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By: Ray Simpson

A Way of Life: For the Third Millennium

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False ways litter the world. Even the great religions have become prisoners of colonial frameworks or of a selfishness that betrays their essence. As a result, our planet faces climate catastrophes, nuclear holocausts, and internet surveillance that makes us prisoners of unseen predators. There is a Way, however, whose time has come.

It is ingrained in the psyche of humanity. It resonates with Perennial Wisdom, with Chinese who understand it as Tao, with the Buddhist Eightfold Path, the Five Pillars of Islam, indigenous peoples whose insights have been summarised as The Harmony Way, and above all with Jesus who declared ‘I AM the Way’ (John 14:6) and whose first disciples were known as ‘followers of The Way’, based on Jesus’ Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7).

Whereas traditional monasticism restricted its vows to celibates cut off from the world, new Monasticism makes vows rooted in the Beatitudes accessible to everyone. One reason Benedictinism survived through the second millennium is because its founder wrote a detailed commentary on its rule. Here the founding guardian of a new monastic community writes a commentary on its Way of Life which he has reflected on daily for over a generation – and which promises to flourish through the third millennium.

Ray Simpson was educated at Woking Grammar School for Boys, London University and London College of Divinity. He was ordained into ‘the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church’ at Lichfield Cathedral, founded by Saint Chad of Lindisfarne in 669.

 

In 1978, he was uniquely commissioned by Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, United Reformed Churches and The Religious Society of Friends, with a Salvation Army band and ‘the right hand of fellowship’ from Community and Pentecostal churches to establish ‘one family of Christians for one neighbourhood’ at Bowthorpe, Norwich, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

 

He is the Founding Guardian of the dispersed International Ecumenical Community of Aidan and Hilda. The CORE of CAH comprises followers of the way from Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed and Emerging expressions of the worldwide Body of Christ and other faith communities.

 

He lived on England’s Holy Island of Lindisfarne for over two decades where he established the Celtic Christian Library and the Community’s retreat accommodation for pilgrims.

 

He has been the Community’s principal liturgist and Celtic Studies tutor, is the author of over forty books on prayer, spirituality and new monasticism and has travelled and lectured widely on three continents. His popular auto-biography, Monk In the Marketplace, was published in 2021. For information about his daily prayer tweet, weekly blog, downloads and books, see: www.raysimpson.org.

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