About the Society
The Society of St. Columba was established in February 2015 by a small group of Christians, exploring a more contemplative activist expression of the Christian faith. St. Columba’s daily rhythms of prayer, work and reading offer a simple, tangible way to focus our spiritual journey in Christ.
Be alone in a separate place near a chief city, if thy conscience is not prepared to be in common with the crowd.
The Monastic Church of Britain and Ireland was a vibrant, indigenous ecclesiology that emerged towards the end of the 4th century and became the dominate communal expression of Churchmanship throughout the Celtic fringes of Britain’s post-roman world. A spirituality rooted in the traditions of the eastern desert fathers and its eremitical call to ‘be alone with Christ’. This call to prayer, aloneness and spiritual discipline created a dynamic and vibrant indigenous expression of the Christian faith in the British Isles that we now associate as Celtic Christianity. Its artistic expression, missional zeal, scholastic devotion and creational integrity continues to reverberate down through the centuries to the modern era.
With this historical inspiration, we are now working to re-create the Columban principles, so typical of the Celtic monastic Church, for the 21st century at Chanctonbury on the south coast of the British Isles. By following St. Columba’s communal practice of prayer, work and reading, we aim to walk humbly upon the earth and devotionally in our work and study.
The core focus of the Society’s work will be establishment of Columba’s Barn. Set in the heart of the South Downs National Park on the Wiston Estate, Columba’s Barn is located on the northern side of the iconic Chanctonbury Ring. A grade II listed barn and adjoining buildings offers a truly wonder filled location for the exploration of indigenous British Christian spirituality. The essence of Columba’s Barn will be to provide a location where members of the Society, guests, visitors and pilgrims can come to ‘be alone with Christ’. With the adjoining 20 acres of land, this remote, yet accessible, location embodies the Columban spiritual drama of liminal landscape, prayerful isolation and creational encounter.
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