Lots of places are beginning to offer a year that is different for young people: combining contemplative practice, study, service, and community. I’m not concerned who is copying whom – or whether they are spontaneously springing up in different ways in different places.
I like the concept of Humanitas (video above), where young people live in a retirement home with older people there.
What I hope we can stimulate is some more lateral thinking like this.
Our church (and many churches) run retirement homes, retirement villages. Couldn’t we encourage these to be hubs of contemplative living? Here are people with a lifetime of spiritual growth, wisdom, and experience. It is often a ‘thin place’. As with Humanitas, all gain by having young people live amongst them.
Young people could commit to living in our church retirement homes and villages, with a facilitator, for (say) a year – growing in their own spiritual life, some appropriate study, a sense of community, and the ‘service component’ would be caring for (and being cared for by) the older people there.
A daily rhythm of prayer would be there for the older residents to participate in at whatever frequency they wanted to.
This idea, then, is yet another model for forming contemplative leadership.
You, too, might think laterally from this and come up with even different ways of living.
- St Anselm’s – A Year in God’s Time
- renewing religious life?
- What Might We Learn from Jesus’ Character Strengths?
- Contemplative Community
- Gap Year With a Difference