We are delighted that our Brother Keith Nelson made his Life Profession in our Community on Saturday. Please take a moment to congratulate Keith and pray for his ministry in our Community. To read or listen to Br. James’ sermon, preached on the occasion, click here: Why Monks Matter
Our founder Richard Meux Benson led us to be “men of the moment.” In 2019-20, we are setting aside periods of time to discuss and refresh our vision of what it means to be SSJE Brothers in the 21st century. Our monastery guesthouse and chapel will continue to operate as usual, and we will pause our guest ministry at Emery House. We ask for your ongoing prayers and support during this season of our formation and renewal.
The Society of Saint John the Evangelist has announced that Br. James Koester SSJE has been elected to serve a second term as Superior.
“I am honored and delighted to have this trust bestowed upon me by my brothers”, Br. James said. “It is a daunting, but exciting challenge.”
The Regina, Saskatchewan native was ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1984. He served in parish ministry for five years prior to making his way to SSJE, where he was life professed in 1995. He had filled a variety of roles within the community prior to his election as Superior in 2016.
During Br. James’ first term, SSJE has continued its innovative online ministry which includes the daily meditation, “Brother Give Us A Word” and partnered with the Virginia Theological Seminary to produce several specially-focused six week study series.
Simultaneously, Br. James has made the Next Generation of SSJE his primary focus. “Half of my brothers are over the age of 60, while the other half are age 50 and under. It is essential for our future that we properly nurture our younger brothers so that they may confidently and capably assume the leadership roles into which they are now moving. With this broad spectrum of ages, it is also important that our life together in community is nurtured. Just as we rebuilt the physical infrastructure of the monastery ten years ago, we must now ensure our human infrastructure is stable and secure. It is for that reason that we will be working on our community’s foundations and our vision for the future”
Under his leadership, SSJE has launched “Catch the Life”, a website designed to introduce those considering a monastic vocation to SSJE’s history and present. Through text, videos, and direct conversation with SSJE brothers, the site serves as guide for Inquirers while also providing a forum for a personal rapport to develop.
In 2019, SSJE celebrated the life profession of Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE. Two more professions and a clothing are scheduled in the coming months. Addressing members of the Fellowship of Saint John who had gathered to celebrate Saint John’s Day in May, Br. James stated, “We believe that it is now time for a new generation of monks to claim and articulate a new and renewed vision of monastic ministry, one that will sustain us for the years to come while attracting new vocations and being of service to the church.”
This past weekend we had the pleasure of hosting nearly of our Interns and Residents, dating back six years. The group joined us for our St. John’s Day celebration at the monastery in Cambridge on Saturday, May 4, and also spent an overnight at Emery House in West Newbury. The group, pictured with Brs. Keith Nelson and Luke Ditewig, shared many stories and lots of joy.
Check out the latest “Monastic Wisdom Monthly” to explore the topic of humility through Br. David’s reflection, suggested practices, reflection questions, and further resources.
Humility has gotten bad press in the modern era. Too often, it has been associated with passivity, weakness, complacency, low self-esteem, or an unquestioning submission to authority. But true humility, as Jesus taught and modeled it, maintains a healthy balance between a proper self-esteem and an honest awareness and acceptance of our limitations, weaknesses, and faults. Br. David Vryhof explores this virtue that is at the heart of the monastic tradition, one which can help us to see the truth about ourselves and everyone else.