First Promise Service for the Community of the Tree of Life


Members of the Community of the Tree of Life have sought God’s blessing at a Promise Service led by the Bishop of Leicester as they begin placements around the city and county.

Tom and Isaac were the first novices to join the fledgling community last month. After a month preparing, they and the nine Companion members of the Community made the Community Promise.

More than 80 people came to the service with representatives from local churches and friends from other religious communities: Order of the Mustard Seed; 24/7 Prayer; Leicester Franciscans; Community of the Holy Cross, Loughborough; the House of Prayer Nottingham; and Launde Abbey.

Their pledge was a commitment to shape their lives around a shared Rule of Life at the special service hosted by St Nicholas Church, Leicester, on Saturday 2nd March.

Visit the Community’s website to see more about their nine practices under their Rule of Life and commitment to being ‘Rooted, Flourishing and Fruitful in Christ’ by clicking here.

Placements begin

The novices are now beginning their first Church Placement. They will be serving in the Launde Deanery on Sunday’s and Monday’s for the next few weeks. This will involve Worship Workshop in a primary school and helping the Reality Youth Bus team.

Also this week they will begin their social action commitment serving alongside volunteers at The Centre Project providing support to vulnerable people. You can read more about the project here.

You can hear Tom and Isaac talking about setting out on their new monastic adventure in this Radio Leicester interview if you listen at 1 hr 7 minutes in after clicking on this link. 


More about the Community of the Tree of Life

The seed community is establishing the daily rhythm of life and prayer for up to 14 Christian women and men who will make up the first full cohort of young novices spending a year living in the community from September.

Applications are open for Christians aged 20-35 of any denomination to join the Community for 12 months from this September. See more by clicking here.

Prior of the Community, Revd Rachel Bennetts, said: “It’s been an exciting few weeks getting the way of life underway. We are all on a faith-stretching journey as we go forward together in our rhythms of daily prayer, living together and social action projects serving people across Leicestershire in prayer and in practical ways.”

Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow said: “These promises mark an important moment for the fledgling Community. 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 and the blessing of prayer and loving service they will bring to the whole diocese.”

As well as a routine of prayer, Bible study and shared community tasks, the Community’s first weeks have included worshipping with the Cathedral and some other churches across the Diocese; daily prayer and Bible study, visiting communities of Benedictine and Franciscan Sisters, a day-course at Launde Abbey and helping to run drop-in prayer room for people working at the Diocese and Cathedral offices as well as staff at St Martins House conference Centre in Leicester.


At the service Community members were presented with their Tree of Life cross, which they each created by hand from wood before the service.


Prior’s Introduction

The following text was used as an introduction by Prior Rachel in the Order of Service for the Promise service:

We are a ‘new monastic community’ drawing our inspiration for living the Gospel today from the great monastic traditions of the past. Here we find wisdom for living a balanced rhythm of life, practising spiritual disciplines in community and centring our lives in prayer so that we may be rooted in Christ and fruitful in mission and service.

Our ‘Rule of Life’, based on John 15, provides the guide for the shared life to which we are committing ourselves in this Promise Service. The Community is still in development, we are more of a sampling than an oak at this stage (!), so the Promise we take today is for an initial period of 6 months. It is our intention that in the future the Community Promise will be an annual commitment.

The Community currently has two forms of membership: Companions and Novices. The Companions commit themselves to living the Rule of Life and supporting the residential part of the Community. Novices are young adults (aged 20-35) who join the residential Community each September to undertake a transformational year of study, prayer and service.

The Community House, set in Cathedral Gardens, will be the home of the Community and a house of prayer for the diocese. The staff team and first Novices will be taking residence at Easter.

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