The Community of St. Etheldreda
Rule of Life Questionaire
The Community of Etheldreda was established in 2005 in order to help people live their daily lives by a simple Rule of Life. This rule is inspired by our monastic heritage.
Etheldreda came to Ely in the year 673 and founded a religious community of men and women. The quality of her life and the miracles attributed to her, even after her death, attracted pilgrims from far and wide, to what was then a remote and inaccessible place. Etheldreda was deeply influenced by St Wilfred, who was a great advocate of St Benedict's Rule. It is very likely that, from the beginning, Etheldreda's community followed a Benedictine pattern of living.
The Saxon monastery was destroyed by the Danes in 870 but rebuilt by Benedictines in 970. Around 1080 work began on what is now Ely Cathedral. The monks lived their common life according to the Rule written by St Benedict in the sixth century. It has been, and still is, the most influential of all the monastic 'Rules'. Heavily based on Scripture, it's wisdom and balance seem to span the centuries.
For us in the 21st century, living hectic lives with many demands in a complex world, the task of finding a simple rule to live by, to keep us rooted in Christ and living for him, is all the more essential. The principles behind Benedict's rule are just as relevant today as they were 1500 years ago.
Statue of St. Etheldreda
in St. Etheldreda's Chapel
Benedict's rule has at its heart a careful balance of the following major disciplines:
Listening: the call to listen to God through his word, through silence, through quiet days and retreats, through others, through prayer and through corporate worship (particularly the praying of the psalms) which is the real 'Work of God'
Obedience: the Latin root means 'to listen intently' to God. Those who hear the word are called to let it shape their lives.
Stability: important for us in an age of constant change - the need to belong & to be content within a stable Christian community, learning to live together in love even with those we find most difficult
Work: the call to reflect God's creative activity, including practical service, however humble, for the benefit of all
Transformation: a commitment to be changed, to see the need for it, to seek to realise all the potential that God has put within us, to be open to God's transforming love and grace in us, to become more Christ-like
The next meeting of the Community of Etheldreda will be on Saturday October 29 from 12.30pm - 4.00pm at Powcher's Hall. We start with a 'Bring and Share Lunch'. We will then begin to study together 'Living with Contradiction' by Esther de Waal.
Though first published in 1989, this widely acclaimed book is still in print & available on Amazon. It explores the Rule of Benedict and its importance for our daily living, individually and together. Our first session will cover the Prologue and the 1st Chapter. For your diaries, future meetings will be:
Saturday 14 January, 12.30pm - 4.00pm
Saturday 24 March, 3.00pm - 5.00pm followed by Evensong
Saturday 26 May, 12.30pm - 4.00pm
Saturday 28 July 3.00pm - 5.00pm followed by Evensong
Saturday 29 September, 12.30pm - 4.00pm
Saturday 24 November, 3.00pm - 5.00pm followed by Evensong
If you would like to know more about the Community of Etheldreda or come to our open meetings contact the Canon Missioner, Alan Hargave firstname.lastname@example.org
Rule of the Community of St Etheldreda
Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in your love and grace, and wanting to find a pattern of living to guide me in your way,
I commit myself to:
- listen: to God through daily prayer, reading God's word, praying the psalms, silence and regular times of retreat
- obedience: to listen intently to God, particularly with the help of a spiritual director or soul friend who can accompany me on my journey
- stability: by being part of an ongoing Christian community where I can meet Christ in others and be challenged by those who know me well
- work: in my daily life seeking to serve others in practical ways and proclaiming his kingdom of justice and peace
- transformation: by being prepared to change, to see the need for it in myself, to be constantly open to the transforming fire of God's love
For further details contact the Canon Missioner, Alan Hargrave email@example.com.
To find out more about spirituality and prayer
Please visit the Diocesan website or the Church of England website