There are many aspects to what we do at New Eden Ministry. There are the Sunday reflections, like this one, which people either find on Facebook or in their email. There is my practice of spiritual direction, which happens over zoom with people around the world. There are a few special interest groups on Facebook for Celtic Christianity, New Monasticism, and other things. But right now I would like to speak to you about what may be the most precious part of what we do – The Virtual Chapel and the community which is found there.
The Chapel community has become more than I ever imagined it could. The people who I share my time with there have become true friends, in the most spiritual sense, and I love them dearly. I live in a very small rural town in northern Ontario and there aren’t many people who share my interest in mysticism, contemplation, and Celtic Christianity locally. The fact that the Chapel transcends international borders and connects people in far flung parts of the world means that we can come together with people who do share our values and interests and form the kind of community which makes the contemplative life possible.
I asked a few people who are regular attenders in the Chapel to share what our community means to them in a few short words. This is what they had to say:
The Virtual Chapel meetings are my spiritual community. In this group of friends I feel seen and accepted. I am so thankful to learn with and from people who are kind, intelligent, thoughtful, artistic, inclusive and who have integrity. It’s been a positive influence on me in many areas of my life.
I am not quite sure how I stumbled on “The Virtual Chapel” and the New Eden community – it was probably a friend’s Facebook post. Yet for me, it was like the wardrobe that led to Narnia. The community is a “thin place” for me. Here, I am among like-minded seekers for the Otherworld that we know exists beyond the shadow we inhabit. With this community, I am finding the secret of joy within my heart, the pearl that I would give everything for.
Being involved in the virtual chapel has broadened and deepened my faith, introduced me to new ideas and new authors, and given me friends to share the journey with.
There are few people that I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with on very deep levels, resonate with in often ineffable ways, and grow with in a very real sense of spiritual journeying and in practices. The Virtual Chapel is that space we share. I wouldn’t have imagined feeling so close to dear ones so far away, but even over Zoom and in online dialogues they feel closer than sitting across my room. And just as the internet reaches beyond borders and distances, the Chapel is a safe space which transcends spiritual segments and welcomes a beautiful diversity of traditions (and non-traditions), orientations, races, ages, regions and backgrounds. A splendid little garden of folks!
In a time when community was difficult (if not impossible) the Virtual Chapel became community for me. In fact, unlike a local congregation that exists in real space the Chapel community is comprised of like-minded folks seeking to actively explore and deepen their walk. In that way, finding the Chapel is like finding “my tribe”.
You can click HERE to learn more about the Chapel. This link explains what we do, when we do it, and how to participate. There are a few different kinds of meetings with varying amounts of silence, sharing, study, and prayer. You are most welcome to join us and we hope to see you soon!