Benedictus is an ecumenical Christian community with a practice of silent contemplative prayer at its heart. Our weekly worship service on Saturday evenings includes a simple liturgy, a Scripture reading and theological reflection, music and prayer, and a 15 minute period of silent meditation. Every third week we share in Holy Communion.
Benedictus hosts community days, a Spiritual Practice Group and L’Chaim groups for formation in contemplative action. We offer opportunities for primary school-aged children to learn meditation and be refreshed at our contemplative Kaleidoscope afternoons. A group for young adults, Kalchaino, focuses on formation for deepening self-knowledge and discernment.
Benedictus is an independent church and a not-for-profit incorporated association. We are not formally affiliated with any other church, and rely entirely on donations to sustain our ministry. Our Constitution and 2015 Director's Report are available and you can read more of our story and unfolding journey in our Pastoral Letters.
Benedictus featured on Radio National, The Spirit of Things, on Sunday 2 August 2015. The podcast is available at http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/spiritofthings/benedictus--contemplative--church/6659940
Benedictus is led by Sarah Bachelard. Sarah is a theologian, retreat leader and priest in Anglican Orders. She is a member of the World Community for Christian Meditation and an honorary research fellow at the Australian Catholic University. Sarah has led retreats and taught contemplative prayer nationally and internationally. She was Director of the John Main Centre for Meditation and Interfaith Dialogue at Georgetown University in 2006, and has also worked in the Senate Committee Office and parish ministry, as a chaplain with UnitingCare Ageing and as lecturer in theology at Charles Sturt University. Sarah is the author of Experiencing God in a Time of Crisis and Resurrection and Moral Imagination.
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are different methods of meditation. All are ways by which we are enabled to sink deeper into our own hearts. There we encounter the Spirit of Christ who dwells within and who draws us ever more completely into communion with the life of God.
For those who come to Benedictus with an existing practice of silent meditation, we encourage you to continue in your practice. For those who are new to meditation, we teach the method practised by the World Community for Christian Meditation. This way of meditation was rediscovered in the 20th century by the Benedictine monk, Father John Main, and is based on the teaching of the early desert monks.
‘The purpose of meditation for each of us is that we come to our own centre. In many traditions, meditation is spoken of as a pilgrimage – a pilgrimage to your own centre, your own heart, and there you learn to remain awake, alive and still ... The importance of meditation is to discover from your own experience that there is only one centre and that the life task for all of us is to find our source and our meaning by discovering and living out of that one centre’.
John Main, Moment of Christ
To meditate, sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Silently, interiorly begin to say a single word. We recommend the prayer-phrase, ‘Maranatha’. Say it as four syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently but continuously. Do not think or imagine anything – spiritual or otherwise. If thoughts and images come, these are distractions at the time of meditation, so keep returning simply to saying the word.
© The World Community for Christian Meditation
Benedictus has a thriving music ministry built around singers and instrumentalists drawn from the congregation. Benedictus musicians come from a variety of denominational and musical backgrounds, and are free to explore their own musical tastes and styles within the liturgical context. As a result, repertoire at Benedictus ranges from classical sacred music to contemporary Christian worship songs, and several musicians have also performed their own original works. Most weeks, the music is led by one instrumentalist (piano or guitar) and one singer, though this may vary according to availability and chosen repertoire.