Prior of our Community of the Tree of Life to take up a new ministry

The Prior of our Community of the Tree of Life Rachel Bennetts is leaving in order to take up a new ministry in Cornwall later this year.

The Community of the Tree of Life provides young Christians aged 18-35 from any denomination, with the opportunity of a year of formation with a missional placement, study or training and living as a new monastic community.

Bishop Martyn had arrived as our diocesan Bishop in 2016 with a vision for a praying community of young people. Rachel Bennetts established that community for young Christians, beginning in 2017, when building work began to convert former offices into the community house opposite Leicester Cathedral.

With the help of a team and Companions of the Community she established the Tree of Life as a house of prayer, embedding their Rule of Life for the community to ensure residents were rooted, flourishing and fruitful.   

She even jumped out of an aeroplane to help Bishop Martyn  raise funds for community residents! 

Bishop Martyn said: “I want to express my deep gratitude to Rachel for the extraordinary work that she has done in establishing the Community of the Tree of Life as a residential community for young adults in the Diocese of Leicester.

“She started the community from scratch - in our first year we had just three residents - but we now have significant numbers coming every year through a partnership with the Ministry Experience Scheme and New Wine Discipleship Year. The community is in a strong position to continue and my hope is to recruit a new Prior in the Autumn to take on the work that Rachel has started.”

Rachel was previously Vicar of The Church of the Good Shepherd in Farnborough in the Diocese of Guildford where she had served since 2006 and established a ‘Discipleship Pathway’ and mentored a number of younger people which led to a number of people training for various forms of ministry in the church. Before that she served as Curate in Swindon and worked in Primary Schools in Bristol.

Rachel said: “I am immensely grateful for my time serving in the Diocese of Leicester over the last five years. It has been a huge privilege to be involved in the establishment and nurturing of the Community in the first phase of its life and a great joy to have lived alongside young adults sharing in their formation journey.

“I am now looking forward to moving to Cornwall where I have the opportunity to follow God’s call to a more contemplative life, developing a ministry of hospitality in retreats and spiritual direction.”

It is hoped that a new Prior will be recruited before Rachael’s departure in the autumn so that a smooth handover happens as the next cohort of residents settle in. For details of how to apply for a place at the community, click here


First published on: 27th June 2022
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