Sunset on Burry Holme Beach

Governance Structure

The Society of St Columba is an ecumenical new monastic community, whose home is St Columba’s Barn farmstead in Chanctonbury West Sussex. Our 23 acre farmstead is leased from the Wiston Estate. Our legal foundation is two fold, a Farming Business Tenancy (FBT) for the land and a Tenancy governed by the Landlord and Tenancy act of 1954 for the buildings. Both tenancies run concurrently and for the duration of 30 years.

Both organisations are signatures to the two leases – this is designed to yoke both organisations to the legal responsibilities of restoring the heritage farmstead in accordance to the approved planning application (Link to planning application document) as well as nurturing the spiritual health of the land and community over the duration of our tenancy.

The Society of St Columba – The Society is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registration number 1160486. The Societies primary responsibility is to nurture and develop the spiritual formation of the community in the Imitation of Christ. Our spiritual formation revolves around seven principles and our community rhythm that members seek to apply to their walk with God. They are Prayer, Work, Reading, Silence, Sabbath, Pilgrimage and Place (link to becoming a member). Details on membership of the Society can be found by clicking on this membership link. {link to membership page}

Trustees: Dr. Greg Valerio MBE (Chair), Simon Thomas, Rev. Beverley Thomas, Rory Curran.

St Columba’s Barn Community Benefit Society (CBS) – The Community Benefit Society is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority number 7375. The CBS was launched by the Society St Columba in 2016 as a way of expressing a fresh, collaborative, cooperative and communal way of expressing Kingdom of God economics. As a mutual for-profit, people who support what the Society is trying to achieve can express this support through purchasing shares in the CBS. The CBS is designed to trade profitable, realise the economic potential that our farmstead presents. Each member of the CBS has 1 vote at the annual AGM. The AGM is where strategic decisions are taken for and on behalf of the CBS and for the benefit of The Society as a whole. Details on membership of the Community Benefit Society can be found by clicking on thislink. {link to CBS page}

Board of Directors: Simon Thomas (Chair), Gordon Cowie (Treasurer), Mark Lowe, Dr. Greg Valerio MBE.

Community Days. Held bi-monthly, (when not in COVID lockdowns), the community days are open to members of the Society, the CBS and invited guests. On our days we discuss key philosophical, theological and ethical issues relevant and current in the life of the community. Our aim is to allow all voices to be heard and to assist in achieving a consensus of direction by the community on behalf of the community. The outcome of our times together help to inform the decision making process of both our boards.