Introducing the International Community of Aidan and Hilda

A world-wide people who journey with God, reconnecting with the Spirit and the Scriptures, the Saints and the Streets, the Seasons and the Soil

We are a dispersed body of Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and other Christians who seek to cradle a holistic Christian spirituality for today that renews the church and heals the lands. We welcome people of all backgrounds and countries who wish to be wholly available to the Holy Trinity, and to the way of Jesus as revealed to us in the Bible. In the earthing of that commitment members draw inspiration from Celtic saints such as Aidan (Irish)  and Hilda (English) and God-guided indigenous personalities.

Members follow a Way of Life, with a Soul Friend, based on a rhythm of prayer and study, simplicity, care for creation and mission; and they seek to weave together the separated strands of Christianity.

The work of the Community is the work of each member. There is no ready-made community on one's doorstep. Co-unity with other members is rooted in the knowledge that they follow the Community’s Way and that this reflects their deepest calling.

The Community embraces men, women and children from all walks of life who have differing levels of commitment:

Friends keep in touch with the Community and support it financially  but do not commit to follow the Way of Life. They receive the quarterly magazine and maillings about resources and retreats, and are welcome to attend the Community's annual gathering and regional group gatherings.  Friends pay an annual subscription via the Community website or by filling in a form.

Explorers have a more serious commitment which involves trial membership of the Community and living by its Way of Life accompanied by a Soul Friend.   It precedes taking the First Voyage of the Coracle.  Explorers join the Community by sending in the application form with their subscription, along with a form from their Soul Friend if they have found one - see or email Explorer Guide Richard Adams

Those who have been an Explorer for at least a year, having engaged in an appropriate process of spiritual formatin and mutual discernment, and having  carefully reflected upon the First Voyage of the Coracle may, with the approval of their Explorer Guide and their Soul Friend, apply to become a Member and make a full commitment to the Way of Life and to the Community as a Voyager.

Soul Friends
The term Soul Friend reflects the ancient Irish term for Spiritual Guide, Mentor or Anamchara. Each member is responsible for selecting their own soul friend who must be approved by the Community. Community Soul Friends range from a friend of an Explorer who is a mature Christian and good listener for whom this is a new ministry, to a trained spiritual director or ordained confessor.

The Guardians
Guardians are the Community's leaders and the focus of its unity, who listen to God for the Community, guard its ethos and earth this in a rhythm of prayer, reflection and guidance.
The present Guardians are Penny Warren, Graham Booth and Simon Reed (based in UK), Bruce Challoner and Judy Kennedy (Australia), Øyvind Borgsø (Denmark), HÓ“kon Borgenvik (Norway), Simon Lumby (Republic of Ireland), Robert Penrith (South Africa), and Roger Bermingham, Teresa Monica Cross, Sandi Kerner and Esther-Marie Nagiel - Deputy Guardian (USA)

Link Households
Apply the Way of Life as a household. More information about becoming a Community House can be found in the Handbook.

Link Churches
Link Churches are churches who as a body adopt the Community's  values and resources. More information about becoming a Link Church can be found in the Handbook.

Regional Groups
Regional groups with regional guardians are developing and meeting throughout the UK and in some other countries. If you would like to know of the nearest group to you please contact the office.

The Community Magazine (The Aidan Way)
is published in February, May, August and November each year. It contains information about Community events, news, poems, letters, reviews, information about resources which throw light on the Way of Life, and a prayer diary. Members' news, prayer requests or other contributions should be sent to the Office.

United Kingdom

United States:


Republic of Ireland:





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In common with many communities within Christianity we have three vows. These are SIMPLICITY, PURITY and OBEDIENCE, which we understand as principles, not rules.


Simplicity means the willingness to be poor or rich for God according to God’s direction. We resist the temptations to be greedy or possessive, and we will not manipulate people or creation for our own ends. We are bold to use all we have for God without fear of possible poverty.


Purity means accepting and giving to God our whole being including our sexuality. We love all people as Christ commands, but the specific emotions and intimacy of sexual relations are expressed only in married life. Some will be given a gift of marriage, some a gift of celibacy and some will be given grace to continue a journey of not yet knowing.  Each is to be equally respected and rejoiced in. We respect every person as belonging to God, and we are available to them with generosity and openness.   


Obedience is the joyful abandonment of ourselves to God. The root of obedience is in attentive listening to God, because the longing of our hearts is to obey him. We honour those whom God has placed in authority over us, and we seek to recognise and respect the gifts, roles and authority of those who work alongside us in the community of the church.

