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Seven Sacred Spaces​

Author George Lings
Publisher BRF £10.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780857469342

What does the monastic tradition have to teach us today with especial reference to the layout of church buildings? George Lings identifies seven sacred spaces within a monastic setting and describes their purpose and present-day relevance: Cell/privacy, meeting God; Chapel/worship; Chapter/decisions; Cloister/meeting; Garden/work; Refectory/hospitality; Scriptorium/study, private prayer. A discourse then follows about the continuing relevance of the monastic tradition in both its Benedictine and Celtic forms, which leads to a reflection on the possible growth of third order post-denominational Christian communities. The final chapters describe how this thesis was tested out in various discussions in communities including the Northumbria Community of which the author is a long-standing member. There are detailed suggestions about how an existing church building might be modified to better achieve its core purpose, but beyond this there is a deeper reflection on the historic links between the monastic tradition and present-day mission and discipleship, and the possibility of the development of a ‘new monasticism’ of networks of communities of faithful souls. This is a compelling, informative book that is thoroughly recommended.

Reviewed by MIKE ABBOTT

New monasticism