A group of young Christians will move into Lambeth Palace next year as part of a new religious community unveiled by the Archbishop of Canterbury today.
The 16 young people, who are yet to be selected, will live, study and pray at the palace in south-east London as the Community of St Anselm from September 2015.
They will live a monastic lifestyle with Archbishop Justin Welby serving as the community’s Abbot. Lambeth Palace is in the process of recruiting a prior.
The French Catholic community Chemin Neuf, which moved into Lambeth Palace this year at the Archbishop’s invitation, will support the project.
Archbishop Justin Welby predicted the venture would have a radical impact on the Church.
“Living in a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or risk-free. Through it people subject themselves to discipline, to each other in community, and, above all, to God” he said.
His Chaplain, Jo Wells, added that the Archbishop wanted to revitalise Lambeth.
“Archbishop Justin longs that Lambeth Palace be not so much a historic place of power and authority, but a place from which blessing and service reach to the ends of the earth,” she said.
The 16 will be supported by up to 40 part-time community members who live and work in London. Applications for community members from anywhere in the world, full- and part-time, will open early next year and must be from people aged between 20 and 35.