Monday, 24 November 2014

Our Origins
The idea first started to formulate when I facilitated a Common Prayer Party in Toronto in 2010 with FreeChurch inside the beautiful liturgical space of St. Stephen's Anglican Church. I was inspired by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and their Common Prayer book of a 'liturgy for ordinary radicals'. This was the formative stages of the New Monastic Movement which is one of the expressions of the Emerging Church impetus. There have been many other influences not the least in Jacob Needleman's Lost Christianity and Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy for guiding me to explore a 'reMonk' spiritual lifestyle as aspiring to an intentional Christian Community focused on deeper forms of praxis discipleship and prayer.

Skete Style New Monasticism
The Skete style (today found more in Eastern Christianity) of community in its earliest 4th century form had a small chapel surrounded by monastic kellia or cells where the monks lived and did their personal rule of prayer and some labour and handiwork. They were mentored by spiritual fathers and mothers who guided the communities. It is considered a middle path between isolated and communal forms of prayer community. New Monasticism is the term many are using to explore the attempts to rework old rhythms of prayer, rules of life and liturgical resources in creative life-affirming ways in a new era. We need examples of those drawing on monastic traditions finding resources for a post-Christendom culture of discipleship and Church community. See our web page strong-tower.ca

 St Irenaeus of Lyons
St. Irenaeus was a 2nd century Church Father who was passionate about nurturing Church community alive in the Spirit. In 2001 I published my MA thesis on his notion of Church and Community as an example of a rule of life praxis approach to orthopraxis (integrating theory and practice) that spoke to his life paradigm leading to a book I published called A Church Fully Alive. Irenaeus was very pastoral and ecumenical and combined the best of an Eastern and Western Spirituality. He emphasized unity and wholeness as a spirituality of growth in being human best fostered in Church Community. More contemporary Christian spiritual mentors such as the Canadian Mystics Catherine de Hueck Doherty and Linda Miroslava Sabbath have in many ways carried on this tradition. All embody the famous Irenain dictum, 'The Glory of God is a person fully alive, and the Glory of a person fully alive is the vision of God.'

Where we are Located
We are located in the beautiful Quebec Hills of Gatineau not far (20 minutes) from downtown Ottawa our Nations Capital

Simplicity, Silence and Contemplative Prayer
Much of the profound search into a genuine spirituality for today is for deeper forms of prayer that transforms and heals the brokenness and woundedness we find in ourselves and in society. This inner cultivation of simplicity and silence of the ‘Mind of Christ’ in the heart is often called contemplative prayer. Our Mission to be ‘sent out’, issues from our inner discipline to connect with the Spirit and thus be able to live out and proclaim the radical Reign of God as a compassionate solidarity of justice with those in the neighbourhood and our world who are the least, the last, and those who have lost their way in brokenness

Daily Work
We seek to find ways to pay the bills in Christian Ministry or secular work as ordained in prayer and servant hood towards the building up of community and society

Retreat Times
Are encouraged personally, communally and as workshops that are promoted throughout the year. See our schedule of events for time and places

Building Intentional Community
The desire of our lifestyle is to encourage others to join us in various ways, in our Chapel prayer life or virtually through the internet web page. We consider this the essence of the Christian lifestyle in the building of the inner Church in the creative power of the nurturing Holy Spirit

Spirituality and Renewal
We seek to explore the recurrent theme of 'spirituality as renewal' through the contexts of biblical and liturgical spirituality led by and discerned by the Spirit who brings fullness of life and direction in the compassion of Christ and in the wisdom of the God as Father and Mother

Retreat Space and Retreat Workshops and Donations
We appreciate your financial support to promote this spiritually life affirming ministry and use of our Retreat House Annex space (overnight or week long stays)   http://www.st-irenaeusprayerhouse.ca/contact.html

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