Our story began in 1971 when Worth Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Sussex, created a Lay Community. The monks invited lay men to come to Worth and live alongside the monks for a period of time. Very quickly, the invitation was extended to women and a pattern of life was established. A small group of men and women became ‘residents’ living at Worth for typically a year. They created a living community which prayed alongside the monks during the day in the monastic offices. Their main role was to offer hospitality to visitors, particularly groups from university chaplaincies who would come to Worth at weekends to experience monastic living. Over time, a community (Worth Abbey Lay community) was created of people who came time and time again to Worth Abbey attracted by prayer, formation and deep relationships formed with both monks and fellow lay community members.
In 2003, we became a community independent of Worth Abbey. As the Lay Community of St Benedict, our spirituality has evolved. Prayer, formation and community are at the heart of who we are as a community. Today, we meet several times a day to pray the Office online. We continue to gather in person for meetings and retreats throughout the year usually in our homes or at different monasteries in the UK. Online we also offer various opportunities for study and reflection. As an inclusive community, we welcome everyone to join us to pray and explore their faith in a supporting, safe and non-judgemental space.
We dream to inspire a new generation of fans of St Benedict. To find a way to make the wisdom of St Benedict relevant to today's world: the stability and rock of community in a world which is lonely and ephemeral; a daily rhythm of prayer linked into a life of work; being led into relation with Christ through reading Scripture and praying the psalms; developing a listening heart; learning to live with one's own and other people's weaknesses in love; welcoming all as Christ himself, no matter where they come from or whoever they are.