Starting All over Again – A New Monasticism
Be alone in a separate place near a chief city, if thy conscience is not prepared to be in common with the crowd. St Columba
The Monastic Church of Britain and Ireland was a vibrant, indigenous ecclesiology that emerged towards the end of the 4th century and became the dominate communal expression of Churchmanship throughout the Celtic fringes of Britain’s post-roman world. A spirituality rooted in the traditions of the eastern desert fathers and the eremitical call to ‘be alone with Christ’. This call to prayer, aloneness and spiritual discipline created a dynamic and vibrant indigenous expression of the Christian faith in the British Isles that we now associate as Celtic Christianity. Its artistic expression, missional zeal, scholastic devotion and creational integrity continues to reverberate down through the centuries to our modern era.
New Monasticism opens up an original pathway for the followers of Jesus, to begin this journey. To begin again the journey of faith and encounter with our Creator and the source of all justice and righteousness. New monasticism calls us to that place of creational peace and resting our head and heart on the breast of Jesus. It calls us to care for each other and the land upon which we walk.
As the Society of St. Columba – a new monastic (lay) community on the South Coast of England – our home is St Columba’s Barn in Chanctonbury, West Sussex. Our 23 acre heritage farmstead is located on the north side of the iconic Chanctonbury Ring [link to Chanctonbury Ring]. Here we are outworking our faith in gardening (market and forest garden), restoration of heritage buildings, caring for rare breed livestock, all rooted in a community rhythm of Prayer, Work & Reading. Our heartbeat is to nurture (w)holy citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. An earth where the values of the teachings of Jesus agitate change, inspire integrity in our communities and God’s creation is respected and honoured.
We walk as broken people in a broken world, inherently pursuing goodness and wanting the best for one another. Intuitively seeking out a new humanity where there is no racism, sexism, poverty, oppression, exploitation and political manipulations. We have found such a way in the person of Jesus and as we pray together, work together and learn together, we discover a common humanity that we can share under God.
For those with all the answers and who have worked everything out, I am not sure this is the place for you. But if you are seeking God among the broken, the imperfect, the vulnerable and lost, then we look forward to listening to your story and celebrating our shared humanity.
Greg Valerio – Founder of Society St. Columba
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