As you may have picked up from the website or by word of mouth, The Society of St Columba is a new monastic (lay) ecumenical (not denominationally aligned) Christian community located at Chanctonbury, West Sussex. England. We take our inspiration from St Columba of Iona and seek to outwork our Christian faith conscious of our responsibility to ‘follow in the footsteps of Jesus’ and to protect God’s creation in all its wonder and diversity. Ours is a faith rooted in Jesus Christ and rooted in the land.
To become a member of the Society requires making an annual renewable commitment to the way of life of the Society. That way of life is expressed in our 7 foundational practices: Prayer, Work, Reading, Sabbath, Pilgrimage, Silence and Place.
St Columba’s Farmstead – Our place in the land and connections. One of our principle spiritual values is place. Each member of the community will be committed to investing time over the course of a year into caring and nurturing our historic farmstead.
Anam Cara/Spiritual Director – Each member will seek to develop a relationship with an Anam Cara or Spiritual Director. This discipline is considered to be an important element in the growth of each member and for us as an overall community. As a society we have a number of qualified spiritual directors (Ignatian and Franciscan trained) who can serve in this capacity.
Financial Commitment – We do ask that every member of the Society in some way express their commitment through giving to the central work of the Society. A regular standing order on a monthly basis and where possible linked to Gift Aid (UK tax payers only) enables us in the work of nurturing the life of the community.
Annual Gathering on or near Celtic Easter – In celebration of our commitment to Celtic Christianity, every year we celebrate Easter Day on the date that the Celtic Church would have done so prior to AD664. This is not an oppositional stance to the Roman (more common) dating of easter in the western tradition, simply a public witness to our Christian forebearers. We ask that every member of our community join us (whenever possible) on this celebration day, to connect a as community with each other and with the land at Chanctonbury. At our Celtic Easter celebration, we undertake to renew our commitments to each other and to God as a Society.
St Columba’s Community Benefit Society – Our Community Benefit Society (CBS) is another way of expressing a financial commitment to the Society as a whole. Although membership of the CBS is not a requirement of members of the Society of St. Columba, many of our members do choose to take out shares in the farmstead as a way of consolidating their commitment to the land, the farmstead and to each other.