Leadership is a particularly important area of concern in western monasticism today. Many monastic communities are coming to understand that the identification, preparation and formation of future leaders is a pressing need.
Dr Wim Vandewiele (KU Leuven) and Fr Abbot wrote in February 2016. “We are happy that Ealing Abbey will be a ‘promotor abbey (OSB)’ in the initial collaborative network that we will create around the international research line on contemporary monastic communities” that will focus on identity, leadership and communication.
Dr Wim Vandewiele is lead researcher in contemporary monastic communities in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven. He is engaging with three monasteries; Sint Andriesabdij, Zevenkerken (Brugge, BE), Sint Sixtusabdij, Westvleteren (West Vlaanderen, BE) and St Benedict’s Abbey, Ealing (UK).
We have adopted three focuses of research and practice. They are Representation of monastic communities on digital media, Monastic leadership, and the Development of a toolbox for self-evaluation, positioning and future development of monastic communities.
Fr James Leachman OSB is monastic consultant and Prof Dr Johan Verstraeten is theological consultant for this research project. These two conversation partners strengthen the framework by anticipating as much as possible any emerging questions and expectations and by maintaining a realistic balance of interests.
We all wish to be involved in a medium-term vision on the finance and building of the collaborative network. Our lead researcher suggests a period of 5 years (2016-2020). We hope that the project will continue for longer, so firm foundations are necessary.
The two working languages will be Dutch and English.
Centre for Leadership Research and Practice, London
We began the initial research project in February 2016. Since then the research face of Ealing Abbey in the larger initiative has become clearer.
On 13 February 2017 the Abbot’s Council approved the participation of Ealing Abbey in funding a total of 40%. The other part of 20% will be provided by two Flemish charitable organisations. We hope to officially announce the opening of a Centre for Leadership Research and Practice, London later in 2017.
© Ealing Abbey, James Leachman, O.S.B., 13 February 2017