Foundations And Future




The opening theme was ‘They went by another way’. This refers to the three magi who returned from Bethlehem by another route, and to the Community of Aidan and Hilda and countless other communities who, since Covid, can’t prop up established centres but can allow God to lead us in fresh ways. The Holy Family itself had to journey along another route – to Egypt -  but the Holy Family itself remained protected and was gloriously led.


Professor Ian Bradley and I had a dialogue about his review of my recent book Celtic Christianity and the Climate Crisis: Twelve Keys for the Future of the Church. Neither of us could trace the sources of Robert Van der Weyer’s quotes from Pelagius’ reference to creation in an alleged letter and of a so-called ‘early British Catechism’. Can any one out there come to our aid.


Strategic priorities for the coming years include establishing houses of prayer – which individuals as well as groups can do.  In a discussion Mecky Wohlenberg told us he and Kristin had purchased a cottage at Selje (Norway), the pilgrimage shrine of Saint Sunniva, which has been described as ‘the womb of Norway’s church’, so that friends, including friends of the Community, could stay there.


Brother Cassian (David Cole) spoke to us about how to use silence, and led the ‘Giving of the Habit’ to our latest member to adopt the green monk’s habit, Simon Lumby, the guardian of  Cairdean.anama, the name of the Community in Ireland.


Mark Berry, a facilitator of Fresh Expressions of Church and New Monastic networks, who is our Community Soul Friend, gave the final talk.  He said the world is unbalanced. Covid and internet means we can work every hour of every day. We have to learn to regulate our lives. Covid has revealed how our emotions are all over the place. We have to learn how to deal with emotions. Social media mean we live in echo chambers of our own discourse and prejudice. We have to learn to dialogue with people unlike us.


Sadly, churches (at least his own Church) he felt are heading towards crisis point. They have adopted a management model which has robbed the clergy and others with leadership vocations of their human, community and spiritual roles and turned them into managers. The culture of hierarchy expends great energy in telling us what we can’t do.


Historically, in times of crisis, religious communities have come to the fore.  It is to these we now look for guidance in adopting life-sustaining spiritual practices, in learning how to grieve, lament and soul-friend the world.

 The approach of the soul friend needs to become the approach of our faith communities: to ask people ‘what is our calling?’ What is the Spirit saying through the people in our neighbourhood? Let us foster a culture of flexibility and  the use of initiative. We have to be the change we want to see in the world.








Posted at 11:06am on 22nd January 2021
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