Toward a Mission AbbeyAugust 7, 2023
Around seven years ago, we at All Saints Anglican Church began to dream about what it might look like to develop our 10-acre property as an outgrowth of our mission “to share in the life of God for the life of the world.” And we did so by giving special attention to the two components of our mission: the inward or contemplative component, “sharing in the life of God,” and the outward or active component, “for the life of the world.”
An Abbey. The contemplative component of our mission led us to imagine developing our property into what we call an Abbey. An Abbey is a place for a community to come together “to share in the life of God” through rhythms of rest, learning, and prayer. It is a place of retreat and refuge from the world, a sacred setting affording the opportunity to encounter God through meditation, silence, and beauty.
As a place of communal prayer, we believe the heartbeat of our campus must be the regular worship of God in Word and Sacrament, which is why our new nave is placed in the center of our property. In future phases, other buildings and spaces will be developed around this location, including areas such as a prayer labyrinth, an outdoor Stations of the Cross, gardens, pavilions and patios, and even a small prayer chapel—places that will always be open to the parish as well as to the public.
As an Abbey, we also want to be a place for counseling and spiritual direction, for support groups and special events, and for retreats and various prayer services. It is our hope that our property will be a destination for those who long to be still and know the love and presence of God.
A Mission. The active component of our mission led us also to imagine developing our property into what we call a Mission. A Mission is a launching pad for ministering to our local community, a place from which we equip and train others to be the people of God “for the life of the world” through rhythms of service and generosity.
Furthermore, a Mission is a place designed for shared use. We hope to make many of our spaces—meeting rooms, offices, parish hall, kitchen, grounds—available to local ministries for work that contributes to kingdom expansion, and to do so on a regular basis so that our campus becomes a bustling hub of good works.
As a Mission, we also want to be a place from which new ministries develop, so that, after being birthed from All Saints, they might even become entities in and of themselves— ministries whose scope of service reach far beyond what our parish can do on its own. It is our hope that our property will be a destination for those who long to extend the love and presence of God to others.
Mission Abbey. As we continue to develop our 10-acre property along the lines of these two components of our mission, we hope that what emerges is both an Abbey and a Mission, or put together, a Mission Abbey—our church’s mission coming to life on this property at 212 McClellan Road.
Our desire is that the Mission Abbey becomes an open campus for all people “to share in the life of God for the life of the world”—to experience prayer and retreat, learning and formation, and service to others. Here are some of the types of activities that might occur at the Mission Abbey:
- Weekly Sunday services for All Saints Anglican Church
- Daily Morning Prayer
- Opportunities for Healing Prayer
- Meetings and Conferences for Nonprofits
- Individual Therapy, Counseling, Spiritual Direction
- Support Groups, Educational Opportunities, Spiritual Retreats, Art Festivals
In short, the Mission Abbey is not the new nave. It is not the various green spaces that will be scattered throughout our campus for prayer and contemplation. It is not the regular worship services or the manifold ministries happening at 212 McClellan. The Mission Abbey is all of this together and more; it is All Saints stewarding its property according to its mission “to share in the life of God for the life of the world.”