First novices join the Community of the Tree of Life in Leicester


The Community of the Tree of Life has warmly welcomed its first novices with the arrival of Isaac and Tom whose you can find out more about below.


Alongside the existing team, they will be establishing the daily rhythm of life and prayer for up to 16 women and men who will make up the first full cohort of young novices spending a year living in the community from September.


Tom and Isaac have committed the next six months to sharing life together with the community, and will spend the next few weeks in preparation before they all make promises together at a special church service.


Prior of the Community, Revd Rachel Bennetts, said: “We’re hugely excited to welcome our first two novices. They are choosing to take a faith-stretching journey by joining the Community. There is much to learn as we step into our new rhythms of daily prayer, explore opportunities to serve in social action projects and start to get to know one another.


“Over the next month we will be preparing to make the Community Promise, a commitment to shape our lives around a shared Rule of Life. Visit our website to see what this means (Click here).


“Everyone is invited to join our Community Promise Service will be at St Nicholas Church in Leicester on Saturday 2nd March at 2.30pm.”


Applications are open for Christians aged 20-35 of any denomination to join the Community this September. See:


Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow said: “I am delighted that after much prayer and preparation, we are now finally welcoming our first Novices to the Community of the Tree of Life. This ’seed community’ will help shape the rhythm and pattern of life for future Novices and through them, the rhythm and pattern of life of the diocese. I have always been clear that I want prayer to be the heartbeat of the diocese, and this group of young adults will help set an example and help us all learn. I truly give thanks to God for this growing vision.”


Isaac and Tom were welcomed by Bishop Martyn at a service for the Community at Bishop’s Lodge Chapel where all the Community members committed themselves to preparing for the promises they will make next month. They also attended the Installation service for the Revd Canon Dr Paul Rattigan, our new Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Cathedral Canon Chancellor.


As well as a routine of prayer, Bible study and shared community tasks, their first week includes introductions to the Diocese of Leicester and the Cathedral, formation study, a visit to a community of Benedictine sisters, attending a day-course at Launde Abbey and helping to run all-day prayer for people working at the Diocese and Cathedral offices in St Martins House, Leicester.


Isaac had been working as a green keeper at a golf course for five years before he joined the Community. Son of Great Glen vicar, the Revd Kim Ford, he went to school in Market Harborough.


Computer Science graduate Tom, who grew up in Northampton, has just spent a year on the CEMES Exploration internship in Kettering and has previously undertaken a six-month Youth With A Mission (YWAM) placement.


Isaac said: “I had been working for five years and felt it was time to start a proper Christian journey.


“I have been out of education for such a long time I don’t know what the study element of being a novice will be like and I look forward to getting into the wider public community because that’s what I love. I am Street Pastor in the city so talking about my faith is what I like doing most.”


As well as hoping to share the work of caring for the Community’s garden, Isaac is creative and loves hands-on upcycling projects such as his recent creation of a table made from old video tapes. He is looking forward to being involved in a community enterprise project involving old wooden pallets.


Tom, who describes himself as an extrovert who really loves living in community, said the biggest challenge for him might be the discipline of prayer and Bible study in solitude: “I am looking forward to a good prayer life, to learning more discipline and hoping that the Community’s nine practices become second nature.


“I find that doing what God is hinting at is usually a good idea. It’s exciting to see where God takes us. It’s in His hands!”


You can read about the Community’s nine practices under their Rule of Life to be ‘Rooted, Flourishing and Fruitful in Christ’ by clicking here.

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