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Following Christ into 2017

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‘… Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”  Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.’ (Matthew 14:27-29)

Jesus is always calling us closer to Himself, often in unexpected ways. It’s been inspiring to reflect on how our members – resident and non-resident – have each responded to that invitation to take a new step towards Christ as part of the Community.  There will be many more opportunities to respond to the call of Jesus this year. Indeed, God never gets tired of calling us afresh to give him our all! “His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning… ‘The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.'” (Lamentations 3:22b-24).

Here’s a reminder of how some of last year’s Community Members responded to that call.

So as we begin this New Year, let us consider how – and where – Christ might be offering us a fresh invitation to follow him in 2017.

Perhaps for some that means starting our discernment process for joining the Community of St Anselm in 2017-2018. Or you might know someone who’s on that journey, who might be interested. Or you might be drawn to engaging with us as a key sponsor or supporter, allowing the Community to continue to welcome young adults from all over the world and every income bracket into membership, regardless of whether they’re able to contribute financially to our shared life.

The Community’s core team is also seeking to respond to Christ in new ways – and need some help with that! So if you have a passion for community life and would like to be involved in developing the Archbishop’s vision for the Community of St Anselm – either in a strategic capacity as the Dean or by strengthening the Community’s administrative capacity as Prior’s Clerk – find out more and apply by 4th January.

Wherever the call of Christ leads you this year, we wish you every hope-filled and Jesus-shaped blessing, from our whole Community, for your 2017.

The Community of St Anselm Core Team and Members

 

Meeting Christ in community – Peter’s story

Before joining the Community of St Anselm, Peter worked for an investment bank in New York City. Here he looks back at his experience as a resident member last year.

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In the five months since my time as one of the first members of the Community of St Anselm has ended, I’ve often been asked what the experience was like. Almost every conversation starts with the same question: “What exactly did you do last year?”

I usually start by describing the Community as a group of young Christians living as residents and non-residents in a shared life of prayer, study and service.

Sometimes I talk about our opportunity to talk about the secularization of modern society with the Preacher to the Papal Household. Other times I describe what it was like to visit a Franciscan Community in Dorchester, and how there I was humbled to realize how little I knew about hospitality.

And I often end up talking about the incredible experience of participating in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius over thirty days in silence with the Community of Chemin Neuf.

At some point I admit that no matter how much I talk about the amazing teachers, the places we visited, or the retreats we made during the year, this only touches the surface of what it was like to be a part of the Community of St Anselm.

I’ll sometimes answer this simply question by saying: “In community, we met with one other.”

 

There was an understanding among Community members that we would always work to welcome one other. This understanding led to encounters and relationships that grew in both depth and transparency throughout the year. With an aim of simply meeting, we built relationships not on our differences but on our commitments to faith and understanding.

We met with each other in different ways throughout the year. Some of our meetings were more structured and formal, such as during Morning Prayer or daily Eucharist.

At other times meeting with each other was a surprise; it was almost impossible to walk anywhere around Lambeth (the south-London borough where Lambeth Palace is) without seeing someone we knew or met through the Community.

And our most frequent meetings – meals – gave us a chance to speak and listen with each other while eating – or more often, when washing the dishes.

Part of the reason why we were able to meet with each other was because in joining the Community, we committed to a Rule of Life that led us closer to Christ. And so I found that when I was meeting with others, I was really led to meet with Christ.

At the end of these conversations about the Community I’ll sometimes hear, “That sounds incredible. I couldn’t do it.” Sometimes people will say that living a shared life sounds hard, or that they couldn’t take a year off from work, or that the disciplines we practiced during the year sound constricting.

I often agree – it was hard. But this drama of living in community is exactly what we’re called to confront. After all, the Community of St Anselm didn’t just teach me about relying on God. It gave me a life-changing experience of meeting with Him, repeatedly, over the course of the year.

Applications are now open to join the Community of St Anselm in September 2017 – find out more and apply here: http://stanselm.org.uk/apply/ 
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