Archbishop Justin Welby is opening up Lambeth Palace to adults aged 20-35 to spend a year living, praying and studying together as a radical new Christian community.
In a unique experiment, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is to open up Lambeth Palace in London to Christians aged 20-35 – inviting them to spend a year living, studying and praying at a historic centre of the Anglican Communion.
Launching in September 2015, the Community of St Anselm will gather a group of adventurous young adults from all walks of life, hungry for a challenging and formative experience of life in a praying community.
The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining part-time. The year-long programme will include prayer, study, practical service and community life.
Members of the Community will live in a way the ancient monastics would recognise: drawing closer to God through a daily rhythm of silence, study and prayer. But, through those disciplines, they will also be immersed in the modern challenges of the global 21st century church.
Lambeth Palace is in the process of recruiting a Prior to pioneer this new venture and direct its worship and work. The Prior will work under the auspices of the Archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community.
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Stanley Hauerwas reminds us that the church should always be engaged in doing things that make no sense if God does not exist. The thing that would most make no sense at all if God does not exist is prayer. Living in a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or risk-free. Through it people subject themselves to discipline, to each other in community, and, above all, to God.
“I expect this venture to have radical impact – not just for the individuals who participate but for life at Lambeth, across the Church and in the world we seek to serve. This is what we expect in following Jesus. I urge young people to step up: here is an open invitation to be transformed and to transform.”
The Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Revd Dr Jo Wells, said: “Archbishop Justin is passionate about prayer and about community. The renewal of prayer and Religious Life is the first of his three priorities, and that is what the Community of St Anselm is all about.
“We are inviting people from all around the Anglican Communion – and beyond – to live a year in God’s time. There are no qualifications for joining the Community except a longing to pray, to learn, to study together the things of God, and so to be stretched in body, mind and spirit.”
“Archbishop Justin longs that Lambeth Palace be not so much a historic place of power and authority, but a place from which blessing and service reach to the ends of the earth.”
- More information about the Community of St Anselm can be found at: www.stanselm.org.uk
- Four members of the international ecumenical foundation Chemin Neuf came to Lambeth Palace earlier this year to live as a praying community. http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5252/father-make-them-one-chemin-neuf-community-comes-to-lambeth-palace. They will continue to share in the daily round of prayer that underpins the Archbishop’s ministry, while providing invaluable assistance and specialist expertise with this new venture.
- To be eligible to apply to join the Community, applicants must be aged between 20 and 35. No formal theological, or any other, qualifications are necessary. Applications will be welcome from all over the world, from Christians of any denomination. It will be an ecumenical community.
- Those who join the Community will be asked to contribute towards the programme and living expenses.
- Applications will open early next year. Keep checking the website for updates.
- Saint Anselm, a Benedictine monk and brilliant scholar, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093-1114. His motto of ‘faith seeking understanding’ reminds us that the faith journey begins with an active love of God – and from this love a deeper knowledge of God follows. Anselm became a monk when he was 27 – when he first enquired about the possibility, aged 15, he was turned away.