[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The new members of the Community of St Anselm, the international new-monastic community for young people based at Lambeth Palace, have been commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The Community of St Anselm provides an opportunity for young people aged 20 to 35 to “spend a year in God’s time” in a residential and non-residential new-monastic community with a shared rule of life focused on prayer, study and service to the most vulnerable in society.
On Friday, Archbishop Welby commissioned 15 international residents, who will live at Lambeth Palace in London for the next 10 months; and twenty-one non-residents who will combine their life in the community with their other responsibilities to work, family and church. The service also saw the re-commissioning of seven non-resident members from the community’s first year who will continue their commitment for another year.
The new members of the community in its second year come from places as diverse as the UK, US, Europe, Zimbabwe, Mexico, South Africa and India. “They also represent a wide variety of church streams and denominations, from Anglican and Episcopal to United Reformed, Methodist, Lutheran, New Frontiers, Orthodox and Roman Catholic,” a spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said.
“The Community of St Anselm very deliberately takes people from all over the world, with their cultural differences and personality differences,” Archbishop Welby said in a sermon. “It deliberately takes bits of the disunited church. It takes all these different factions and fragments and it’s an experiment to see if together we can live in unity, because we are in the vine – because we abide in the vine.”
In his sermon, the archbishop said that adopting the Benedictine monastic practice of “placing yourself under discipline” is “extraordinarily counter-cultural”. But, he said, “if we are going to call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ, we start by saying I accept the sovereignty of God. There is no other way of being a disciple.”
The Prior of the Community of St Anselm, the Revd Anders Litzell, said that the community had “been established to serve Archbishop Justin’s call for a renewal of prayer and religious life across the Church.
“The new members are today making a commitment to a shared rule of life that is about shaping our whole beings in response to God’s radical grace in Jesus Christ.
“We trust that the experience will transform these young lives to reflect the beauty of God’s holiness with irrepressible integrity. And we pray that they will go on to help transform our world through self-giving in their local, national and international communities.”