry specializes in providing printed resources for those who lead worship and scholarly resources for those interested in liturgical matters.
Publications include resources on liturgy, church architecture, prayer, theology, worship, spirituality, sacraments, and music.
OSL publishes three periodicals:
The following description of The Order comes from our mission statement: A religious order in the United Methodist Church dedicated to sacramental and liturgical scholarship, education, and practice.