A New Monastic Handbook: From vision to
Ian Mobsby and Mark Berry
Canterbury Press £16.99
Church Times Bookshop £15.30 (Use code
ANYONE who is concerned for the Church in this land knows that
in the present time we face many who oppose us and even more who
ignore us. There is, however, a growing interest in spirituality,
even if the attraction is not toward the established churches:
"spiritual, but not religious" is a common designation among many.
We should not ignore this, but see it as a place to start and
discover where we can work with them. There is also a growing
desire among people for a strengthening of the sense of community
If we are to meet such challenges, it is necessary to reach out
in new ways, with new modes of worship, new examples of community,
and a new showing of the joy of serving our God. This asks for
commitment and vision from us all.
This book is about a coming together for strength and for
reaching out in mission. As its subtitle declares, it is about
vision and practice. It has much to say about the present dilemma
of the Church and suggests some ways of combating it. Many of the
new "monastic" communities are in the forefront of exploring new
modes of worship.
Here, two leading practitioners of new monasticism open up the
movement's spiritual landscape and its distinctive calling and
gifts within today's Church. They share experiences, and stories
are set alongside reflections and liturgies as a creative resource
Focusing on the new monasticism's key characteristics of prayer,
mission, and community, the book explores the author's own journeys
towards a sense of community and new monasticism. They tell of some
of the new monastic communities that have come into being from the
final decades of the 20th century. We are led on to see the need
for a deep Trinitarian faith, not only in belief, but in practice,
and in the understanding of God as "holy community".
They emphasise the importance of creating a rhythm of life
concerning our spiritual practices and outreach. With this goes the
need to be creative and experimental in spirit and in practice.
Within all of this, it is important to be committed to the local
church. All members should be encouraged to seek to practise
healthy community and bring to the affirmations of society the
challenge of the gospel.
I did not find the title of the book encouraging, but it is full
of vision and ways of practising it. In it are many seeds that
could be sown in any local part of the Church. It presents a
challenge that those who lead communities and their worship should
Canon David Adam is a former Vicar of Holy Island.