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The joy of years


A member of the Community of St Anselm, the new monastic movement based at Lambeth Palace in London, Steven Semanda, on lessons learned from spending time in spiritual retreat with religious communities

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One of the blessings of living at Lambeth Palace with the Community of St Anselm is the gift to visit religious communities around the UK. In doing so, to experience how other communities live and run their daily rhythms of prayer, work and other responsibilities.

I have been blessed especially when I recently had the opportunities to spend week-long retreats in Sclerder Abbey (Chemin Neuf Community) and Hilfield Friary (Society of St Francis). Interestingly, It is not the fact that I got to spend a few days outside of the noise of London to reflect, and pray and listen to God in silence, but rather the people that I met in these respective communities.

In my encounters, I experienced something so spiritually profound, that God still uses to talk to me. I experienced the joy, happiness, hospitality, and  love of God manifested in the elderly brothers and sisters in these communities.

The service, desire, passion and constant love for God expressed by the brothers and sisters left me in tears, asking myself I’m I really giving my all for God; if I’m giving my full service to God?

If I’m not physically challenged, what should stop me from serving the God I love?

For some brothers and sisters, they even have difficulty with speech, movements, and health-related troubles. But they’re serving the Lord with love, passion, and desire.

The guilt of being challenged has blessed me with a deepening desire to grow my relationship with God.

I feel God has been speaking to me through the elderly; challenging me to give more, love more, serve more, sacrifice more, pray more, and go out of my way more.

This experience has helped me work around some personal struggles and questions I had for God that otherwise, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to get answers for.

Who knows, maybe this is one way of having an intimate relationship with God.

First published in Anglican Communion News Service.

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