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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.


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: 

News from St Anselm – Advent 2016!

After the flurry of activity that has marked the beginning of this year’s Community’s journey together, Advent gives us the chance to reflect on this year and to look forward to the gift of 2017.

Advent invites us to take stock of our journey together this year; to be thankful and attentive to the lessons we’ve learned. In the first of a series of videos and blogs over the next few weeks, former resident member Hannah Spiers reflects here on her own experience of 10 months in shared life, prayer, study and service.

Applying for membership in 2017-2018

Advent also invites us to think with hope about the future, through the lens of following Jesus and becoming more like him. So we’re delighted to let you know that the application process for Community membership 2017-2018 is now open.

Wherever you are in the world, whichever branch of the Christian family tree you call home, this is a good time to reflect on how God might be asking you to become more like Jesus; how you might allow the Holy Spirit to transform the way you pray, the way you work and make decisions. It’s a chance to reflect on whether that looks like a shared life with other brothers and sisters on the same journey.

Membership in a Religious community is a joyful adventure – but not one for the faint-hearted; it will require perseverance, sacrifice and the ability to listen deeply to other people and learn from them.

The possibility of membership is open to any Christian aged 20-35, so there’s no fee to join – although being a member will always involve sacrifice, both financial and otherwise, to allow Community life to happen.

Creating a profile on our online applications platform is the first step in a process that will take some months to complete and will require thought and prayer as we put together next year’s Community. We know it will be diverse and we know it will be surprising.

Each year we have members who come from all over the UK and the world, representing many church traditions including Roman Catholic, Coptic, Methodist and Anglican. Every member shares in common the desire to become more like Jesus – so if that’s you, or someone you know, find out more about the different modes of membership.

Or are you ready to start your application? Visit our applications page!

Join the Team

During December we are inviting applications for two new exciting roles within the Community core team: a Dean and a Prior’s Clerk.  The new team members will play a vital role as we continue to develop and the expand the life of this Community as a place for transformation into the likeness of Christ, and a place of modelling one way of shared life under vows in the 21st century.

For more information about these two new roles, please visit

Have a peaceful Advent, a joyful Christmas and a very happy New Year!

The Community of St Anselm Core Team


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