The Abbey School 2017 faced the present predicament of individualism, and the ways in which it has made itself comfortable in the church. By following the lives of two men who started off as hermits - and then went on to found Eastern and Western monasticism - we watched their personal and theological transformation from isolation to community. 

Communion at St. Anthony's

Matt and Julie serve the bread and wine
as they have often done,
as they will do again nearer sea level.
Sacraments explain
themselves, they offer us a holy sign
of how in Christ we’re one
with him. So throw your mobile at the devil,
this is God’s domain,
and God is real, not virtual love; he knows
our joy and pain, his name is friend, not fate,
think poetry, not prose;
for in his Son he occupied our state,
he wore our dusty, ordinary clothes
to make us somehow great.

- Jock Stein, July 2017

Amidst growing questions about human personhood, The Abbey 2016 explored the Christian vision of being a human being ‘fully alive’, addressing the richness of our being embodied creatures in light of particular challenges to that way of living in the 21st century – challenges as ‘simple’ as how we live with technology, and what we eat. 

Abbey Summer School 2016 Video

Faith Walking

Today we travel subliminal walkways
through the stone history of Edinburgh.
Releasing stress from two great talk days,
now we journey off piste. First, Matt
shares a four-faced blessing at Steadfast
Gate. We follow, follow the path
as it folds us gently into the past,
leading upstream to St Bernard’s Well.
Across the Water of Leith the Colony,
artisan houses, built, inspired
by Begg and Chalmers’ testimony.
We emerge in the Village of Dean,
find Gallery Two, the scene
set for the Lord’s green table,
al fresco, where we are able
to cock a contemporary snook
at the militant atheist hook,
“There will be no miracles here.”
Such artwork seems austere
and even dramatically odd
in the light of the presence of God.