Celebrating Community traces the history of Lee Abbey, a community founded in Devon in 1946. Now a nationwide movement, the community's mission and calling is to share Christ through relationships, through practising community living, reaching out to others, playing a distinctive part in renewing and serving the church, and developing a deeper relationship with God.
What do we mean when we speak of 'community'? For Christians, community is not an optional extra but God's intention for his people. It isn't just a new buzzword, or a good strategy for church growth or a new way of doing church, although it may be all those things. Community begins in the heart and very nature of God, in the three persons of the Trinity relating to each other, and calling us into relationship. It lies at the centre of what we are seeking to do when we come together as 'church'.
But community living is not necessarily easy; it can be a costly adventure. Here, past and present members of the Lee Abbey network share their experiences of the realities of community life - its joys and challenges. Their stories show us in practical and real ways how community living, with all its risks, can truly be God's gift to today's world.
'This book is more than the story of the Lee Abbey Movement. It is the story of how Jesus and the Holy Spirit are acting in our world today: renewing and revitalizing the Church, the assembly of all those who believe in Jesus and seek to follow Him. The Church is called to announce good news to the poor and to the world. The Lee Abbey communities live and announce this good news. The themes of the book are central and important, not only for Lee Abbey because they are part of their story, their mission and their identity, but also for all communities and dare I say for all Christians. Community and hospitality, worship, healing of hearts, living diversity, conflict management, formation of leaders, responding to the needs of young people. These themes reveal a vision and some very down-to-earth insights that can be useful and even necessary for all communities however different they may be.' -- Jean Vanier