We all know that times and seasons bring change, and as we experienced changes in recent years it became clear that the original vision statement for the House of the Open Door needed to be brought up to date.
The original vision was written in the late 1970s when all the Community lived together on one site. Some members now live separately from the residential Community, and we recognised that the vision statement needed to reflect this change, as well as other changes, such as the development of the Retreat Centre.
Behold I have set before you an open door which no-one will be able to shut. (Rev.3:8)
This is the verse that inspired the name of our Community, and the vision statement will hopefully clarify the meaning of the Open Door, which has sometimes been understood to be a literal, physical open door. Jesus is the open door through which we are able to enter into Gods presence, to live in eternal Glory. It is by entering in through this door that our lives witness to the truth of the Gospel. The original vision always included spreading the Gospel and this remains at the heart of our life together.
Jesus meets with us personally, and has promised that when He sets us free, we are free indeed; so our vision also includes the hope that every individual be free in body and spirit, to be the person God has created them to be. We pray that living in this freedom will witness to the joy and hope of the resurrection.
Discovering our Charisms
In trying to describe our particular vision as part of the body of Christ, we discerned three main charisms of our Community.
The first is prayer and worship, which could be described as the most important. The residential Community meet at the beginning of every day to praise and worship God together and we believe God has given us a vision of a life of prayer to be lived not only in the chapel, but throughout the day, to deepen our calling to be a House of Prayer for all nations.
The second charism is ecumenism. Although Community members are predominantly Roman Catholic, the Community has always had members from different Christian traditions, and it is important for us to be part of our own parish communities.
The third charism, hospitality, is not just the physical hospitality we can offer through the Retreat Centre. One definition of hospitality is “the overflowing of a heart that has to share what it has received“(“Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of Love” by Daniel Homan OSB and Lonni Collins Pratt). When we have received so many blessings from God it is impossible not to want to share them with others. We hope to be a place where our hearts will be open to one another and to our visitors, as St Benedict instructed, that all should be welcomed as Christ.
Write down the vision
In 2012, we took time to pray about the re-wording of our vision (see the Vision page).
As visions are given for particular times and places, we know this is not written in tablets of stone. It is our vision for the present time, and it is our desire to follow it as faithfully as we can, and to live out our lives together as part of the wider body of Christ.