Skip to content Exit mobile menu

New Forms of Monasticism?

Saturday 9th November 2019
The Waldegrave Suite, St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Within the contemporary world we have witnessed a growing body of Christians living outside the cloistered life, who are seriously considering the benefits of monasticism. This conference will bring together practitioners and academics in fields of theology, sociology and spirituality to explore new forms of monastic ways of living and expression.

Guest speakers

  • Dr Bernadette Flanagan
  • Canon Dr Robin Gibbons
  • Anthony Grimley
  • Rev’d Ian Mobsby
  • Dr Stefania Palmisano
  • Prof Jonathan Wooding


  • 9:30am: Arrivals, Registration and Coffee
  • 10:00am: Introduction: Anthony Grimley
  • 10:15am: Professor Bernadette Flanagan: New Monasticism: A Beguine Option?
  • 11:15am: Break
  • 11:30am: Rev’d Ian Mobsby
  • 12.30am: Panel Discussion
  • 1:00pm: Lunch (Senior Common Room)
  • 2:00pm: Canon Dr Robin Gibbons
  • 3:00pm: Short break
  • 3:15pm: Sarah Pillar and Sarah Hay: Holding a safe space for a dangerous journey with a wild God!
  • 4:00pm: Anthony Grimley
  • 4:45pm: Finish


The day will run from 10am to 5pm and will include talks, workshops and plenary forum. It will cost £35 including a buffet lunch.


My presentation will explore whether the Beguines are a prior manifestation of an impulse found throughout Christian history to live a form of life that resembles Christian monasticism without some of the more visible elements. Indeed a range of less institutional yet seriously committed forms of  spiritual life are gathering around the title the “Beguine Option.”

There are elements of the new monastic turn which may be more accurately captured in the "Beguine Option". and I will aim to  highlighting the similarities between movements in the past and new monastic movements in the present.

Early adventures with the School for Monastic Living

Sarah Pillar and Sarah Hay, two of the newly appointed leaders of the Northumbria Community, will recount the evolving story of the Community’s School for Monastic Living – how the idea was originally conceived, its early evolution, resonance and growing significance to a network Community that God has been prompting to re-align itself ‘for such a time as this’.

The Northumbria Community is a geographically dispersed, network Community. It is monastic in nature with a Rule and Way for Living, which evolved out of a vocational call to follow Christ with Availability and Intentional Vulnerability, asking questions about discipleship in post-modernity.

Much of the teaching for this Way for Living began in small face-to-face settings. However, a considerable growth in the Community has given rise to the challenge of how to teach and live out core values, maintain connections, and a sense of belonging when distance and location make gathering difficult.

This talk will consider how the development of a School for Monastic Living is currently addressing this issue and explores the proposal that creating spaces for transformational learning is possible, despite the dispersal.  The experiential learning of discipleship and following the Community’s Rule is indeed enhanced by the different contexts in which Companions (members) of the Community live.

SHARE TwitterFacebookLinkedIn
Saturday 9th November 2019
The Waldegrave Suite, St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Find out more

For more information about this event please email

SHARE TwitterFacebookLinkedIn