[Lambeth Palace press release] In a unique experiment, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is to open up Lambeth Palace in London to Christians aged 20-35 – inviting them to spend a year living, studying and praying at a historic centre of the Anglican Communion.
Launching in September 2015, the Community of St Anselm will gather a group of adventurous young adults from all walks of life, hungry for a challenging and formative experience of life in a praying community.
The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining part-time. The year-long programme will include prayer, study, practical service and community life.
Members of the Community will live in a way the ancient monastics would recognise: drawing closer to God through a daily rhythm of silence, study and prayer. But, through those disciplines, they will also be immersed in the modern challenges of the global 21st century church.
Lambeth Palace is in the process of recruiting a Prior to pioneer this new venture and direct its worship and work. The Prior will work under the auspices of the Archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community.
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Stanley Hauerwas reminds us that the church should always be engaged in doing things that make no sense if God does not exist. The thing that would most make no sense at all if God does not exist is prayer. Living in a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or risk-free. Through it people subject themselves to discipline, to each other in community, and, above all, to God.
“I expect this venture to have radical impact – not just for the individuals who participate but for life at Lambeth, across the Church and in the world we seek to serve. This is what we expect in following Jesus. I urge young people to step up: here is an open invitation to be transformed and to transform.”
The Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Revd Dr Jo Wells, said: “Archbishop Justin is passionate about prayer and about community. The renewal of prayer and Religious Life is the first of his three priorities, and that is what the Community of St Anselm is all about.
“We are inviting people from all around the Anglican Communion – and beyond – to live a year in God’s time. There are no qualifications for joining the Community except a longing to pray, to learn, to study together the things of God, and so to be stretched in body, mind and spirit.”
“Archbishop Justin longs that Lambeth Palace be not so much a historic place of power and authority, but a place from which blessing and service reach to the ends of the earth.”
To find out more, visit: www.stanselm.org.uk