A Companions Community has been set up to support and pray for our new monastic community which will give young adults a chance to spend a year in prayer, Bible study and service, living together in Leicester adjacent to the site of the Greyfriars monastery of Richard III’s time.
The team will be supporting the novices who will begin the fledgling Community of the Tree of Life in Leicestershire in the new year. The novices will come from all Christian denominations and will be young men and women between 20 and 35-years-old. You can read more about the Tree of Life and how to apply to join the community at: https://leicestertreeoflife.org
Introducing the Companion Community
Revd Rachel Bennetts is Prior of the fledgling new monastic community which will become a house of prayer for the whole Diocese, working in partnership with churches across Leicestershire as well as the Cathedral. She is eagerly looking forward to the completion of the works on the Community House in Peacock Lane and its opening later in the year, but a Community is much more than a building and the Community of the Tree of Life is already beginning to take shape.
Rachel writes: “From the beginning I had a vision of a small group of people who would pray the Community into being and play an active and supportive role in the life of the novices giving us a sense of family and continuity from one year to the next.”
Over recent months, the Companions Community has formed bringing together a mix of people with a range experiences and gifts to share.
As Prior, Rachel has been working in the diocese for a year now developing the foundations for the Community. Her background is in teaching; she brings a love of contemplative prayer and her experience as a parish priest.
Alan and Lesley Humphrey will be serving as the Warden and House Manager, living in the Community House and supporting the day-to-day life of the novices. Alan brings his skills from IT and Finance management along with his more recent experience as parish priest at Leicester Forest East.
Lesley brings her organisational and pastoral experience from many years of teaching and being a Head of Department.
Louise Davis worships at the Cathedral. She has a background in youth ministry and currently works as the Project and Communications Officer for Germinate: the Arthur Rank Centre, helping rural churches and communities flourish.
Rosie Woodall is Bishop’s Chaplain and Chaplain to the Community. She will be alongside the novices offering pastoral support and brings her experience as a liturgist and parish priest.
Andrew Nutter is the Project Manager for the development of the Community House. His previous roles include Quantity Surveying and being bursar for a large boarding school- very useful experience, but life in the Community House won’t be quite like boarding school! His wife Trisha brings her creative gifts and is an experienced Occupational Therapist who specialises in work with children who have suffered brain injuries.
Mirjam Ngoy currently works as Learning and Development Manager for Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey. She is training to be a Spiritual Director and will be supporting the development of spiritual accompaniment for the novices.
Lusa Ngoy is our diocesan BAME Mission and Ministry Enabler. He brings his experience as an educator and parish priest with insights for creating a culturally diverse community.
Mirjam and Lusa’s children, Maisha and Milao Ngoy add energy, affection, giggles and abundant life to the community gatherings.
Everyone is pictured here at Hothorpe Hall on a recent retreat. The Companions are meeting fortnightly over a meal to pray and explore the Rule of Life that the Community will adopt.
“We love the intergenerational mix in our gatherings,’ said Rachel: ‘The children enliven our times together, there’s a lot of fun as we pray, plan and eat together. We’re full of expectation for the next stage of the Community’s life as we prepare to welcome the novices.’’
The staff team will be completed in the Autumn with a Novice Guardian whose role will focus on teaching and formation. An announcement will follow soon on this appointment.
The residential community will begin in January 2019. Applications are open now and you can read more on the website: https://leicestertreeoflife.org/application-process/