Mark Berry and the new monasticism

Mark Berry

Mark Berry

Mark Berry: Guest Speaker at the Presbytery meeting 15th August 2015

The Uniting Church Assembly FED unit is co-ordinating the visit of Mark Berry to Australia in July and August 2015. Mark is the Community Mission Facilitator with the Church Missionary Society in the UK. A former youth worker, Mark has worked with the Church of England in several roles.

SAFESPACE AND A NEW MONASTIC COMMUNITY

In 2005 Mark founded a missional community in Telford called safespace and ran a night cafe for young adults. safespace developed into what has become known as a “new monastic” community, seeking to base its life on spiritual disciplines and patterns of Christian discipleship. Mark speaks and teaches on new monasticism, leadership for mission and contextual mission. He is co-author of A New Monastic Handbook: From Vision to Practice.   Click here to read an extract. 

A new monastic handbook

Available Mediacom Education Inc $37.45 www.mediacom.org.au

WHAT IS THE NEW MONASTICISM?

The introduction to the book says:

New monasticism is not about a romantic withdrawal to beautiful and privileged places in the countryside, fleeing from the problems of the world, but rather a radical commitment to stay with and re-engage in mission, seeking the kingdom of God in places where God can feel absent.

We have many friends throughout the world where there is either a deep spiritual hunger for meaning and belonging or a desire for hope and the alleviation of pain, hopelessness and suffering while rejecting mainstream Christianity. 

So who is going to engage with the many people who are spiritually curious and hungry for transformation and liberation, seeking alternatives to the dehumanizing effects of the global market and what has become known as ‘ecocide’: the combination of global warming, deforestation and reducing biodiversity? What forms of church are going to assist such people who do not trust church and religion to experience Jesus Christ? Who is going to help such people to become Christian pilgrims? We hope this book will help some to engage in this journey.

So what do we mean by a new monastic community?

This book is an attempt to answer this important question. We believe that the distinctiveness of a new monastic community is the combination of a number of features. None of these features are unique to new monasticism, but it is the particular combination of these features that defines the essence of what new monasticism seeks to be. These features are explored in detail:

1. A formal written rhythm of life that includes seasonal aspirations, spiritual practices and postures (Chapters 4 and 5)
2. A commitment to being missional and contextual (Chapter 7)
3. A variant vocation to being a new monastic ‘monk’, ‘monk-friar’ or ‘friar’4 (Chapter 10)
4. A commitment to participative governance (Chapter 11)
5. Worship that is participative, contemplative and sacramental (Chapter 6)
6. A commitment to non-dualism and non-tribalism (Chapter 8)
7. A commitment to post-Christendom and servant discipleship (Chapter 8)
8. Deeply Trinitarian in belief and practice (Chapter 3)
9. Experimental and creative in spirit and practice (Chapter 6)
10. Radical yet fully integrated into the local church (Chapter 8)
11. Fluid at the edges yet deeply centred (Chapter 11)
12. Flexible and relational by being small and missional (Chapter 10)
13. Offering ‘whole-of-life’, incarnational and experiential approaches to Christian formation (Chapter 9)
14. Balancing affirmation of contemporary society with the calling to be countercultural for the gospel (Chapter 7).

SEMINARS

Mark Berry, as well as speaking to the Presbytery morning gathering on the 15th, will be leading seminars around the two areas: 1. Fresh Expressions: Life Behind the Hype and 2. Exploring New Monasticism:

10-13 August, Mon-Thurs, Dubbo
Rekindling Life and Faith. Rural Ministry Unit (RMU) Field Days 2015 Keynote Speaker: Mark Berry. Run by Uniting Mission and Education (UME) and the Rural Ministry Unit (RMU). For more on Mark Berry, the program, Registration, Accommodation and catering please click here, or ring 02 8838 8920; 0428 411 830 or email RohanE@nswact.uca.org.au

15 August Saturday
Presbytery meeting: Mark Berry will be our guest speaker at the next Presbytery meeting (venue and more detail later).

16-17 August
Sun 16 August 3-5pm Fresh Expressions – life behind the hype, the story of safespace. Mon 17 August all day workshop Fresh Expressions – Learnings after 10 years. Speaker Mark Berry – for an article about Mark and safespace see www.freshexpressions.org.uk/stories/safespace (venue and more detail later) Enquiries Geoff Wellington 6248 9311  0400831446