Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Future of Religious Life

It was a privilege to attend a meeting of some 100 religious
sisters brothers and priests on 21st September, held adjacent to
Heythrop a University College of London Uni. The keynote
speaker was Christopher Jamison, who is Abbot of Worth Abbey but for
lay people, perhaps better known for his principal role in BBC TV's
"The Monastery" programme.

He talked of the huge differences in the lifestyles of the current
teenage generation compared with those of their parents and
grandparents. (As a former headmaster he speaks from
experience) They watch less TV but
readily embrace new forms of electonic communication
and the internet, in ways which their parents may not appreciate
- MySpace; YourTube Blogging (even) make them more self
contained than earlier generations, which needs to be taken on
board when communicating with them. He considers that
that this selfcontainment results in their
being far less likely than their parents, to give to charities. This does
not mean that they are less generous than their parents but does
mean that the ways of communicating with them about giving
need to be adapted to their ways of life.
Charities report that an approach which
young people respond to, which in fact is one I loathe is,
that known as "chugging", when charity representatives
stop you on the street to canvass you to make donations. They respond
positively apparently - I don't and in it puts me off completely!

The meeting was not about encouraging young people to give
charities but how to encourage them to give thought to joining
them; the religious ones in particular.
The good will of so many religious men and women
of diverse ages, attending
the meeting was very encouraging and their enthusiasm
infectious. There were no instant answers
but the; "if you cannot beat them join them"; approach of setting up
websites and other forms of electronic communication, is proving successful.

I departed at teatime feeling both pessimistic and hopeful! Also very
glad and grateful that so many unsung heroes and heroines are
working amongst us for the Common Good.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how within a couple of days of Father Christopher's comments about the internet and communication with the young, that David Cameron, the Tory party leader, launches his own weblog, complete with webcam showing him doing the washing up at home.


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