This guest blog is by The Rev’d Brenda Rockell, who is currently based at St Luke’s in Mt Albert. Before that, she was the pastor of Cityside Baptist Church. She is one of the leaders of a new Anglican Diocesan initiative for young adults, called the Community of Trinity, that will begin its life in November this year.
I was converted and baptised into the Christian faith as a teenager, but it wasn’t until I was nearly 20 years old that I had any idea of the monastic tradition within the faith. I was aware of the stereotypes – old men in habits, chanting, and praying the day away – and I assumed, if I thought about it at all, that the monastic way was an escape from the demands of ‘real life.’
But then one summer vacation when I was at university I had the chance to visit and pray with the Community of Taizé in France, and the Suore Alcantarine and the Community of San Masseo in Assisi. These were three different tastes of monastic life, and what I learned from these experiences has been woven into my faith ever since. Much has changed in how I understand and practice the Christian path over the years since, but the value of silence, of a rhythm of prayer and work, and of the communal life has remained at the heart of what it means to me to live as a Christian.
For this reason, I’m very excited to be involved with developing an opportunity for young adults in our Diocese to be part of a community that will shape its life in accordance with these monastic principles. Called the ‘Community of Trinity’, this group will grow in a shared life across one year, eating and praying together weekly, and discovering what it means to be formed by a monastic sensibility.
Unlike many intentional community ventures, this one is non-residential, and it is for a defined time period of one year, for each cohort of participants. The point is to equip and shape people to go more deeply into their existing daily life – their work or study, their current church community, their homes and relationships.
Together, the members of the community will develop a ‘rule of life’: an agreed set of principles and practices that each person will interpret for their context, that we will support each other to sustain. The ‘rule’ isn’t meant to be a limiting or burdensome imposition, but a way to live with rhythm…a rhythm of prayer and action, of interaction and silence, of work and rest, of service and retreat. A way to ensure that we breathe in….and breathe out.
We will learn how to be still, and when to act. We will learn to listen for the voice of God in the silence. We will discover how to dialogue from the heart, in the midst of our differences. We will begin to practice discernment of how and where God is calling us to serve others. In meditation and reflection we will make connections between God’s story and our stories. We will learn to see and name the grace of God and the love of God in the ordinary moments of daily life.
If there’s something in you that stirs with hope and longing when you read this, then please explore some more. You can find info here: http://www.auckanglican.org.nz/what-we-do/community-of-trinity
Or you can contact me for a chat: firstname.lastname@example.org, 021 261 1292, or find me on facebook.
Applications close next week (3 October) If you’re really keen but need a bit more time to sort the paperwork, please just get in touch and we’ll work something out.
Peace and every blessing of goodness and joy be yours.