The Community of Aidan and Hilda is an ecumenical world-wide fellowship whose members seek to live out Christianity as a complete way of life. We try to make ourselves wholly available to the Holy Spirit and to the way of Jesus as revealed to us in the Bible. The community is a mostly dispersed body but was founded in the UK and has it’s international base on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The ‘Open Gate’ is our main house their and offers accommodation for members and visitors.
Holy Island itself is a world-wide pilgrim centre. The ebb and flow of the tide speaks of the rhythm of contemplation and outreach that members aspire to everywhere. Aidan’s Lindisfarne was a multicultural cradle of Christianity. From the start the Community determined, like Aidan, that its work in each land should be indigenous. The Way of Life for Aidan and Hilda members may get its essence from the Celtic tradition; however it also calls us to be present to Christ in our own land and culture. For this reason followers of the Way of Life also look for sources of inspiration from within their own country. Expressions of Aidan and Hilda exist all over the world including Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, USA, Africa and New Zealand.
After many years of members existing in Australia, the inaugural Australian retreat was held in January, 2011 at the Norlane Baptist Church in Geelong (Wathaurong land). The last formal session was spent discussing the experience of the retreat for each member as well as hopes for the next steps. A common substance had been uncovered and the combination of silent spaces and play, family life and monasticism had been inspiring. This was facilitated by the well-planned, monastic and child friendly spaces at Norlane that Brent had helped to develop during his time as local minister. It was recognised that the personal expression of the Way of Life is the essence of this dispersed community and while there is a desire for semi-regular dialogue and meeting; there may be disappointment if regular and deep connection is expected.
A way to overcome the tyranny of distance between the states was to use current technologies such as Skype to help with building relationships while expressing ones ‘true self’ locally. The seeds were certainly planted for the Community to develop further. The common vocation from this inaugural retreat was to continue to feel for how it sits in the lives of the members and their local communities as well as across the country. Also arising from the discussions was the decision to form an Australian Caim Council. Four initial members were appointed from various states: Belinda Lyons-Lee, Heather Johnston, Matt Lamont and Wendy Lyons (Community Soul Friend). In 2014, Brent has replaced Belinda and Judy has replaced Heather on the Caim Council. In 2018, Bruce Challoner replaced Brent as Chairman. Wendy has remained an advisor on Soul Friendship outside of the Council.