NonResident Member Graham, who works in local government finance, reflects on a year in the Community in this member guest blog post. 

A year ago I applied to be a part time monk. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What is important to you in life? I knew God was important to me, but in the busyness of life, priorities ebb and flow, situations change.

So I applied, went through the questions, the writing, the interview. I was offered a place, and then had to decide: do I want this?

A ‘part time monk’ is an interesting commitment. Pray every day. Read the bible every day.
Meet up in Lambeth once a week. Give up three weeks of annual leave. Serve the poor. Give some of your money away.
Spend your time serving others.
Don’t work so much; give up on your career a little to spend some time with God.

So in September I found myself nervously nibbling canapés in a palace talking to bishops and wondering why on earth I was there.
In October my preconceptions of Christian traditions were confounded.
In November friendships were forged and deepened; bonds formed.
In December I realised giving up my phone for an hour a day could help me connect with God.
In January I experienced a week of silence. In the silence God spoke, not audibly, but clearly.
In February we prayed for unity across the church.
In March we reflected on our working lives and asked “what does God want to do through my life?”
In April we celebrated Easter.
In May we heard sad news. We prayed. We mourned.

Now it’s June and we fear the goodbyes we might have to say.
I don’t want it to end.
I keep telling myself it’s not the end, it’s a new beginning.

Life isn’t easier. It is better though.
I’ve spent “a year in God’s time” and next year will look different. But…
God is still the same.
The global church is bigger and better than I ever realised.
I acknowledge the power of sitting on my own in a quiet room and just praying.
And the fun of singing and shouting and dancing (and praying!) with friends.
And to the nervous man who 10 months ago nibbled on canapés I whisper: “don’t worry, it’s gonna be great”.

Applications for NonResident Membership 2017  – for people who live and work around London and the South East – are open until the end of July. Apply now

Blogpost picture for Graham's post