All Saints Mission Abbey

August 30, 2018 | by: Wes Gristy | 0 comments

Posted in: News

To say we hope to build a “Mission Abbey” is to say that our intention is to develop our property as an outgrowth of our mission “to share in the life of God for the life of the world.”

  • The word “abbey” suggests a community devoted to the contemplative tradition, spiritual formation, immersion in Scripture, and rhythms of rest, worship, and prayer—thus, “sharing in the life of God.”
  • The word “mission” suggests a community devoted to action, equipping one another for ministry, and working together to make an impact on the world around them—thus, “for the life of the world.”

The more specific elements of our Mission Abbey vision naturally spring from those personality traits of All Saints that we as a church continue to nurture. They will guide and shape the development of our property into a Mission Abbey.

Healing Hospitality

As All Saints has been a place of Healing Hospitality for so many, so should our buildings and spaces continue to reflect that characteristic. We hope our Mission Abbey will be a retreat and refuge from the world, a sacred setting affording the opportunity to encounter God through meditation, silence, and beauty. Therefore, we desire more of a “campus feel”: we imagine an accessible, safe, and inviting environment, and we want to be attentive to how spaces connect with and flow into each other. Landscaping and the proper placement of parking will be important, as well as clear entry points and signage so that everyone feels welcome.

In the spirit of hospitality, we also want our facilities to be designed for shared use. We hope to make many of our spaces (meeting rooms, office space, parish hall, kitchen, grounds) available to local ministries for work that contributes to kingdom expansion, and to do so on a regular basis so that our campus is a lively place of activity for the community, seven days a week.

The Church as Family

As people experience the healing hospitality of All Saints, they also discover The Church as Family, a multi-generational parish that fosters close relationships across generational lines. Therefore, our hope is to avoid isolating certain age groups from the rest of the church, while acknowledging a few key exceptions like nursery care and Children’s Church. Other aspects to consider are adjacent play and adult spaces, family-friendly amenities like nursing rooms and changing stations, safe nursery facilities easily accessible to the nave, large gathering spaces both inside and out, a kitchen to prepare “family meals,” and a garden to grow flowers and produce.

We also hope to worship in one service on Sundays to strengthen the family feel of our church, which means a new nave will need to seat more than our growing average Sunday attendance, but less than would frustrate family-like relationships. We also recognize that healthy families typically grow, and so we want to be ready and eager to manage that growth, not by building bigger buildings, but by sending people out to start new families, that is, to plant new churches, which is why we are currently pursuing church planting.

Spiritual Formation in the Anglican Way

The family of All Saints is a part of the Anglican tradition, which means we are committed to Spiritual Formation in the Anglican Way. The heartbeat of our parish family is the regular worship of God in Word and Sacrament, so the construction, layout, and design of our nave will be critical, reflecting the formative role that architecture, church tradition, and beauty play in our spiritual lives. We also want the nave to communicate peace, reverence, and sacramental presence without losing the hospitable and family-friendly nature of our gathered worship experience.

Since the communal practices of daily prayer, solitude and silence, meditation, and Scripture are imbedded in Anglicanism, we also hope that they would influence the development of the property in other ways. We imagine spaces for contemplation, such as a prayer labyrinth, an outdoor Stations of the Cross, gardens, pavilions and patios, an amphitheater, and even a small prayer chapel that is always open both to the Parish as well as the public.

A Heart for Service

As a community that exists for the life of the world, we are grateful that All Saints has always had A Heart for Service. As mentioned above, we want our facilities to serve other ministries, to be a community center of sorts. Currently, our existing building is used for adoption training (ASAP), staff meetings for other organizations, play therapy for local social workers, an AA group, and various community forums. Our hope is to increase these types of activities and partnerships.

Furthermore, we hope our Mission Abbey will bless our Parish and community through what we produce from our land. We do not want to be mere consumers or even mere inhabitants, but co-creators with God as he intended from the beginning. While we recognize that our labor in the world as individuals is a key part of being faithful to this calling, we also hope there will be a degree of openness and flexibility with our space and facilities to accommodate various creative endeavors that might arise—growing produce in our garden, flowers on our grounds, brewing beer, making soaps or salsa, creating prayer beads, etc.

Financially Generous and Responsible

All Saints has a history of being Financially Generous and Responsible, which is the same posture we aim to have throughout the development of our property. This means that we will develop our campus over time and in multiple phases. Each phase will consist of a capital campaign that secures pledges from our people and only takes on a manageable amount of debt, something that would hinder neither our regular ministries nor our annual practice of giving 10% of our pledged budget to outreach ministries and 10% to our diocese. We also plan to continue to designate monies to our church planting efforts even as we develop our property.

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This vision for how All Saints Anglican Church hopes to develop its current property is both rooted in our Mission & Personality as well as adapted from ancient elements of monastic care and community that embrace the fullness of humanity: mind, body, and soul. It is a vision that will span many years, but important initial steps will occur in the months to come. The final character and details of each component will depend on how we respond together to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we seek to follow Jesus.