Some of our members and others involved in our life and mission share their experiences of The Wellspring Community.
Anna McDougall, member of Wellspring’s Formation and Mission House:
Living in The Wellspring Formation House has been one of the most fruitful and important times in my faith journey. Living completely for God in this way has enabled me to encounter Him more deeply in everything I do – whether that be in personal or community prayer, working with teenagers and young adults, or serving soup to guests at our Scripture study days. The stability of a prayer routine shared by others encourages me to choose Him daily and to allow Him to transform my heart. The constant support of fellow community members inspires me to allow Him to work through me wherever I am each day. The experience of service, in so many forms, enables me to see Christ in all His children and to be His hands and feet to those that I meet. Many opportunities whilst living in community have challenged me and dared me to step out in faith. But ultimately these moments have helped to shape and form me more into the child of God that I was created to be.
Ben & Katy Gray, married members of The Wellspring Community:
We have both been part of The Wellspring Community since its foundation, and when we married we made the decision that it was the right context for our marriage. Although living as part of a community is not without its challenges for a married couple, we have been enormously blessed through this way of life; we value the common prayer, the honest friendships, and the working together for something greater than ourselves. It has provided us with a Gospel-centred environment in which to root our relationship and challenges us to try and live out our married vocation each day to the full.
Jane Ireland, former member of Wellspring's Formation and Mission House:
After being brought up a Catholic, God broke into my life in a dramatic way in my final year of university. It was then that I realised that I no longer wanted to just attend mass on Sundays and nothing else, nor fit in my faith around the other things in my life. I felt called to live my life with Christ at the very heart of it. I was introduced to The Wellspring Community and realised something simple and beautiful in the way they were living their lives, their foundations built on Christ, and knew it was where I was meant to be and who I was meant to journey with. I spent a year in the Mission and Formation House and have found it one of the most forming and fruitful experiences of my Christian life. Living in community I learnt what it meant to love and be loved, to serve and be served. The people I encountered, both members of the Community and those we worked with on mission, helped me to realise who God had created me to be and the heart he had given me for Him and his children. With my life structured by prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist I realised God longed to be a personal God and not distant. Thanks to my time in the Community, and all I experienced there, I found a passion for working with young adults and students through Deep Waters and the retreats at Worth Abbey. I am now continuing to discern where this path will lead me as I journey forward as a Lay Chaplain in Canterbury. The Wellspring Community’s charism will continue to play an important role in me becoming the person God has created me to be.
Mary Hunt, former member of Wellspring’s Formation and Mission House:
For me, responding to the call to live a community life and to join the Wellspring Community’s Formation and Mission House was a choice for Christ, for choosing to say ‘yes’ to Him daily. Daily prayer became the place where I learnt to listen deeply to who God was and who He had made me to be. Sharing this journey so closely with others was a huge blessing – there is something beautiful that happens when we choose to walk the Christian journey together, sharing our joys and struggles. Learning to serve Christ in one another and those we meet through our mission work, helped me to discover the great joy of being a missionary disciple. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to take the time to discover the deep and personal love of God, a greater self-understanding and the importance of community.
Br. Nicholas Crowe OP, Dominican Friar:
I spent one year in the Formation and Mission House back in 2006, immediately after my graduation from university. At that time I had only recently returned to the practice of my faith and was looking for a context that would help me to become better anchored in the life, teachings and traditions of the Church. In this respect the year in Brighton was more successful than I could ever have anticipated. The rhythm of prayer, community life, and mission as well as an in depth exposure to the wisdom of the Benedictine monastic tradition helped me to clarify the sense of attraction I felt to the monastic life, and inculcated a new enthusiasm for Gospel living. By the end of the year in community I understood that God was calling me to join the Dominicans, a preaching order of Friars. I entered the order in 2008, and made solemn profession in 2012.
Jess Smith, member of Wellspring’s Formation and Mission House:
After University, I felt the call to community living and so moved into The Wellspring Community’s Formation and Mission House. The greatest impact has been the chance to grow through both a personal and shared journey in prayer. My prayer journey has been far from easy and is often met with distractions and a hopeless sense of going nowhere. But looking back I can map out the path Christ has begun to lead me on over the last 18 months. For me personally, to pray is to experience life at its most real. Of great importance has been the realisation that God dwells not only externally but also in the interior depths of my heart. At the same time, praying the Divine Office together in community has widened my understanding of ‘living’ scripture as well as highlighting the gift of family and community that is present throughout the wider church.
Joe Cook, member of Deep Waters and Seminarian for Arundel & Brighton Diocese:
In Brighton I learned to pray which has led me to pursue a calling to the priesthood. Wellspring events and formation have hugely inspired my life of prayer. Praying with other young adults once a week at Deep Waters has helped me to persevere in praying each day, and retreats to Worth and Taize led by members of The Wellspring Community have helped me go deeper in prayer. Wellspring come together to sing the Evening Prayer of the Church each weekday: joining them when I'm in Brighton always uplifts me. Prayer, I discovered, is the only way to move towards the fullness of life and daily conversion.