Community

Living in community

The Christian community at Scargill lives and works together for the benefit of others. We try to model a life of self-giving, love, prayer, service and hospitality.

It is, after all, the sort of life Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and in the ‘greatest commandment’: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… [and] love your neighbour as yourself.”

Why live in community?

In sharing our lives like this, we hope to be transformed and help our guests be transformed. As Jean Vanier, founder of l’Arche,  put it: “A community is only a community when most of the people in it have made the passage from ‘the community for me’ to ‘me for the community’.” We believe this way of life reflects the heart of the Holy Trinity of God.

What’s it like to live in community?

Community life is as messy as it is rewarding. We call it ‘chaordic’; where chaos meets order. It can be intimate but also difficult; it involves laughter and tears. It’s a place of warmth and acceptance, but also where people who have nothing in common must learn to rub along together. Every day is a lesson in grace. Members work hard to seek the fulfilment, peace, happiness of every other member within the community at Scargill, as well as of our guests. Together we learn to be forgiven and to forgive, to celebrate life, to share our troubles and joys, and to live as Jesus asked us to.

What’s a typical day in community like?

We begin our day with prayers at 8am, followed by breakfast. Then we begin work around the house or the estate at 9am. At 11.00 am we have a break shared with our guests and work again until lunch at 1.00 pm. We pray again at 1.45 pm, returning to work until 4.00 pm when we share afternoon tea with our guests. Then it’s back to work until 5.30. There is an option of sharing 15 minutes of quiet reflection in the chapel at 6pm. At 6.30 pm we serve our guests supper & share our meal with them. We also participate in evening entertainment laid on for our guests, and there is a commitment that we will spend at least two of our evenings joining in with our guests.

House teamWhat sort of work do community members do?

Typically, a community member has specific responsibilities on one of the teams (such as Kitchen, House, Estate) but they also help generally to host our guests and to support one another.

Why is this sort of movement called ‘new monasticism’?

New monasticism’ is a term which describes the kind of community life we share at Scargill. The work we do and the way we live is similar to traditional forms of monasticism, except that we make the commitment for a shorter period of time (months or years, rather than forever) and we can choose to be single or to be married, which is why there are children in our community. Also, we wear normal clothes rather than robes!