Monday, February 14, 2011

This might be news to you

In a recent post, Andrew aka Tall Skinny Kiwi, who has been back in NZ for a spell, writes:

We are staying for a few days at Ngatiawa which is a monastery in the new-emerging fashion. This used to be a Presbyterian camp in a previous life but has been bought out and changed over and broadened in its use to become a monastic center for protestant youth, with a connection to the Anglicans. Good people here. There are actually 6 urban monasteries in this area under the Urban Vision banner and one rural monastery which adds some balance to the ministry. Ngatiawa is that rural piece of the puzzle - land, cows, gardens, daily prayer in a nice chapel, dung between your toes, etc.

In case it's news to you (as it was to me) that there was a 'new-emerging' monastery called Ngatiawa (which appears to be the joining together of the Maori tribal name Nga Tiawa but may not have particular connections) the following paragraphs from the NZ Urban Vision people may help:

We are a contemporary monastery set in the beautiful Reikorangi valley – inland from Waikanae, on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington. Ngatiawa seeks to give priority to nurturing a contemplative life within UV Vision and be an open community for others to experience. We offer prayerful rhythms, retreat and solitude. We enjoy and care for our land, seeking to live more sustainably. We also offer training and team building, as well as plenty of hospitality and recreation in a new way.

Our guest house hosts groups each week from Urban Vision, as well as other friends and neighbours, and church and community groups. Individuals also come to join us for retreat, support, recreation or to explore issues of faith, justice and community and personal wholeness. At least annually we host larger gatherings and festivals, and hope to be a place of connection for others committed to God's love and justice.

All this is great, although the more I read on the site the more it all sounds like what monasteries have been doing pretty much since they began. Certainly they were often more contemplative than active, but reaching out to the marginalised and working justly isn't exactly 'emerging' in regard to the history of monasteries. Just quibbling...!

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