A Community of the Heart
As a geographically dispersed Christian Community we are in essence ‘a Community of the heart’. Although expression of our Way for Living will be diverse, we share core values, just as those in a family share DNA. We are united by our Reason to Be: our Rule for living of Availability and Vulnerability; and the rhythm of our daily life, seeking God as we move between the pattern of our Daily Offices and our engagement with the world. Underneath the wealth of diversity the heart is the same.
Being a Community of the heart brings its own challenges. As with any vocational life there needs to be balance and each Companion must find a way to hold in tension the demands of vocational life within their own context. We draw on the analogy of the human heart to help us understand the importance of keeping aspects of our vocation in balance. We see the heart itself as our calling to seek God for Himself, the purpose that should always remain identifiable at the centre of who we are. Just as all the chambers of the human heart must be in good working order for the heart to do its job, so must the vocational life be a healthy balance of relationship, reflection, resolve and rule. We need our relationships to be supportive, loving and affirming but if we become too inward looking we risk losing touch with the wider community and the world. It is important that our lives are reflective but we must take care not to become theorists only. On the other hand, if we allow our resolve to act to drive us we are in danger of meeting our own needs at the expense of others and we will not be living what we teach. Our Rule is a helpful framework for us, as we seek out how to live, but it is not an end in itself; it is provocative rather than prescriptive.
To be part of Northumbria Community calls for an engagement with the world in which we live. Since the earliest days of Northumbria Community, we have understood that our ‘ethos’ is connected to our ‘ethics’. So our core values shape the habits or practices of our daily lives, lived out and expressed in the specific contexts in which we live and in the larger context of our consumerist, postmodern, global culture. Since we do not seek God as an end in itself but in order to be salt and light in the world, we are committed to understanding that world and how to bring the gospel to it through living a new monastic spirituality.
We believe that we have been brought into existence as a Community in order to call people back to a relational God, seeking Him daily, as the one thing necessary, in the cell of our own hearts. We carry a monastic heart, called to the cell, but always as contemplatives in a world of action.
We believe that we have been called, as a new monastic movement, to contribute to the re-imagining of church. We seek to find a different way, in a different culture, to be faithful to the gospel. We began as a small prophetic voice, crying in the wilderness, but are now operating in an apostolic building phase, building on foundations of old, seeking to maintain the prophetic voice, and operating as a sign of a re-imagined church.
We are looking to God to help us interpret our culture in order to understand how to be church. We see ourselves as being both catholic and apostolic in the task of re-imagining the Church. We are part of the wider Church but also an expression of church as, for many Companions, the Community is their only expression of belonging to a church.
If you feel a sense of resonance, or ‘home’, with the Northumbria Community, there are two ways to be in Community with us, as a Companion or as a Friend