The Face of New Monasticism in Winnipeg

I was about two blocks away when, mortified, I realized what had happened. ”Jamie!” I texted, “Tell the restaurant I walked out without paying, that I’ll be right back!”

“No problem,” he texted back, “Taken care of.”

Hardly the first impression I wanted to make on Jamie Arpin Ricci, the Abbot of the Little Flowers Community (little flowers.ca), but he responded with the graciousness I’m learning to expect from the many New Monastics I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my travels.

I was very curious about Jamie. I had been enjoying his blog www.missional.ca. Little Flowers is a fusion of YWAM, Mennonite, and Anglican Franciscanism – which seemed to me to be an eclectic and engaging mix. I was amused and encouraged to see that when he came to lunch, he was carrying Christine Pohl’s latest book, Living into Community – Cultivating Practices to Sustain Us, which I had just finished the day before. On some things, we were on the same page.

On many things, actually. Jamie is all about incarnational living in his tough West End neighbourhood. Living a life of loving service. And evidently, paying for the lunches of eat-and-runners like myself.

I had an ambitious agenda for my weekend in Winnipeg – to… … connect with three New Monastic expressions in the city. So after my lunch with Jamie I made my way to PegWatch, in the northeast quadrant of town. There I met with Jonathan and Carolyn Mutch, who this month are celebrating seven years of nonstop 24/7 prayer in the cutest little prayer house you ever did see.

whew! scheduling all the slots for 24/7!

These guys are my heroes. Many of us in Canada are dreaming about and moving towards 24/7 prayer in our facilities, and these guys demonstrate that IT CAN BE DONE! It’s more Moravian style, with individuals signing up for one hour slots in the prayer house.

Later in the weekend I visited Brian Creary (random note of happenstance – Brian was the leader of a full time worship school I attended in BC 17 years ago!) and his fantastic team of young leaders of the Sanctuary House of Prayer (www.sanctuaryhop.com) in central Winnipeg. SHOP runs 7-8 hours of Harp and Bowl style worship and prayer each Sunday afternoon and evening, and being there felt very much like being down at IHOP (www.ihop.org).

They let me sing in a set and then they spent half an hour prophesying over me as a community! How’s that for a warm welcome? SHOP’s fledgling record label, Convurgent Music (sanctuaryhop.com/convurgent/), has just released their first album, recorded live in the prayer room, and is presently compiling the work of their local songwriters for the next release.

Three different expressions of New Monasticism. Three different faces of the movement. Lovely and fascinating in it’s diversity and unified by the centrality of Jesus and his love for Winnipeg. Beautiful.


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