As a small Community without the institutional support and responsibilities that are a part of life at Worth Abbey, we have the possibility, in openness to the Holy Spirit, to experiment and discover new ways of monastic living and witness. Being situated in an urban context provides a unique opportunity to listen, reflect, collaborate and to learn how to best to respond to the needs of the Church, our society and the world at this time. We hope that the experience will both inform and stimulate on-going reflection about the Community’s future development.
First and foremost we believe that our prayer and manner of community living is our principal means of witnessing to the Gospel. Once COVID restrictions allow, it will be through the offering of Hospitality that more people may encounter this. Over the coming months the Community will be seeking to learn how to live in a more environmentally sensitive manner and begin to discover ways to be good neighbours to those in Brighton experiencing spiritual, social or material need. We hope also to engage with existing and new initiatives in the East Brighton Parish. These include the Wellspring Community with their Mission and Formation programme, ministry to young adults and community life.
What have we learned so far
- About community living – through daily reflection together on the Rule of St Benedict, we have developed a timetable of prayer, work and study suitable to life in a small urban community house. Currently this includes a weekly community day and a monthly desert day (retreat and reflection).
- Between Eastertide and the end of June as a Community we joined with Wellspring each week to study the spirituality of St Bernaud, St Theresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. In order to safeguard the important place of spiritual reading in nourishing our life, one morning each week has now been set aside for individual spiritual reading.
- The numbers and variety of people we encounter in serving those using the Food bank at St John the Baptist on Sundays provides an insight into the social deprivation existing in the area (amplified by the pandemic) and the poor mental health associated with it.
- Out of our involvement in the Brighton Citizens U.K. Group and the Faith in Action Group we are making helpful links within the local community and discovering projects tackling social, mental health and ecological issues in Brighton from whom we can learn and to whom we can signpost others.