The Order of Watchers

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The Third Order of Watchers (“Ordre des Veilleurs” in French) is a community of hermits of the French Protestant tradition founded in 1923 by theologian William Frédéric Monod better known as Wilfred Monod (1867-1943).
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The current head of the Order (Prioress) is a pastor of the Reformed Church of France , Caux-Claude Berthoud (since March 2012).
Three words sum up the spirit of the Fraternity of the Vigil: Joy-Simplicity-Mercy. Watchmen supporting each other more closely follow Jesus Christ in the spirit of the Beatitudes .
Each hermit of the order lives his or her own form of solitude within the local Church community to which they are closest in spirit and faith practice. The hermits of the community follow a schedule of prayer three times daily in accordance with their calling to be alone with God. Living out the Christian practice of love for one’s neighbour, the hermit is always available to others in need, much like the poustinik of the Russian Christian tradition.
After a long decline Brotherhood knows recent growth: 200 members in 2005, 300 in 2007, mainly from Protestant churches but also Orthodox and Catholics. It has its center in Abeillères to Saint-Jean-du-Gard , in the Cévennes and adheres to the Protestant Federation of France . and

See “A Protestant Hermit in Search of Inner Unity”,
by Pierre Léderrey at
Daniel Bourguet
“Daniel Bourguet has been prior of the Ordre des Veilleurs (Order of Watchers) for ten years. The Fraternity was founded in 1923 by the Reform theologian Wilfred Monod, inspired by his son, the celebrated naturalist Theodore Monod. Without tangible organization or legal status, the Order is an “invisible monastery” that helps each member deepen his or her spiritual life. About two hundred people, most but not all Protestant, are connected through daily prayer across the French-speaking world.
Bourguet: “Our rule is very simple. It consists mainly in consecrating three moments of the day to meditation.” No liturgy is imposed, the intent being to allow each Watcher to remain within the biblical tradition he or she finds most comfortable. Indeed, belonging to a community is one of the principles of the movement, which does not want to appear to be a new Church. “The majority of us are very active in the life of our parish,” notes Bourguet.
The prior estimates that the Fraternity’s impact on French Protestantism is growing. “In France, as elsewhere, theological reflection has moved the Reform away from the spiritual life a bit. After some years, we are rediscovering this aspect of the faith, and many are calling on the Watchers, especially to enrich their retreats.””

Summary of The Rule of the Fraternity
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“The Watchers are a Protestant spiritual brotherhood founded in 1923 under the leadership of Pastor Wilfred Monod. They grouped Christians of all ages and from all walks of men and women, clergy and laity who want to support each other more closely follow Jesus Christ in the spirit of the Beatitudes: Joy – Simplicity – Mercy. This spirit is inseparable from love of God and love of men. It is the essence of Christianity….

To allow Christ to reign on his daily life, the Watcher unites prayer and work, contemplation and action, always in the spirit of the Beatitudes.

Three times essentially
The morning at sunrise preference: Pray, pondering the Bible, praise and prayer.
At midday: Rise in communion with the Watchers and members of other communities in the recitation – aloud if possible – of the Beatitudes, the charter of life that Jesus gave us.
Evening: Perspectives on the day requested and received, forgiveness, thanksgiving, praise.
Community Vigil is composed of Protestant Christians of all shades. There are even Catholic and Orthodox members. Any particular office or any liturgy are therefore used.

Tribute Friday
In tribute to the Crucified and Risen, evoke the Vigil every Friday in meditation, the Cross of Calvary, supreme gift of God to mankind for its salvation. …Some watchers even observe a partial or total fasting.

Sunday Joy
The Watcher welcomes Sunday, because it is the “Lord’s Day”, the day of resurrection and when the Spirit descended upon the disciples to be witnesses of the Risen Lord, Glorified. Unless there is a real impediment, he will therefore join his brothers to participate with them in public worship. (When the watchman cannot go to a place of worship, radio and television offer him some opportunity for community worship.)

Quarterly meetings
Four times a year, the Watchers who can meet locally to put together before the call that God has sent them back and so aware of their Christian vocation. When a minister is chairing the meeting, it will end with the Last Supper…Not compulsory (some Watchers can never attend), these meetings are strongly recommended. They are announced in the bulletin or notice.

Renewed commitment
The Watchman annually receives a new card in December. By signing in early January, he enlisted again for the coming year. The January meeting has the reiteration of the principles of community and confirmation of commitments which it has been incorporated into the Church.”

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