We are a worshipping community | rooted in an ancient future
We are a liturgical community | anchored by an open table
We are a practicing community | sent beyond our walls
We’ve always found it a bit difficult to try to describe just what it is that makes saint benedict’s table tick. In our early days people often wondered if we might be defined as part of the emergent church movement, and then it more recently we’ve often been seen as a fresh expression congregation. We’ve never been entirely at home with either of these labels, or with labels in general.
So what are we? Lifting quite happily from the English theological writer Kenneth Leech, the following list of descriptors should give a sense of what we are about.
- saint benedict’s table is first and foremost a eucharistic worshipping community. Not only do we share each Sunday night in the bread and wine of communion, we are eucharistic in the sense that we are defined by our common life in the Body of Christ.
- saint benedict’s table strives to be a baptismal community, meaning that not only do we practice baptism but also that we understand ourselves to be called to live out the life of a transformed and alternative people.
- saint benedict’s table understands itself to be a biblical community, in which scripture is prayed and digested.
- saint benedict’s table is a community of rational inquiry; a zone in which truth is sought and heard, and in which dissent and dialogue are embraced as part of the process of discernment.
- saint benedict’s table is a community open to artistic and creative ways of truth-seeking, and so we embrace the vocation of the artist as being central to our common life.
- saint benedict’s table is discerning a call to becoming a community of expectation, restlessness, imagination and vision. We experience ourselves as a community of Advent spirituality: always on the hinge between the old and the new, the known and the unknown to which God is drawing us.
- saint benedict’s table continues to seek ways to rise to the challenge to be an inclusive gospel community, steadily asking the question, “Who is left out?”
We are positioned within the Anglican tradition, which for us is less about denominational labels or institutional jurisdiction—though we do exist as a congregation of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land—and more about being rooted in rich spiritual, liturgical and theological soil. This is the same soil that nurtured C.S. Lewis and T.S.Eliot, John Donne and George Herbert, Dorothy Sayers and Madeleine L’Engle and Desmond Tutu and countless others. Theologians and poets, musicians and novelists, reformers and rebels… all somehow linked through a tradition of breadth and depth and even the occasional controversy. It is good soil; the kind that gets embedded right into the skin on your hands as you work in it.