The Celtic church affirmed and used the ministry of the Anamchara or soul friend. A Soul Friend needs to be a mature Christian who is in sympathy with the aims of the Community. (S)he does not need to belong to the Community of Aidan and Hilda but it is clearly helpful if they do. Each member of this Community will have a Soul Friend to work with them in developing a Way of life that is personally suited to them. The Way relates to the following ten areas of life, and is reviewed at agreed intervals.
1. Life-Long Learning
- Daily Bible reading is at the heart of this way of life.
- It is essential that study is not merely as an academic exercise.
- Whatever is learned should be lived.
- Celtic practice of memorising Scriptures, and learning through the use of creative arts is encouraged.
2. Spiritual Journey
- Meet with our Soul Friend at least twice a year.
- (S)he is someone who is familiar with the Community of Aidan and Hilda and seeks to discern with us where we are on that journey, what the Spirit is doing in our lives, and how God is leading us.
- The Soul Friend gives guidance on two disciplines which the Community considers to be important:
(a) Regular retreats, with regular days of quiet and reflection, and also an annual retreat. (b) Pilgrimage to tread in the shoes of Christ or his saints in order to make contact with the many rich experiences which are to do with being a pilgrim. Such pilgrimages draw us into deeper devotion to our Lord Jesus and will inspire us to mission. Members might seek out communities of prayer.
3. Rhythm of Prayer, Work and Re-creation
- Prayer: The use of daily patterns of worship and regular prayer is encouraged. Ways of praying will vary according to temperament. The Community encourages a renewal of 'all kinds of praying' (Ephesians 6.18), from contemplative prayer to celebratory praise.
- Work: We welcome work as a gift from God. Every member should engage in work, whether it be the routine activities of life or paid employment. Work motivated by values which conflict with the Way should be avoided as much as possible. In humility we accept what God gives us.
- Rest: The hours of rest and recreation are as valuable as the hours of prayer and work. The Lord Jesus reminds us that 'the Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath' (Mark 2:27). In the Scriptures even the land was given a Sabbath in the seventh year (Leviticus 25: 3-5). The need for rest was built into creation (Genesis 2: 1-3). A provision for this kind of rest, which is both holy and creative, should be part of each member's personal Way of Life.
4. Spiritual Initiatives through Intercession
5. Simplicity of Life-style
- We wish to 'live simply that others may simply live', to avoid any sense of judging one another
- Common responsibility is to regularly hold before God our income, our savings, our possessions, conscious that we are stewards, not possessors of these things, and making them available to him as He requires.
- A simple life-style means setting everything in the simple beauty of creation. Our belongings, activities and relationships are ordered in a way that liberates the spirit; we cut out those things that overload or clutter the spirit.
- We are not seeking a life of denial for we thoroughly rejoice in the good things God gives us. Our clothes and furniture should reflect God-given features of our personalities.
- There is a time to feast and celebrate as well as to fast. Our commitment is to openness. We stand against the influence of the god of mammon in our society by our life-style, by our hospitality, by our intercession, and by regular and generous giving.
6. Care for Creation
- God's creation as essentially good, but spoilt by the effects of human sin and satanic evil.
- Ecologically aware, to pray for God's creation and all his creatures, and to stand against all that would seek to violate or destroy them. We look upon creation as a sacrament, reflecting the glory of God, and seek to meet God through his creation, to bless it, and to celebrate it.
7. Healing Fragmented People and Communities
- The spirit of self-sufficient autonomy is renounced, and holistic approach and ministry of Christian healing are encouraged.
- Seek to become more fully human as we grow in Christ, and we believe that 'the glory of God is seen through a life fully lived' (Irenaeus).
8. Openness to God's Spirit
- 'The whole created order may be reconciled to God through Christ' (Colossians 1.20).
- Living as one Christian community so 'that the world may believe' (John 17.21).
- The goal of the way of life is to develop a disciplined spirituality to be effective in witness to Christ in the world.
- The Celtic church evangelised from grassroots communities which springs naturally from the community of the local church, and out of the Community.
- Believing that the Holy Spirit leads the church into new initiatives to bring God to the people.
- Faith is shared wherever opportunity is given. Evangelisation is not simply a duty, but because the Spirit of God is giving us a heart for the lost.
- Mission also includes speaking out for the poor, the powerless and those unjustly treated in our society, and to minister to and with them as God directs.
So which out of these 10 points do you see as important for your faith communities?