This year’s Community of St Anselm ended their “year in God’s time” with a joyful service at Lambeth Palace on Friday.
Led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby – who is Abbot of the community – family and friends heard testimonies of how the year had transformed those who took part.
Speaking at the service, the Archbishop said his prayer was that each member had grown so close to Jesus “that his call becomes your call, and his cause your cause.”
Answering this call, he said, means “being to the world what Jesus has been to you – so that you indeed might be Jesus to the world.”
He added: “For we are called, each of us, not only to proclaim the call of Christ to discipleship and obedience, to conversion and faith; but prophetically to show what that means, and in this Community of St Anselm, that is what we seek to happen day by day by day.”
Concluding his sermon, the Archbishop said: “What you will do in the future is unknown. Yet I am profoundly confident that those who follow Christ will be caught up in the cause of justice – and that final justice which comes with reconciliation with God – and will live out that cause in the reality of love for those who are the victims of injustice. And that they will live out that cause in proclaiming the good news of Jesus to those who live without the love and light of Christ.”
“Brothers and sisters, go in faith! Go and live your lives in the strength of Him who makes you alive!”
Launched in 2015 by Archbishop Justin, the Community of St Anselm to give young Christians from the UK and around the world a chance to immerse themselves in monastic-inspired community life.
Drawing on the riches of ancient traditions, Christians aged 20-35 spend a year praying, studying and serving those on the margins.
The community welcomes young Christians from many countries, traditions and denominations. It aims to be a symbol of God’s desire for unity and reconciliation; and a place where that reconciliation becomes reality in shared daily life.
The community this year included young Christians from 11 countries (Pakistan, America, UK, France, Ghana, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Australia, India and South Africa) and five denominations (Pentecostal, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist).
Each year the community includes resident members from the UK and around the world – who live together at Lambeth Palace – and UK-based non-resident members who combine the community with their work or studies. They all commit to the same ‘Rule of Life’, which gives them a shared focus on walking closely with Jesus.
Most of this year’s members will return to their home contexts and churches, to share and live out what they have learned and received over the last 10 months. Several members are exploring ordination, and several more are going on to explore further the Religious life in various contexts.
On taking office in 2013, Archbishop Justin Welby made the renewal of prayer and Religious life one of his three personal priorities for his ministry.