Worth Abbey Monks in Brighton
New Beginnings in East Brighton
St John the Baptists Church, part of the East Brighton Catholic Parish, is the new home to a small Benedictine monastery, founded from Worth Abbey. In January 2020, during the pandemic lockdown, Fr Aidan, Fr Gabriel and Br Anthony came from Worth Abbey to begin this venture in urban monastic living. Having been in Brighton for more than a year they were asked to become more involved in the local parish. They have moved into the presbytery next to St John the Baptist’s Church in August 2022.
Worth Abbey’s ‘Monks in the City’ want to listen, reflect, collaborate and learn in their Brighton context. They also aim to bring the rich spiritual resource of the fifteen-hundred-year-old Benedictine way of life to people who have never met it before. ‘This new venture makes the stillness and sanctuary of our monastery available right next door to where so many people live,’ says Abbot Mark Barrett, the new Abbot of the monastery at Worth Abbey. ‘During the pandemic Worth Abbey was able to support people who were restricted to their homes for weeks at a time by offering online prayers and retreats. Now, and right in the centre of a vibrant city, we are able to offer a local presence and a place for everyone to discover the deeper things of life.’
It was in 2019 that Worth Abbey initiated the Brighton venture. Fr Peter and Fr Roderick moved here to live and work alongside the Wellspring Community – a community of young lay people formed in their Benedictine spirituality by the Worth monastic community – and the people of East Brighton. Fr Roderick as Catholic Chaplain to Sussex University makes a fourth member of the Community.