On Sunday 21st May 2017, members and participants of The Wellspring Community, from St Luke’s Church, in Peckham gathered together to make their first seasonal vows in committing to live out a Rhythm of Life.
Friends and family of the community, as well as the communities of St Margaret the Queen, Streatham, St Thomas, Ipswich and members of the Society of St Francis, amongst others, attended to support and bless the Wellspring community in its journey ahead.
The Rhythm of Life service, led by the Bishop of Southwark, Bishop Christopher Chessun saw twelve members and six participants commit to vows centring around prayer and devotion, learning and reconciliation, service and hospitality, and work and wellbeing.
These commitment vows are rooted in ancient monastic traditions where work, rest and play fall around a daily rhythm of prayer, worship and service. Each community member - although from diverse cultures and backgrounds - has made these vows not only as a commitment to go deeper in faith, but more importantly, to live out a distinctively monastic spirituality of prayer and action.
The vows also represent for us a longing to live a rich spiritual life in a society that is increasingly secular and individualised. Moreover, it represents a longing to live a life together in which a rhythm of prayer is deeply embedded into our normal, everyday working lives.
Following in Franciscan footsteps of loving hospitality and service, the community has spent time in and around the local area listening to the needs of the local community. Out of this, we hope to reach out and support those who are struggling (financially or otherwise), as well as the lonely and marginalised. We also seek to reach out to young, non-church goers in the area who are looking to explore spirituality through contemplation and meditation.
Making these commitments marks a journey of almost two years dreaming, discussion and discernment of what it would mean to live as a New Monastic community in the context of Peckham and Camberwell in South London.
In establishing a name and identity for the community, there was a deep sense that the name and identity of the community should tie in with image of a well, or more generally of water. The image of a well is also geographically symbolic, as historically, there used to be a well in Camberwell, which some believed to have healing powers.
We therefore felt it was important to centre the name around a source or place where one can find their sense of wellbeing; spiritual, physical and mental. Moreover, for the Wellspring community to be a place where one can encounter the presence of the Holy Spirit and find renewed life through the spirit.
We are all excited for what the future holds, and how we can make a difference, not only to our own spiritual lives, but the lives of each other and the wider community of Peckham and Camberwell.
To find out how you can get involved or support what we are doing, please click here.
- Catherine Rowland, community member