Info on 2011 Holy Land Pilgrimage

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January 25, 2009


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Interesting, Joe. Our bishop was talking to his curates a couple of weeks ago (I'm a curate in the UK) and suggested that the monastery offered a helpful model for thinking about contemporary church.

At the heart of the monastery is the chapel, symbolising worship being at the centre of all that we do.

Next is the chapter house, which reminds us that we should be a community who talk to one another and learn from one another.

Then comes the cloister, which was the place of scholarship and learning.

Finally comes what he called curtilage (four Cs) - the outbuildings of the monastery, where the church engages with the world.

In other words, our external mission is dependent on having worship, conversation and learning at our centre.

That's a crude summary - but you'll get the idea. It's certainly open to criticism (how does the church learn from the world, for example?), but I found it interesting.



How does being faithful to the truth of the gospel figure into your analogy? Monasteries as centres of learning are not necessarily theologically innovative in the way that some parts of the Anglican Church presently are. Orthodox monasteries have done very well, tremendously well as centres of learning, but I don't think very many would call them innovative.


JP - thanks for your comments. The monastic movement underwent numerous transformations over its course of development, and in certain forms it did try to engage "the world" in what was at that point in history a largely "Christendom" culture. I've been thinking about the pre-Christendom forms of monasticism, and working out the relationship between them.

Troy - I think that is where the task of evangelism comes in. I suggest that sometimes we forget about the curtilage - the "outbuildings" as JP says, in which the church intersects with those outside its walls. BTW, the Coptic monsateries in Egypt are doing exceedinly well with new vocations.

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blank stare...

  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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