We look backwards and forwards in time. At the beginning of the year, I had a personal time of quiet retreat which helped me to get a finer feel for how the Spirit is leading the Community at this key moment, building on what the Community has achieved.
John Main died 40 years ago: at the time it felt it was an end, a devastating loss. It was, but also a beginning. Ten years later, in a true Pentecost moment, we named the World Community for Christian Meditation (which was already growing strongly around the world) as a ‘community of love’ as Fr. John had predicted.
Looking to the Future
Thirty years, then, since the baby was christened! First, I want to thank you for being part of this journey. The unity of a shared vision and the deep power of the silence of meditating together propels us forward. We may not all be here for the 60th anniversary. But others will. We are focusing on succession at all levels. I feel inspired by the committed energy of the next generation of leaders and teachers who will guide us towards it.
We are holding a Community-wide consultation later this year which will clarify where we are and what the future might look like, as always, from the standpoint of the present moment.
Bonnevaux: 2019 to Today
Nearly four years ago, we moved into the Abbaye building at Bonnevaux. A year ago, the Guesthouse opened where we have been holding retreats, health seminars and other events for growing numbers. Of course, we are always welcoming individuals who just want to come and join in the daily rhythm of the new form of Benedictine life growing here.
We have a strong team of staff and volunteers that have made this possible. They are at different levels in our organisation, in Bonnevaux and across the world. The members of this group give of themselves with dedication and commitment; they ensure we are moving forward with efficiency and professionalism.
Growth and Enrichment
Our work with younger meditators on all continents is rejuvenating. Outreach with the marginalised and vulnerable, but also opening conversation with leaders of influence, builds bridges and unity in a polarised world.
The Oblate Path is appealing to many around the Community as a response to the need for a rule of daily life grounded in tradition and adapted for a world that often seems to be falling apart.
The WCCM Academy, with its two-year programme, offers a unique kind of training in contemplative living for the 21st century. (Personally, I hope to give more time to work with it, to write and to give more attention to the new generation of teachers we are blessed with.)
Our Strength is Our Unity
In four short years, Bonnevaux’s growth has been amazing. It has become a centre of unity for a far-flung and diverse Community. It is a living proof of the Community working together, being supported by so many with their time, treasure and talent. We started with nothing and, through selfless donations, we have been able to save this beautiful place for the future as a centre of peace – and we have not borrowed a penny! We do need more to complete the Contemplative Cloister which will include additional accommodation, a Contemplative Health Centre and a library. We hope to start work on this sometime next year.
This doesn’t mean the Community is not also fragile and in need. (Who isn’t?) But I see there’s a strength in that too. Somebody asked me once if I felt successful. I can truly say I don’t. But I am amazed at what, as a whole, our Community in sixty-three countries has become and how it is planning to grow in new ways ‘in service of the kingdom’. Our strength is our unity, and I thank you for being part of that.
Understandably, the generous response to Bonnevaux reduced donations to the general operation of the Community. This covers the entire range of our mission including Inreach (renewing Christianity through a recovery of the contemplative) and Outreach (bringing meditation to the secular world).
Moving to Financial Stability
We have good plans and potential for rebalancing the ship of our finances by increasing revenue. We have reviewed costs and find no waste. To significantly reduce them would mean losing some of our team, each of whom is doing wonderful work. It would also restrict the growth which drives revenue. We have an excellent group of Trustees and financial advisors behind all this. I am very grateful to them as we all are. We report to the UK Charity Commission annually and our books are open to view.
We Need Your Help
Bonnevaux will have special needs. But for now, I am asking if you can help keep the rest of the WCCM on a good financial foundation. In true Benedictine style, we aim for self-sufficiency. To keep this balance, we are appealing to you and every member of the Community to contribute as generously as you can.
The Academy, Meditatio, the School, scholarships and training for young meditators as future leaders and teachers, our great team of Directors in special fields, assistance to developing communities for translation and other support, developing online courses, our online programme, keeping retreats and events as affordable as possible – these are some of the fruits of meditation in our Community that you will be supporting.
How You Can Support Us
To help decide what you can give, here are some categories for support. A regular donation, of course, gives us greater encouragement for planning.
⦁ A recurring monthly gift
⦁ An annual gift
⦁ A one-time donation