Change and Continuity: Benedictine Hospitality for the 21st Century

Medieval Guesthouse and Norman West Front

May 2017: In a venture of faith and to celebrate the beginning of our second century at West Malling our community welcomed the St. Benedict's Centre and the St. Augustine's College of Theology to share some of the buildings at Malling. The Centre and the College are both registered charities and their facilities are non-residential.

St. Benedict's Centre offers individuals and groups a place for study, rest, reflection and refreshment. The Centre welcomes both Church groups and local businesses, charities and community and professional organisations.

St. Augustine's College of Theology equips Christians in the South East for lay and ordained ministries and provides courses of studies for those wishing to deepen their knowledge of Christian faith and practice.

The Centre and the College are sharing in the Benedictine tradition of worship and welcome that began on this site in 1090. Their presence here is also enriching the life of our community.

A St Augustine's College tutor talking with a nun

The welcome our community extended to the Centre and the College was an outcome of our desire to be good stewards of the Abbey estate. In making space for their facilities we were also able to create our new guest wing, the Abbey Garth, where we can welcome our own residential guests. The Garth has 4 en-suite bedrooms, 2 sitting rooms and a fully equipped kitchen and dining room for the guests, who are all self-catering. Its windows overlook the nuns' garden on the south and the cloister garth on the east, both areas within the monastic enclosure.

A cloister garth is the traditional still centre of a monastery. It creates a central space and a linking passage between the business and domestic areas and the areas for prayer: the library, the chapter house and the church. Our garth also has a small pond and fountain as a focus for reflection and meditation. Thus our guests are able to share in the monastic peace and silence and make their own contribution to it. In addition to our Abbey Garth we continue to welcome residential guests to St. Thomas Becket in the Gatehouse and St. Michael's Cottage in the Copse.

Day guests coming for a quiet day or for private study will be accommodated at St. Benedict's Centre, and should book directly through the Centre.