In 2008, the Order of St. James was founded by a group of United Methodist clergy and their families who have covenanted to live according to a life rule based on commitments to hospitality, simplicity, and evangelism. The members meet regularly for prayer, open sharing, confession, encouragement, guidance and accountability regarding the way these three rules are lived out in daily life, and they look to the wisdom of other ancient and modern monastic orders for guidance, such as the Rule of St. Benedict and the 12 Marks of New Monasticism. As the group grows and disperses, they have committed to meet together yearly while looking for like-minded individuals in their local conferences for more consistent fellowship. Although this group began as clergy, they are exploring ways in which interested laity might also covenant with them in a like manner.
As United Methodist families, the members have chosen to embody these principles especially by limiting their yearly spending to stay within the minimum salary offered by their UMC Conference. As they progress through the UMC clergy appointment system, they have chosen not to allow their lifestyle expenses to increase as their salaries inflate. They will continue to accept whatever higher salary is offered, but they have chosen to use the money exceeding the minimum salary level to aid those in need outside of their own family.
In American United Methodism, most clergy are very well cared for by their total compensation package (including salary, housing, health insurance, pension, etc), and the members of this group do not consider this commitment to be a vow of poverty in any sense. Members are choosing to limit their budgets to be in solidarity with those who are less fortunate, and to remember John Wesley's teachings regarding money, "Having first gained all you can, and secondly saved all you can, then give all you can." (Sermon, The Use of Money, III.1) In order to more faithfully embody the love of Christ, members work hard, live simple lives and limit their spending (Wesley's understanding of "saving") so they might be more hospitable to those in need and offer a more compelling witness to the world.