Simplicity, purity and obedience lead us into love. We seek to make our home in the divine communing of The Three Loves in the heart of God, and to reflect this on earth.



1. Life-Long Learning

Daily Bible reading is at the heart of this Way of Life. In addition, we study the history of the Celtic Church, becoming familiar with such saints as Aidan, Brigid, Caedmon, Columba, Cuthbert, David, Hilda, Illtyd, Kevin, Ninian, Oswald and Patrick, as well as saints of other times and places. We remember their feast days and consider them as companions on our journeys of faith. We also bear in mind their strong link with the Desert Fathers and Mothers and the Eastern Church, and wish to draw them too into our field of studies. It is essential that study is not understood merely as an academic exercise. All that we learn is not for the sake of study itself, but in order that what we learn should be lived.   We encourage the Celtic practice of memorising Scriptures, and learning through the use of creative arts.

2. Spiritual Journey

A Soul Friend is a friend with whom we openly share our spiritual journey. We meet with our Soul Friend at least twice a year. (S)he is someone who is familiar with the Community of Aidan and Hilda and who seeks to discern with us where we are on that journey, what the Spirit is doing in our lives, and how God is leading us. The Soul Friend respects the tradition that we come from. Thus, for example, some will seek a Soul Friend who is familiar with formal confession and penance.  

The Soul Friend gives guidance on two disciplines, which the Community considers to be important:

1) Regular retreats - The outworking of this depends on the individual's own lifestyle, but we encourage regular days of quiet and reflection, and also an annual retreat.

2) Pilgrimage - The purpose of pilgrimage is to tread in the shoes of Christ or his saints in order to make contact with the many rich experiences which are to do with being a pilgrim. Such pilgrimages draw us into deeper devotion to our Lord Jesus and will inspire us to mission. Members might seek out communities of prayer. The Community recommends pilgrimage to sites of the Celtic Christian tradition, such as Iona and Lindisfarne as well as to new "places of resurrection". Soul Friends give guidance about different ways of making pilgrimage.  

3. Rhythm of Prayer, Work and Re-creation

We commit ourselves to a regular discipline of prayer. If required, our Soul Friend can give us guidance about this. The Community recommends the use of daily patterns of worship. The Community provides patterns of worship that are suited to the Way. Ways of praying will vary according to temperament. The Community encourages a renewal of "all kinds of praying" (Ephesians 6:.18), and we are therefore committed to discovering new ways of praying, from contemplative prayer to celebratory praise.  

Work:  We welcome work as a gift from God. Every member should engage in work, whether it is the routine activities of life or paid employment. Work motivated by values which conflict with the Way should be avoided as much as possible. In humility we accept what God gives us. If we have no employment and are not clear what our work is, then we seek the advice of our Soul Friend. We seek not to overwork, standing firm against all pressure to do so, because it robs ourselves, others or God of the time we should give to them.  

Re-creation:  This includes rest. The hours of rest and recreation are as valuable as the hours of prayer and work. The Lord Jesus reminds us that "the Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath;" (Mark 2:27). In the Scriptures even the land was given a Sabbath in the seventh year (Leviticus 25:3-5). The need for rest was built into creation (Genesis 2:1-3). A provision for this kind of rest, which is both holy and creative, should be part of each member's personal Way of Life.    

4. God's will be done on earth

Jesus proclaimed the arrival of the kingdom of God. He taught his disciples to pray for its coming on earth as it is in heaven. We commit ourselves to pray for the coming of God’s just and merciful rule in the situations and concerns which we encounter. This begins with our intercessions, but the pouring out of our prayers  and the pouring out of our lives cannot be divided. As Cuthbert and others "stormed the gates of heaven", so we also need to engage in and to become familiar with intercessory prayer

5. Simple, hospitable lifestyle

We wish to "live simply that others may simply live", to avoid any sense of judging one another; and God will make different demands of each of us. Our common responsibility is to regularly hold before God (and as appropriate to share with our Soul Friend) our income, our savings, our possessions, conscious that we are stewards, not possessors of these things, and making them available as God requires.

A simple life-style means setting everything in the simple beauty of creation. Our belongings, activities and relationships are ordered in a way that liberates the spirit; we cut out those things that overload or clutter the spirit.

We are not seeking a life of denial for we thoroughly rejoice in the good things God gives us. Our clothes and furniture should reflect God-given features of our personalities. There is a time to feast and celebrate as well as to fast. Our commitment is to openness. We stand against the influence of the god of mammon in our society by our life-style, by our hospitality, by our intercession, and by regular and generous giving.

