Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Ps 133)
One of the pleasures of being involved in HE chaplaincy is the joy, during term time at least, of living in community with one another. A way of being that has been at the heart of Christianity since Jesus first drew his disciples to him, and here in the grounds of St Augustine’s abbey we have daily architectural reminders of those communities that have gone before us dating back to the founding of the abbey in 597AD. It is humbling to realise that a way of life founded so long ago on the rule of St Benedict is still lived out here for many as we pray, study, eat and work together.
And yet as Jesus’ own life demonstrates the majority of us are not called to the seclusion of a cloistered life, but to the messiness of a life lived to the full in an ever changing world and environment. This is so starkly revealed within university life, where our community changes and refreshes every year with at least a third of our company leaving and being replaced every twelve months.
This rhythm of life that ebbs and flows brings with it a host of challenges for a chaplaincy that seeks to remain consistent and relevant at the heart of the institution physically, spiritually and geographically. Questions of how do we remain true to our calling to be Christ in this place, to be engaged and missional in all that we do our constantly part of our regular reflections. This journey of practical, pastoral, theological and spiritual engagement will hopefully become more apparent as this conversation continues through other threads, blogs and postings.