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.
The Benedictus service and some other activities are offered via Zoom as well as ‘in the flesh’, and these online connections are integral to the life of Benedictus. We offer daily meditation and a range of other opportunities to participate in reflection, conversation and community life.
The image of the waterhole reflects something of how Benedictus seeks to be – a place of refreshment and replenishment, a place for meeting, connecting and drinking deep. Waterholes depicted by Australian Indigenous artists are often shown as a series of concentric circles, lines radiating out, radiating in – connecting the water in the centre to the life around. Everyone, from whatever background or tradition, is welcome here.
To find out more about our regular groups and community engagement, go to our Groups and Community pages. News of upcoming Quiet Days, seminars and other events can be found under the heading, At the Waterhole.
Benedictus is an independent church and a not-for-profit incorporated association. Our Constitution and 2023 Director’s Report are available and you can read more of our story and unfolding journey in our Pastoral Letters.
We are not formally affiliated with any other church, and rely entirely on donations to sustain our ministry.
If you make use of our website and the weekly reflections and are in a position to make a financial contribution, we would very much value your support. Your regular or one-off donation via our Benedictus account (BSB 633 000; Account No. 153841135) or via our PayPal account will contribute to maintaining the website and its content, a salary for Sarah and provision for office, worship and other meeting spaces.
Benedictus featured on Radio National, The Spirit of Things, on Sunday 2 August 2015. The podcast is available at https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/spiritofthings/benedictus–contemplative–church/6659940
Sarah Bachelard is the spiritual director of Benedictus. Sarah is a theologian, retreat leader and a teacher in the World Community for Christian Meditation. She has led retreats and taught contemplative prayer nationally and internationally. She 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, Resurrection and Moral Imagination, A Contemplative Christianity for Our Time, and Poetica Divina: Poems to Redeem a Prose World. She loves to discern connections between the wisdom of tradition, spiritual practice and lived experience.
Susanna Pain is Senior Associate: Community, Spiritual Care and the Arts working two days per week at Benedictus. She completed a Science Degree, then Social Work Degree, and worked as a social worker in Adoptions, with Migrants and Refugees, and in the community for a number of years. She was one of the first women ordained in the Anglican Church of Australia. She has worked in Parish ministry in the Anglican Church, and chaplaincy roles since 1989, finishing as Dean, St Paul’s Cathedral Sale in December 2021. Since the 1980s, she has initiated and led meditation groups wherever she lives. Meditation and dance are her core spiritual practices.
She enjoys creating space for others to play and to grow. She calls herself ‘a midwife of transformation’, awakening in people, spirituality, creativity and delight. She does this through her work as a spiritual director, professional supervisor, retreat leader, interplay facilitator, and leader of contemplative quiet days. Interfaith cooperation, and social justice are also close to her heart.
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