- Applications for September 2016 non-resident membership of the Community of St Anselm are open until 30 June
In a special commissioning service at Lambeth Palace yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby prayed for the first members of the monastic-inspired Community of St Anselm as they came to the end of their 'year in God's time'.
During the service, which was attended by family and friends of the members, as well as Lambeth Palace staff and members of religious communities around the UK, Archbishop Justin presented each of the members with a Bible and prayed for them.
Several members gave testimonies about how their year in the community had transformed and deepened their relationship with God and with others.
Last year the Archbishop invited young Christians from around the world to spend a year living in a new monastic-inspired community based at his residence, Lambeth Palace in London.
His vision for the Community of St Anselm was for young people to follow an intensive pattern of prayer, study and serving local communities that the ancient monastics would have recognised, before taking this experience back into their lives.
The community is made up of residential members who live at Lambeth Palace, and non-residential members who commit to the same Rule of Life while continuing in their work or studies in London.
The members, who come from many different countries and church denominations, have divided their time between prayer and worship, study, and working alongside vulnerable people with local charities.
During the service, the Archbishop said: "God is in the business making sufficiency out of inadequacy. We are the disciples who are to trust not only that we will be fed, and that we will be able to feed those we meet. But we are also the bread and the fish."We are also that which is surrendered into the hands of Jesus and is broken, and turns out to be adequate - in fact more than enough – for all the needs that are placed before us.
"That’s my prayer for you, that sense that [although] you will face a breaking, and it’s painful, and disappointment, and it’s difficult, that you will have fed the world. What more could we want as God’s people, but to feed the world? To be those who physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, in every possible way, have been used by God to feed the world."He continued: "Your testimonies demonstrated why Religious life is so important, because they were lessons for every person everywhere. The life in community, the need to give, to communicate, obviously – all that. But above all the need to become those who live off the oxygen of God. May that be where you go from here to feed the world."
"That’s really what the Community of St Anselm is about. It’s not just about taking resident and non-resident members and somehow putting them through a sausage machine comprised of St Francis and St Benedict and St Ignatius… it’s not about that. It’s about enabling you to trust the God who will use you to feed the world, and enabling others to see it - to see you trusting - and therefore by the grace of God to believe that he can do that with us as well."