The Anam Cara Community was inaugurated as a contemplative prayer community of the Anglican Diocese of Gippsland in 2007.
The words ‘anam cara’ (sometimes ‘anamcara’ or ‘anamchara’) is from the Gaelic, and is often translated into modern English as an expression such as ‘soul friend’. An anam cara or soul friend is one who walks with you, and accepts you as you are. Through an anam cara relationship our relationship with God is deepened and our response to God’s presence in our daily lives quickened.
In June 2007, Bishop in Council endorsed a proposal to establish a new community within the Diocese of Gippsland. The Christian Community, called the Anam Cara Community, brings together existing ministries in a new form for our Diocese and yet, it is also something that has been practiced for centuries throughout the church.
The Community grew out of the ongoing soul care and retreat ministry of the Rev’d Anne Turner. The name ‘Anam Cara’ is the Celtic Christian name for Soul-Friend. Anne was the inaugural Soul Carer of the Community. In July 2012 Colin Thornby and Jane Macqueen became the Soul Carers of the Community.
The Bishop of Gippsland, the Rt Rev’d John McIntyre and Soul Carers have appointed a leadership group of people committed to being part of this community.
In September 2008, four additional “Meeting Places” were formed across the diocese to enable more people to access the Anam Cara Community.
The aims of the Community are:
- To promote a life of prayer through silent contemplation, meditation, reflection on Christian scriptures and other spiritual writings;
- To promote the growth of small groups throughout the Diocese, focusing on the inner journey;
- To provide retreats, workshops and worship occasions;
- To provide guidance and creative ways to awaken the individual journey;
- To produce an annual calendar of Community ministries;
- To produce a regular reflective newsletter;
- To provide a directory of spiritual directors / soul carers;
- To be associated with the vision for A’Beckett Park;
- To be a self-funded community as a result of annual subscriptions paid by Associates.
The Community’s Statement provides a fuller description of the Community.
All who join the Anam Cara Community will be known as Associates of the Community.
- Associates are to embrace the awareness of the Presence of God in every part of life.
- Associates are to practice a life of prayer through silent contemplation, meditation, reflection on Christian Scriptures and other spiritual writings in an attitude of stillness.
- Associates are encouraged to receive individual spiritual direction / soul care.
- Associates are to have the opportunity to take part in organising, planning, preparing and leading retreats, workshops and worship occasions.
Find out more
In order for more people to access the Community it has been necessary to expand with a number of small groups called “Meeting Places”, forming throughout the Diocese.
Five “Meeting Places” are now active:
- Western Region (West Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley)
- Southern Region (South Gippsland)
- Eastern Region (Sale, East Gippsland)
- Canberra (the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn)
- Virtual Meeting Place (for Associates who live outside any of those meeting places)
The Community Prayer can be downloaded as a PDF (you will need Adobe Acrobat or similar).