Our Vision Statement
“A spiritual retreat, education and well-being centre housed in a small beautiful medieval building and grounds, with a resident community offering a unique place for restoration and inspiration. Here, as an individual or a group you can find support in your enquiry for your own particular contribution towards building a better world for all.”
40 Years of Community
In 1980, founders Bishop Steven Verney (1919-2009) and Rev Fred J Blum (1914-1990), set out to create a progressive centre for spiritual exploration, open to all faiths and none, “ a place to stop and think (be)”, underpinned by individual personal development experienced through communal living. The Abbey community, as it stands today, has steadily grown and developed from these original visions of the founders.
Rev Fred J Blum was a German Jewish refugee from the Holocaust, who became a psychotherapist and later an Anglican priest. Right Reverend Stephen Verney was an Anglican Bishop and highly innovative theologian. They established the Abbey as a place for spiritual development, exploration and transformation of community, and as a centre for workshops and events for the public.
1980 – 2020 40th Anniversary Programme
In 2020, we celebrate 40 years of stewardship with a special programme of events to which we warmly invite you. We’ll be reflecting on the 40 years of “people power” that has restored The Abbey.
Marking this anniversary we are celebrating the leap of faith of our founders Rev Fred J Blum and Bishop Stephen Verney, who with the support of others, notably Pearl Mitchell (1926-2017), saved The Abbey from dereliction in 1980. It is testament to that leap of faith that we still have use of this splendid Grade 1 medieval courtyard manor today.
Documenting the history of their collaboration and preserving it for posterity is our tribute to them and to the members of the residential community and the council, who together with volunteers from across the village and around the globe, have ploughed thousands of hours into The Abbey’s restoration over several decades and continue to give so freely and generously of their time to this wonderful building’s ongoing care.
In thinking of the next 40 years we wonder how The Abbey can best serve our local and wider community. This question will run through the gatherings and offerings in 2020 and we invite you to help shape the work of The Abbey in the future. Click here to see our list of 40th Anniversary events.
Living and Working in a Spiritual Community
There are no vacancies currently however periodically space for new community members arise. Should this be of interest please read the information below, and firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit for tea and a tour with a community member.
The most important criterion for community members is ability and willingness to work together to serve the wider Abbey Community and the long term mission of The Abbey, to enrich our work as a group, maintain our beautiful building and grounds and strengthen links with the wider community.
Being a member of the residential community involves maintaining The Abbey’s unique and welcoming ethos through aspects such as cooking, cleaning, maintenance and to be available to help the successful running of programme and hospitality events.
This requires qualities such as initiative, maturity, flexibility, empathy and willingness to contribute to the wider work of The Abbey.
We work on the basis of a range of shared, collaborative principles, processes and practices which are explained in more detail in a separate document, available on request.
Experience and expertise in areas such as hospitality, gardening, buildings, office management and marketing will be valuable and we will do our best, both to make use of, and enable you to develop, these in your time at The Abbey.
We are very open to new ideas on how best to develop the work of The Abbey.
Experience indicates that those who commit to the life of the residential community gain enormously from doing so in a range of ways.
Members of the residential community receive a modest stipend to cover living expenses, in addition to accommodation and food. While there is a possibility of part-time membership of the community, to enable members to pursue other interests, we would normally expect at least a 4-day a week commitment, though, as indicated, flexibility in terms of roles and hours is an important aspect of membership of the community.
Deciding whether there is a good fit between what The Abbey and individuals can offer each other takes place through a discernment process, involving discussion and a period of time living and working at The Abbey through volunteering.
We will be happy to explain this process and answer any other queries, if this is something that you would like to explore.
Other ways of supporting the work of the Abbey
- Join the Abbey Company as a member and participate in our Annual General Meetings and Community Days
- Join the Abbey Council and participate in the long term management of The Abbey
- Make a financial contribution to The Abbey