New monasticism: life together

Sharing his experiences of new monasticism and contextual mission, Mark Berry, community mission facilitator with the Church Mission Society UK and co-author of A New-Monastic Handbook: From Vision to Practice, will lead an engaging session in Perth this August.

Mark said that new monasticism can be dated back to around the 1940s, when people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer started to talk about a need for a different kind of Christian community – as opposed to the confinements of a regular Sunday morning ritual. Building on traditional monastic values of living a life devoted to spirituality, the new monastic movement moves forward into our current context and has a focus on mission amongst the local community.

“We want a deeper sense of community, more intentionality, more intimacy, more honesty between community members. But then also this sense of, well, we need to discover our own spirituality that equips us to be community and to be active in our local community; so that mission sense as well.”

For ten years, Mark has been a member of the Safe Space community in his home-town of Telford, UK. Safe Space is a new monastic community born out of a group of Christians who wanted their spirituality to be connected to their everyday life. Having never been made up of more than a dozen people, the group share their lives together.

Through contemplation, the group have been led by God to a number of missional activities, including a late night sanctuary for party-goers in the town’s nightclub district, a program supporting people caught up in human trafficking, and ministry with the local football team.

“We’re never focussed on sitting down and saying ‘right, we need a strategy.’ It’s more a case of how do we pray together, how do we be community and what is God saying to us?” Mark said.

“Sometimes God’s not actually saying anything about that [taking action], he’s just saying be still. And then other times he leads us to places where we didn’t expect to go. That’s why the spirituality and the mission is so intrinsically tied because our mission comes out of our spirituality.”

Inspired?

Mark Berry will be leading a session on new monasticism, leadership for mission and contextual mission on Monday 24 August, 10.00am–12noon, at The Warehouse Café, Shenton Park. To register contact Janine McDonald at Janine.mcdonald@wa.uca.org.au.

For more information visit http://unitingchurchwa.org.au/first-third/activities.

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