a Live-in Youth Community at Lambeth Palace

Live a Year in God’s Time

  • Thursday, September 4, 2014

Adapted from Archbishop Welby’s website

The Archbishop of Canterbury will open Lambeth Palace in London to Christians aged 20-35. He invites them to spend a year living, studying, and praying at a historic center of the Anglican Communion.

Launching in September 2015, the Community of St. Anselm will gather a group of adventurous young adults from all walks of life, hungry for a challenging and formative experience of life in a praying community.

The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining part time. The year-long program will include prayer, study, practical service and community life.

Members of the community will live in a way the ancient monastics would recognize, drawing closer to God through a daily rhythm of silence, study, and prayer. Through those disciplines, they will also be immersed in the modern challenges of the global 21st-century church.

Lambeth Palace seeks a prior to pioneer this new venture and direct its worship and work. The prior will work under the auspices of the archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community.

Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Stanley Hauerwas reminds us that the Church should always be engaged in doing things that make no sense if God does not exist. The thing that would most make no sense at all if God does not exist is prayer. Living in a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or risk-free. Through it people subject themselves to discipline, to each other in community, and, above all, to God.

“I expect this venture to have radical impact — not just for the individuals who participate but for life at Lambeth, across the Church and in the world we seek to serve. This is what we expect in following Jesus. I urge young people to step up: here is an open invitation to be transformed and to transform.”

“Archbishop Justin is passionate about prayer and about community,” said the Rev. Jo Bailey Wells, chaplain to the archbishop. “The renewal of prayer and religious life is the first of his three priorities, and that is what the Community of St. Anselm is all about.

“We are inviting people from all around the Anglican Communion — and beyond — to live a year in God’s time. There are no qualifications for joining the community except a longing to pray, to learn, to study together the things of God, and so to be stretched in body, mind and spirit.”

“Archbishop Justin longs that Lambeth Palace be not so much a historic place of power and authority, but a place from which blessing and service reach to the ends of the earth.”


Thanks to the US-based web-site ‘Living Church’ for this extract describing the initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, inviting a group of young people to live-in for a year at Lambeth Palace. Others will be invited to attend and participate on a part-time basis. 

Already there is a community of prayer attached to Lambeth Palace, relied upon by Archbishop Welby as a resource group of ecumenical support for the ministry emanating from the Archbishop and his Staff. This new initiative is to enable a group of 20-35-year-olds to ‘spend a year living, studying, and praying at a historic center of the Anglican Communion’. 

From the perspective of local churches, where the number of older people exceeds those under 35 years of age, this new initiative should help to bring about a rejuvenated vision of the Mission of The Anglican Communion Churches in and to the world. With a core of dedicated young people determined to make a difference to our understanding of a sacrificial quasi-monastic life-style. It cannot but do good – not only for the participants, but for the image of a Church that may seem to have lost its relevance for the emerging youth of modern-day society.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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1 Response to a Live-in Youth Community at Lambeth Palace

  1. murraysmallbone says:

    This would seem to be an attractive foundation by the ABC.
    Perhaps the inclusion of some older brethren for Benedictine stability,as well ?
    One hopes some Anglo-Catholics will volunteer, to balance earnest young Alpha types.
    The ABC will become the first married Abbot, but a travelling one? Not ideal for an Abbot of a Benedictine House.
    Perhaps, having absorbed some of St. Anselm’s theology;the ABC could counter-plant some of the brethren in Jensenite “missions”.

    Jesu mercy! Mary pray!

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