Mepkin Abbey

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This examination and review of what others are doing is to encourage and stimulate the thinking of those seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Mepkin AbbeyWebsite

Mission Statement

In the article Business Secrets Of The Trappists[1] by August Turak divided into four parts, August gives a businessman's perspective of the Trappist monks at Mepkin Abbey.

What I see as a read his articles is a clearer vision of what the Church should be doing, not because they are doing it but because they are seeking it and yet falling short of the true message of the gospel.

"Mepkin Abbey has several thousand acres of woods, pastures, gardens and forests. Until recently, the monks ran an egg business with 40,000 chickens; they recently transitioned into the mushroom business. The manure from chickens is collected, processed, bagged and sold as compost, and the trees that cover much of the monastery are managed as a renewable forest."[2]

Paul made tents and many of the ministers did work to support themselves to help take the burden off the people but they also served as shepherds guiding the people so that they might lay down beside the still waters and graze in green pastures and as John says "that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

In part 2 he writes "Charity, or what in its much larger sense the monks call caritas, means living from the heart. Living from the heart begins with a change of heart, ...transformational change of heart..."[3]

The blood of the body may flow in many ways but it is the virtue of Christ flowing through us and our actions that is the key to the kingdom. For this cause the Church must have the heart of Christ in all that it does.

If our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich then we also must do likewise so that others may have faith. 2 Corinthians 8:9

So can we see the same thing if we examine the Church with this in mind?

Trappist monastery in Moncks Corner, S.C., called Mepkin Abbey may demonstrate something in this article.

St. Benedict in the sixth century, wrote that all monasteries must be self-sufficient and self-supporting communities.

Orare est laborare is their motto... Our motto should be Laborare est orare to work is to pray.

What is the real work of the Church?

They use the Rules of St Benedict Which may need to be examined to determine if those rules were a good idea that has gone bad defeating the purpose of the Church?

The author of the original article about these monks and their abbey divides their service and selflessness into 7 parts

  1. high overarching mission worthy
  2. selflessness
  3. commitment to excellence
  4. dedication to the highest ethical standards
  5. faith
  6. trust
  7. living the life

Part 2 article[4]

Profit is merely a symptom of the mission.

Monks are not just in the egg, mushroom, fertilizer or forestry business.

"Like archers, they aim past all these targets. They are in the business of serving God by serving one another and their neighbors."

"For the rest of us, as corporate citizens, charity is a wonderful thing, but we lack the imagination and the courage to put it at the center of our business endeavors, despite the evidence of a 1,500-year-old monastic experiment to the contrary. "

The monk’s commitment to selfless service was so contagious... the purpose of the individual is to serve the community, not the other way around.

"Father Guerric... wanted to make high-end vinegars ...we really need is an infirmarian.” So off to school I went, and now I change bedpans “I came here to serve God by serving others, not to play Farmer John. I should have walked in there and just asked Francis how I could help. Even after all this time I’m still ashamed of myself."

"We long for a communal, transformative experience that would produce what the monks call self-transcendence."

"It is the dead end of self-indulgence and our failure to create missions worth sacrificing for that has led to the epidemic of depression afflicting the Western world today."

STORY

  • Father Malachy said softly, “Francis thought I spoke French, (Francis asked him to write summaries in English on 50 theological books written in French that someone had donated to the monastery.)but I didn’t. But he was so busy I didn’t mention it. I just stayed up late for a few months and taught myself French. Then I read the books and wrote the summaries.”
  • "Knowing who we are and what we stand for is the critical component in maintaining the highest ethical ideals."
  • "Real leadership is built on persuasion, and persuasion is built on trust."
  • "A corporate statesman puts the interest of the whole before his own and trusts others to follow his lead."

STORY

  • Trust is critical to Mepkin Abbey’s success. One day I was stopped for speeding at a notorious speed trap about 100 miles from Mepkin. I went to see the judge and told him I had not been speeding. When he found out I had been on my way to Mepkin, he said, “Well, if you were going to Mepkin and you say you weren’t speeding, then you weren’t speeding.” He dismissed the case.
  • Mepkin’s customers trust its products. Mepkin’s suppliers trust its invoices. Mepkin’s volunteers know they are contributing to a good cause. And Mepkin’s trust bled into my speeding ticket 100 miles from the monastery.

Trust is the most powerful form of capital there is... but it is also fragile.


So to sum up:

An order should be self sustaining so that it is not a burden on the people.

Work is prayer. The Church is to be a shepherd for the people.

If the people need help they should go to the Church.

The church is to rightly divide the bread from house to house.

The bread is given to the church by elders who love their neighbor as themselves.

The order should only seek to sustain itself so that it would be free to pray for and help in the answer of prayers.

Note Acts 6

  • Acts 6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples [unto them], and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

This should give us insight into a church business pattern.

Do you know why?

I will let you consider some of the reasons why before sharing my thoughts.



Monks | Mendicant | Married Monks | Lost Monks | Monasticism |
Modern Monastic life | Orders | Religious Orders | Rules of St Benedict |
Churches | Levites | Breeches | Vow of poverty | All things common
Elder | Deacon | Liturgy | Priests | Eucharist | Bishop | Minister |
Diocletianic Persecution | Christian conflict | Daily ministration |


Footnotes