Cafes, Clubs And Mother Winsome

The Church of England and the Methodist Church invited thirty people to the London Spirituality Centre to explore the strengths and weaknesses of New Monasticism as a model for building mission-centred forms of church for the changing cultures in the UK. Whew!

Discipleship is mainly to do with character formation formed by godly repetition said Bishop Graham Cray, who overheard Rowan Williams say: Whenever I hear someone mention the word strategy I have the greatest difficulty not to collapse in laughter.

Ian Mobsy, a founding member of the Moot Community ( seeks to develop an arts and spirituality café alongside a community some of whom live in a nearby house. He said: New monasticism has to create the sacred in the secular - e.g. in pubs and parks.

Jim Barker of the hOME community and an independent facilitator of communities said: I keep meeting businesses that want to be communities and churches that want to be businesses. Ian Adams, a founder of the mayBe community in Oxford ( said: experiments such as this have three marks that come from deep monastic roots: the cave, the refectory and being on the road. New communities, like ancient monastic communities, make a statement that: lay is not second class. Pauline Warner (Methodist minister on leave while she promotes soul clinics) reported that many Christians in Coventry have had 'nudges' to revive the monastic roots of the city. The Bishop called together Christians from all churches to explore this.

Tessa Holland of Contemplative Fire ( 'Some see rhythm as a bolt-on extra rather than a discovery of what is already given by God and is within us. The Rhythm of Life is not a system it is an approach to what is life-giving.

Abbot Stuart Burns OSB, Mother Winsome of the Community of St. Mary the Virgin at Wantage and I were invited to reflect back on the day. If you wish to read these, buy our magazine!

Posted at 10:46am on 18th October 2009
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