6. Care for Creation

We affirm God's creation as essentially good, but spoilt by the effects of human sin and satanic evil. We therefore respect nature and are committed to seeing it cared for and restored. We aim to be ecologically aware, to pray for God's creation and all God’s creatures, and to stand against all that would seek to violate or destroy them. We look upon creation as a sacrament that reflects the glory of God, and seek to meet God through creation, to bless it, and to celebrate it.

7. Healing Fragmented People and Communities

We renounce the spirit of self-sufficient autonomy, and are committed to a much more holistic approach which was the strength of the Celtic church We encourage the ministry of Christian healing. We not only lay hands on the sick and pray for their healing, we also "lay hands" on every part of God's world to bless it and recognise its right to wholeness in Christ. We seek to become more fully human as we grow in Christ, and we believe that "the glory of God is seen through a life fully lived" (Irenaeus).

8. Openness to God's Spirit

had such faith in the leading of the Spirit that they gladly put to sea in small coracles, and went where the wind took them. We desire this kind of openness to the leading of the Spirit.

Essential to this is a proper affirmation of the gift of prophecy. St Paul urges us all to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1). We honour this gift and encourage its proper and appropriate use.  

Learning to listen to God is a skill that has almost been lost, and which takes many years to acquire. We seek to cultivate an interior silence that recognises and sets aside discordant voices, to respond to unexpected or disturbing promptings of God, to widen our horizons, to develop "the eye of the eagle" and see and hear God through his creation.

9. Unity

As we study the history of the Celtic Church we rediscover the unity we had as one Christian people within the one universal church. We are constantly ashamed of our divisions, and we repent of the schisms that have occurred between the eastern and western church and from the Reformation onwards. The Celtic Church honoured the God-given strands of Christianity which later became separated and we seek to weave these together again. We look upon all fellow Christians not as "strangers but pilgrims together", and we honour those in oversight in all denominations. We resist in our own lives things that damage the unity of Christ's body, and will not do separately what is best done together.

The ‘Celtic church’ was thoroughly indigenous to the people in a way that the church has rarely been since. Aidan lived alongside the people and refused to accept practices and customs that would distance him from the people and make him seem superior. The Celtic church honoured, trusted and went with the grain of the human communities it worked amongst. We seek to cultivate solidarity with all people in everything except sin, to value all that is truly human in them, and to shed attitudes and practices that put up barriers between the church and the people.

We desire the healing of peoples divided by class, colour or creed and repent of our own part in these divisions.

10. Mission

Our aim is that "the whole created order may be reconciled to God through Christ" (Colossians 1:20).  We seek to live as one Christian Community so "that the world may believe" (John 17:.21) The goal of the Way of Life is to develop a disciplined spirituality that will make us effective in our witness to Christ in the world.

The Celtic church evangelised from grassroots communities such as Lindisfarne, Iona and St. David's. Our evangelism should spring naturally from the Community of our local church, and out of this Community. Bishops like Chad and Cedd were irrepressible evangelists as they travelled around.  As we live out this life, the Holy Spirit leads us into new initiatives to bring God to the people. These will usually be through our churches at local or wider levels.  Sometimes it may be appropriate to form a mission task group with other members of the Community to pray, study and accomplish a particular God-given task.

We seek to share our faith wherever opportunity is given. We evangelise not simply out of a sense of duty, but because God's Spirit is giving us a heart for those who are estranged from Christ. We ask God to work through us in signs and wonders for his glory, not ours.

Our mission also includes speaking out for the poor, the powerless and those unjustly treated in our society, and to minister to and with them as God directs.   

As our gifting and opportunity permit we counter false teachings that put what is created, whether in the material or spirit worlds, in the place of God, through love, sound argument, prayer and demonstrations of the power of God, in the spirit of St. Patrick's Breastplate.  

Celtic evangelists worked hand in hand with those in authority to bring regions and kingdoms under the rule of God, and to open doors to the gospel.  We seek to dialogue and work with people of good will in places of authority and influence so that our lands may be may be led by God, and become healed lands of the glorious.




a prayer...

We arise today
in the Eternal Flow of Mercy
who was here when the land began to breathe,
when the first tribes began to roam,
and when the colonists came to settle.
We arise today
in the Eternal Flow of Wisdom
who is dimly perceived in the stones,
the stories and the studies of all our peoples.
We arise today
in the Eternal Flow of Life
who seeps through land and limb and love.

Taken from
Shalom!: Celtic Prayers for Wholeness and Healing
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The Way of Life For the Third Millennium (Hardback)
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