Contemplation as a Gift to the Church: Humbler Church, Bigger God

A four week series exploring different examples of how contemplation is a gift to the church. It can sometimes feel like the church is preoccupied with methods of church growth, discussing strategy, developing mission action plans, and resourcing leadership. During lockdowns it fascinating to see the resurgence of contemplative prayer and contemplative practices as people sought new ways to deepen their roots in the Christian faith. Religious community life for centuries has pointed to the riches of the Christian tradition.

This series of four Monday afternoons 2-3.30pm will explore four contemplative communities that have emerged in the last decade that seek to anchor people in the roots of the Christian tradition with an openness, a humility and a joy. Come and immerse yourself each week in the charism of a particular community. Come ready to share your experiences of contemplation being a gift to the church.

Monday 7 February, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM GMT. Register at

Week One will look at the Nazareth Community and the Companions of Nazareth. The Nazareth Community was established at St Martin’s in March 2018, now with over eighty members. This workshop will be led by Revd Richard Carter and Revd Catherine Duce, and is an opportunity to learn about the life of the community, and to consider how it could be applied in your own contexts.

Richard is the leader of the Nazareth Community and author of The City is My Monastery: a Contemporary Rule of Life; published by Canterbury Press in 2019. Revd Catherine Duce is Chaplain to the Companions of Nazareth which is a worldwide worshiping community that gathers online to help people to root their faith and local service in the 7 S's of the Nazareth Community - silence, sacrament, scripture, service, sharing, sabbath and staying with.

Monday 14 February, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM GMT. Contributors tbc.

Monday 21 February, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM GMT. Register at

Week three focuses on St Thomas' Community in Derby. St Thomas Church is based in the heart of multicultural inner-city Derby. Over the last ten years, as St Thomas church building has been restored, the St Thomas’ Community has emerged. They are a small group exploring a new approach to church based on a deep commitment to prayer, hospitality and mission. St Thomas’ Community are affiliated to the Society of the Holy Trinity. This is an acknowledged Anglican Religious Society which is a community of communities focused on: Working in urban areas, intensifying people’s discipleship, serving the mission of the local church and growing the Kingdom of God. The twelve members of St Thomas’ Community have adopted a rhythm of life based on eight commitments: To prayer and worship; to learning and reconciliation; to service and hospitality; and to work and wellbeing.

Presenters: Revd Dr Simon Cartwright – Prior. Passionate about seeking to share the love of God through mission and social justice. Simon has over 25 years experience in urban ministry - starting in regeneration and now as a Prior of the Community. Parish Priest and Area Dean of Derby City. Simon has a particular interest in urban theology, new monasticism and community development. In his spare time he loves working with wood, camping and sitting around a bonfire. Beth Hawkins – Sub Prior. Beth has been part of the St Thomas’ community from its beginning, prompted by her interest in local mission and new monasticism. She has spent that last 5 years working as a stay at home mum to two children. Before that Beth mainly worked in libraries, which happily combined her love of books and desire to help people.

Monday 28 February, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM GMT. Register at

Week Four will be led by the contemplative worshiping community of Foundation in Bristol. Foundation is a contemplative Christian community in Bristol, within the Anglican tradition. Our worship is shaped by ancient and contemporary sources, ranging from monastic and mystical traditions to creative and multimedia reflections. With a vision to be a Mystical/Contemplative, Socially Engaged, Inclusive and Creative community, we seek to be shaped by, and embody, these values through our shared life together.

Contributors: Revd David Stephenson - Priest Accompanier of Foundation Bristol, Co-Interim Area Dean Bristol City Deanery, Vicar of Cotham Parish Church and St Paul’s Clifton. Simon Rotheram - Member of Foundation Bristol.

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Date published

19th January 2022

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