As an ecclesial community we hold dearly the particular gift of communion amongst our consecrated sisters and brothers and lay members. This expression of communion reflects the desire of the Lord that ‘with me in them and you in me, may they be so perfected in unity that the world will recognise that it was you who sent me.’
We see the witness of communion in diversity as an essential Colwelian value, especially in a world so fragmented and a society that thrives on an individualism which weakens the ideal of life in common and commitment to community projects. We entrust this ‘call to’ and ‘gift of’ communion to the Holy Spirit operating in each member of COLW. Through a personal commitment to follow Christ more closely, accordingly to our state of life and personal vocation, we as a community can become a place of unity in the Lord. This unity will make the presence of the Triune God a tangible reality in the world. Fraternal love in unity is the “new commandment” and “the fullness of the law” It is the Kingdom of God among us.
We aim to become as follows so that we can live our vocation fully:
A Community of Friends in Christ
Our community is to be one of friends in Christ. Therefore, we strive to be attentive to the needs of each other, to have an open and compassionate heart, to be ready to forgive each other and to help create a climate of mutual respect and acceptance. We are called to love one another in such a way that it strengthens our love for God. To enable a greater experience of intimacy and sharing, we hope to have around 6-8 members in each house of consecrated sisters or brothers.
A Community of Faith
Our community is to be a place that welcomes and listens to the Word of God day and night. The Word has the power to transform us individually and communally and to create a deeper communion among us. In sharing the power of the Word in the reality of our personal lives, we allow our relationships to be built on a strong foundation, on the rock of the Word.
Our weekly faith sharing as consecrated sisters and brothers provides mutual support. It is also a stimulus to the lay members of our ecclesial family in their own ‘family prayer, attentive hearing of the word of God and knowledge of the Bible.’ The lay branch is encouraged wherever possible to create such a space for faith-sharing amongst themselves. At the same time, members of the lay branch visiting a community house are welcome to join in this sharing. The daily living in the rhythm of the Word of God brings Christ anew into community life, refreshing our love for God and for our sisters and brothers. We need to remind and support each other in offering generous hospitality to the Word of God that the Father sends us every day. That way we, as individuals and a community, can be re-created in the fullness of life and love that God desires for us.
A Community of Joy
Whilst our common life provides times for mission and for us to be fruitful in works of evangelisation, we recognise the need to re-create our strength, joy and love as a community. This is why we set aside some time each day for personal and community relaxation, rejoicing in each other’s company and sharing our gifts. We need to have our own ‘Nazareth experience’ where we can feel at home with others, share ourselves and be able to give and receive from our sisters and brothers. To be loved and to be secure in love is the only way in which people can live profoundly. If we truly give ourselves to building relationships, despite all the challenges it entails, we will experience the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit.
As an Ecclesial Family we also want to experience a similar ‘Nazareth’ between members of different branches. Hence our formational and mission-focused meetings aim to strengthen mutual relationships between people. Each branch is encouraged to provide space for creative relaxation in common in order to build up relationships in the Lord.