I think i can share this one now. Some of you may have heard on the grapevine, but I have not come out and said it yet publicly. i should say it now and include you in our decision, because i want you to continue to be a part of our lives and ministry. We think the next step for us as a family is to move our base to Orkney Islands, NE Scotland.
Sounds outrageous? Wait. it is even more wacky than that . . .
We think God wants us to start a monastery there - a pilgrimage centre for young people to equip, send out, and guide them to where God is leading them. A place for prayer, reflection, research, arts, study, and new media resources for the new wave of young apostles and pilgrims.
I could start with our urban monastery experiment in San Francisco called "The Celtic House" but that was 1997 and i will jump ahead for the sake of brevity.
1. For the past few years, we had a quasi-monastic community in Prague that we called the Giant Peach. It was a good place, but many of the young people struggled with the language and were not able to make enough money to survive - so they usually left early to go back to USA to make some money. We thought about shifting our monastery to UK.
2. Prophetic people have prayed for us and told us what God was telling them. Wolfgang Simson stayed in The Giant Peach and had a dream about us. God said to him "Don't forget that Andrew is my Abbot". He saw us in a large place with a lot of green grass and people. That sounded right to us. Derek and Amy Chapman told us that we would leave Prague, go to somewhere restful for about 6 months and then go to a place that we loved and would be a home to us. That pretty much sums up what is happening.
3. Summer of 2003 we travelled to UK to look for an unused monastery or similar structure. We didn't find one. If I was smarter, I would have realized that monasteries in UK have traditionally been located on the islands in the north (Hebrides, Iona, Holy Island, Orkney, etc) but hey, I was still in my 30's and I should be forgiven for lack of insight.
4. We moved to UK in January 2004. No monastery yet, but we felt it was the right step. London was the best place to land.
5. Summer of 2004. We did a celtic pilgrimage to the north of Scotland, checking out monasteries and pilgrimage sites. We were drawn to Orkney Islands and spent most of our time there, and took lots of photos. Our first visit to Orkney was in 2000, with my mother. My mum's maiden name is Clousten - a name from Orkney Islands, going back 900 years, back to King Harald of Norway's son (did you know i am royalty?). We discovered some great family heritage. We also fell in love with Orkney Islands.
6. We have been waiting to get more feedback from trusted friends.Feedback is all positive. Co-workers at DAWN feel it would be good to focus on North Atlantic countries. we have had one church and one organization say they might be able to help start the monastery. Some people in USA are considering coming up to join us.
7. This morning I came across some prophetic words about these Islands and I sensed that we might be on the right track. I have included some of them (below). I would be happy to hear from other prayer people as to what they are hearing from God on this.
8. I cant keep my wife in limbo anymore. i said that i would give a yes or a no today. I am saying yes (i think). We will probably leave London in October and move to a rented house in Stromness, Orkney Islands. From there, we will try and figure out what God wants to do.
Yes, I know that travel in and out will be difficult and time-consuming. Yes, people may forget us. But we feel it is what God wants and our times are in His hand.
Will I still be involved in church planting movements in the global emerging culture? Absolutely yes. I will still travel one third of my time, assisting countries to develop strategies and foster unity. Much of this is done online, and i will keep on traveling to be where the action is. But it will be great to have a strong spiritual base to work out of.
Anyway, thats about it for now. Here are some of the prophetic words that i read this morning, and which I kinda needed to boost me up to write this public announcement. The quotes below are from a brouchure promoting "Fire From The North" (Aug 2-5, 2005) in Sheltand Islands, the set of islands out further from the Orkneys. A number of prayer ministries feel that God is going to move in Shetland and this will flow into all the islands and then into Europe and the 40/70 window. You can download the PDF or visit the site here. There is another article called Strategic Prayer for Europe by Roger Mitchell but the Fire From The North was the one that caught my attention.
For Scotland, March 2003 (Martin Scott)
"God is now blending together the Celtic lands. Each one is distinct but they will all begin to flow as nations and begin to flow together. In Scotland God is releasing the warrior anointing. The warrior land is rising, warriors will come from the heart of Scotland. There will be battle cries from every corner of Scotland. Conferences will come to the nation and from the nation and they will all be calling for war. In their very title they will carry words such as 'war' or 'warrior'. Scotland is being restored as a pioneer nation, a nation with the warrior anointing. . . .
These are days that are not designed to just bring about reformation, but there is a reforming of the cradle of the lands that held the gospel. There is a very reshaping of the church in those lands. The Celtic mission is rising again. Monastic movements will be spawned, old rhythms will be restored. In distant lands the Celtic diaspora is beginning to rumble. I see those who will return whose parents and forefathers left these nations. There is a call for those to return. Those long exiled will return. There will be partnerships between those in the land and those exiled. God has now opened the window over Scotland, it is time to work with God's agenda. So stir the warriors. They will rise in all their diversity: like the rising of the clans, but there will be a royal anointing over them . . .
And the Lord says, “Even now I am raising up an apostolic movement in the land. A movement that is not hierarchical and a movement that is not centred in one place. A network that is not a network as has been known before”. All of this will be like a baby being born. There will be great upheaval and shifts in power, but for those who have been watching and waiting there will be great rejoicing."