Resident member Louise Cox reflects on how she discerned the call to join the Community of St Anselm, and her experience of the year so far.
‘Jesus said: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”.’ (John 15:12)
In November 2013 I went to live and work in a church community as Youth Worker for Holy Trinity Church, Geneva. Living in community, I learnt that we are connected to each other: the young, the old, the musicians, the servers, all of us are crucial to God’s work here on Earth.
Working ecumenically alongside other English-speaking Christian communities in Geneva, we sought to bring our young people together and help them find a sense of ownership and belonging in their churches. This sparked in me the desire to seek Christian unity, and explore with others the differences across the world Church. I wanted to go deeper into this exploration, and my own faith journey, expanding my knowledge of theology and ministry.
I began to seek out opportunities for study and development and kept hearing about the Community of St Anselm from friends, family and colleagues. At first uncertain whether I was suitable for such an experience, with prayerful support and encouragement I decided to apply. The application process asked me to delve deeper into my Christian journey, picking out key moments and people from my path, examining my experiences of the world Church and my desires for my own future in faith.
As I explored further, moving through the application stages, I sensed that this was the chance I had been seeking. This was a chance to explore my relationship with God, to study and reflect alongside Christian from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds and denominations. A year to explore difference as diversity, not division.
I am only half way through this Year in God’s Time, and it has already been life transforming. Though intensely difficult at times, there is no place I’d rather be, sharing with the incredible young men and women I am honoured to call my brothers and sisters.
Life in the Community is deeply seated in prayer. We have three services a day, and times of silent prayer to pursue our personal walk with Christ, seeking to grow in faith and knowledge, discerning God’s will for our lives. This centre of prayer is surrounded by regular study, group dialogue on social and theological issues. Outside of this rhythm we engage with the sick, the homeless, the young and the old through volunteering with London charities. We live in service to others, engaging with the suffering world around us.
Our regular rhythm of prayer is punctuated by concentrated prayer for special events such as the recent Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury. Each day of the meeting we had the honour of gathering together in a constant vigil of prayer to support a process that meant so much to so many people.
This experience was incredibly moving, and taught me a great deal of what it means to live in relationship with the worldwide Church and with God. We all have our part to play in nurturing our church, for some it is to meet, to talk and discuss, for me it was to stop and pray with a focused and intentional compassion over those striving to create a better, united future.
I cannot say where I see myself after this year is over; I feel as though I am only just beginning to discern my place in God’s plan. I am, however, confident in the knowledge that my path, my future is safely in the Lord’s hands.
Want to join the Community of St Anselm? Apply now for September 2016.