Br Charlie CR

Here's a short history and insights into the unique aspects of life in Community of the Resurrection. Historically, the Community had branch houses across the world, but are now based in Mirfield, Yorkshire.

Br Charlie CR

Who are the Community of the Resurrection?

The Community of the Resurrection (CR) was founded on St James Day (25th July) 1892 by six young priests in the chapel of Pusey House, Oxford. They were led by Charles Gore who was already a well known figure in the church as a scholar and preacher. The early brethren were strongly committed to Christian Socialism and in 1898 the Community moved to Mirfield in West Yorkshire to make their home among the working class communities of the industrial north. In 1902 the Community opened the College of the Resurrection for those who could not otherwise afford the training required for ordination to the priesthood. In the same year the Community began its work in South Africa, establishing and working in parishes, schools and theological colleges, work which it soon began in neighbouring Zimbabwe as well. The Community became well known for its stand against apartheid. 

There were at one time branch houses in Sunderland, Cambridge and London as well as in Borneo, Wales and Barbados. Throughout its life the Community has been actively engaged in supporting parishes in the Church of England through preaching, conducting missions and leadings retreats. In 1968 the Community entered into covenant with the Roman Catholic Benedictine Community of St Matthias in Trier, Germany, which was renewed in 1995 and continues to this day. This relationship, feeding into the Community’s own efforts to revise its Rule, culminated in a more forthright recognition of Community’s Benedictine and monastic identity and a new place for the Rule of St Benedict in the Community’s life. 

In 2006 the Community withdrew from South Africa and began and a new phase of its life centred on the mother house in Mirfield. A number of other groups and institutions now make use of the site, including courses which provide theological education and training for ordination. In 2015, the Society of the Resurrection was founded, allowing men and women, married and single, along with the Community’s oblates and Companions, to participate in the Community’s life of prayer and fellowship while continuing their daily lives.

What's unique about the Community of the Resurrection?

The relationship with the wider Church

The Community has a unique relationship with the wider Church of the England through the College of the Resurrection. The special character of the formation provided for students of College — living alongside the Community, participating in its worship, sharing its life — has ensured a vibrant relationship with parishes and dioceses across the Church of England. The presence of the staff and students of the College also allows the Community to maintain its tradition of making brethren available to parishes across the country (and further afield) to assist in their celebration of the Holy Week. 

The Community church and worship

When plans for a Community church were first drawn up at the beginning of the 20th century, the Community set their sights on a structure of gargantuan proportions. Fortunately, the work was interrupted by the First World War and subsequent financial constraints meant that a smaller structure was completed in 1938. Substantially reordered in 2012, the resulting space remains an imposing and inspiring setting for the Community’s most important work: the celebration of the divine office and the Eucharist. The Community celebrates a four-fold daily office (Mattins, Midday Office, Evensong, Compline), through which it maintains a living relationship with the Church’s rich tradition of liturgy and chant, as well as a daily celebration of the Eucharist. The size of the Community’s church ensure that not only the students of the College, but guests, visitors and many others are able to participate in the Community’s ongoing offering of worship.

The commitment to study

From its earliest days, most notably with the controversial publication of the volume Lux Mundi, edited by Gore, the Community has demonstrated a willingness to engage with, and occasionally to pioneer, new ideas. Though only a few brethren have been first-class theologians, the Community maintains a commitment to the value of study across a range of fields. Novice brothers are required to study for no less than two hours a day, and all brothers are required to submit a monthly reading list to the Superior. The Community also maintains a library of over 60,000 volumes.

Community of the Resurrection
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