A COMMUNITY has been set up at St Martin-in-the-Fields as “an experiment in being with God, with one’s neighbour, and with oneself in the centre of London”.
The Nazareth Community has been created at the church, in London’s West End, but is not exclusively made up of members of its congregation.
On Sunday, 47 people were blessed by the Vicar, Canon Sam Wells, and made their promises as the community was formed. It “offers a structure and a framework to grow in prayer and compassionate discipleship”, and brings people “together in five shared disciplines: silence, sacrament, service, sacred study and sharing”, the church’s website says.
The members of the community include those who have known homelessness, or have been refugees, and each of them received a small Lampedusa Cross, made on the island of Lampedusa from the wreckage of migrant boats washed ashore (News, 3 June 2016).
The Revd Richard Carter, Associate Vicar for Mission at St Martin-in-the-Fields and the leader of the community, said that it was about “learning to listen again, as St Benedict said, with the ear of the heart. . . We sense the need in this city for sacred space for people to come and replenish tired, stressful, or simply busy lives. . . We are not simply managers, organising resources and events, but those who seek God: women and men of prayer, who know our utter dependence on God’s grace, and know this city’s need of God’s forgiveness and love.”
Canon Wells said: “Being with God and one another and ourselves is how we shall spend eternity. The Nazareth Community is a group of people who are saying, ‘Why not start eternity now? Why wait?’ In their living eternal life now, we see hope and inspiration for ourselves, our Church, our community, and our city.”