It goes without saying, that Covid-19 has effected everyone and everything in some way. At Easter this year, we had to make the very difficult decision to close our formational year and send our residents home. During the months that followed, we spent a lot of time in reflection and prayer, and in conversation with stakeholders from around the Diocese and beyond.
In partnership with our Trustees, Resourcing Churches, New Wine Discipleship Year, Church of England Mission Experience Scheme, St Mellitus East Midlands and others, we have reshaped our formational year. Through this process, we’ve chosen to let go of some things, at the same time, we have distilled down and dived deeper into the essence of our community and its emerging charism.
We have reflected on the first 18 months of living together in the Community House. We have tested our rule and rhythms in the crucible of community life. We have examined our team roles and reaffirmed our call to prayer and formation. We have remembered our promises and considered our charism. In all of this, two images came into focus and captured our imagination. The images of the drum and the trellis.
Imagine a marching band bass drum (the big one that hangs off the shoulders and makes a low booming noise). The role of the bass drum is to mark time and keep the beat. Traditionally, marching bands would walk or march to the beat of the bass drum. All the other side drums, cymbals, trumpets and marching band paraphernalia add their own sounds, rhythms and melodies, but they each march to the beat of the bass drum.
In the same way our Daily Office (Morning Prayer, Lunchtime Prayer & Compline) act as a bass line for our community, marking time and keeping the beat. Members of the community dip in and out, adding their personal sound, rhythm and melody to the beat. We are building a shared rhythm of prayer and inviting others to join in with us. Our hope is that this beat, this rhythm of prayer may be heard and felt way beyond the walls of the community house – into the city, county and nations.
A trellis is defined as a frame that supports plants as they grow. A trellis does not restrict or constrain, rather, it trains and directs growth. Its principal aim is to support growth. That is how we see our Rule of Life, not as a set of strict rules, but as a framework for growth.
A rule of life is the set of practices that a community chooses to build its life together. Our Rule of Life draws on the shape of a tree with roots, trunk and branches. It is a trellis made up of nine intersecting slats: nine transformational practices that we think provide a robust structure for growth.
Our hope is that as the new residents settle into the house and begin to participate in the practices of our Rule and the rhythms of the shared life, they will discover a fertile environment for growth. The invitation for all of us in the Community is ultimately the invitation of Jesus, to a life rooted, flourishing and fruitful in him.
Read more about our Rule of Life [ HERE ]