'The renewal of the church will come from a new type of monasticism which only has in common with the old an uncompromising allegiance to the Sermon on the Mount. It is high time men and women banded together to do this'
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a letter to his brother
The Northumbria Community describes a network of hugely diverse people, from different backgrounds, streams and edges of the Christian faith. We are united in our desire to embrace and express an ongoing exploration into a new way for living Christianly - a way that offers hope in the changed and changing culture of today's world.
Inspired by, drawing from, and living in the spiritual tradition of monasticism, the Community is geographically dispersed and strongly ecumenical but with an identity rooted in the history and spiritual heritage of Celtic Northumbria.
In seeking God as the 'one thing necessary' our continuing quest for a 'new monasticism' is the heart of our life whether alone or together. It is this blending of 'a prayer that is quiet and contemplative and a faith that is active and contagious', lived out in the ordinariness of everyday life, which forms a foundational basis for our growth and development.
The Community is the gift of God to those whose hearts are set on pilgrimage and whose lives are constantly being redefined and redirected by living the questions, 'Who is it that you seek?' How then shall we live? How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? Keeping these questions alive sustains the ongoing journey of discovery into the vocation of a new monasticism.
The Northumbria community was established to provide companionship on that journey, and to outline a way of living centred in our Rule of Life of Availability and Vulnerability. The Rule, along with our Daily Office (Celtic Daily Prayer), reflects the influence of the monastic tradition in the development of Community ethos.
The ebb and flow of 'the mixed life' of both the contemplative and active, of monastery and mission, withdrawal and engagement, solitude and Community, together makes the Northumbria Community ethos. Some of the Community live and work for a period of time at 'The Nether Springs' at Hetton Hall in North Northumberland (close to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne).
The Nether Springs is the Mother House and administrative centre of the Community. It is a training school which gives a focus for our spirituality and a major expression of our life in the context of offering heart, home and hospitality through a shared life, daily monastic disciplines and a programme of retreats and teaching about Community life, Celtic and Desert spirituality, etc.
As a Community of the heart, all Companions (wherever they may be) are united on this inner journey of seeking God, knowing self, in order to learn how we can better live with others and serve the world of our influence whether it be great or small, 'wherever the Father leads'.
'Dynamic and erratic, spontaneous and radical, audacious and immature, committed if not altogether coherent. Ecumenically open and often experimental, visible here and there, now and then but unsettled institutionally. Almost monastic in nature but most of all enacting a fearful hope for society.'
William Stringfellow in his book 'An ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land'