Yesterday we went to a half day run by Birmingham Diocese on expressions of monasticism, new monasticism and approaches to a rule of life. Most of the time was given over to hearing about foundations and origins, how people became members, accountability, how members are sustained and protected, distinctiveness of the group and how membership nourishes and strengthens your discipleship. The timings for the day went way out as each different group were given 5 minutes on these themes.
What particularly struck me was the equal levels of commonality and diversity. Some were for women or men only, some open, some closed, some dispersed, there were often
different levels of commitment on offer to people varying from life time commitment to a loose affiliation.
What they all had in common was a commitment to a set of vows, values or principles by which you agreed to live by. Some were classical ones such as poverty, chastity and obedience or around simplicity and contemplation, others were more about being missional and service. Eleven of the twelve founders of one particular group became chaplains in the First World War.
Both Sally and I have been nurtured by communities beyond our involvement in the
Anglican church. We have found a sense of belonging, a focus, a rootedness in our history, companionship on a particular way of being on a Christian journey. We shared about three groups that are significant to us: Northumbria Community, Community of Aidan and Hilda and the newest one represented on the day, the Common Ground Community which is part of Hodge Hill Church where Sally is Associate Minister. See the websites below for more information: