A Monastery in Orkney: Our Next Step?

a typical orkney churchI think i can share this one now. Some of you may have heard on the grapevine, but I have not come out and said it yet publicly. i should say it now and include you in our decision, because i want you to continue to be a part of our lives and ministry. We think the next step for us as a family is to move our base to Orkney Islands, NE Scotland.
Sounds outrageous? Wait. it is even more wacky than that . . .
We think God wants us to start a monastery there – a pilgrimage centre for young people to equip, send out, and guide them to where God is leading them. A place for prayer, reflection, research, arts, study, and new media resources for the new wave of young apostles and pilgrims.

Some history:
I could start with our urban monastery experiment in San Francisco called “The Celtic House” but that was 1997 and i will jump ahead for the sake of brevity.

1. For the past few years, we had a quasi-monastic community in Prague that we called the Giant Peach. It was a good place, but many of the young people struggled with the language and were not able to make enough money to survive – so they usually left early to go back to USA to make some money. We thought about shifting our monastery to UK.

2. Prophetic people have prayed for us and told us what God was telling them. Wolfgang Simson stayed in The Giant Peach and had a dream about us. God said to him “Don’t forget that Andrew is my Abbot”. He saw us in a large place with a lot of green grass and people. That sounded right to us. Derek and Amy Chapman told us that we would leave Prague, go to somewhere restful for about 6 months and then go to a place that we loved and would be a home to us. That pretty much sums up what is happening.

3. Summer of 2003 we travelled to UK to look for an unused monastery or similar structure. We didn’t find one. If I was smarter, I would have realized that monasteries in UK have traditionally been located on the islands in the north (Hebrides, Iona, Holy Island, Orkney, etc) but hey, I was still in my 30’s and I should be forgiven for lack of insight.

4. We moved to UK in January 2004. No monastery yet, but we felt it was the right step. London was the best place to land.

5. Summer of 2004. We did a celtic pilgrimage to the north of Scotland, checking out monasteries and pilgrimage sites. We were drawn to Orkney Islands and spent most of our time there, and took lots of photos. Our first visit to Orkney was in 2000, with my mother. My mum’s maiden name is Clousten – a name from Orkney Islands, going back 900 years, back to King Harald of Norway’s son (did you know i am royalty?). We discovered some great family heritage. We also fell in love with Orkney Islands.

6. We have been waiting to get more feedback from trusted friends.Feedback is all positive. Co-workers at DAWN feel it would be good to focus on North Atlantic countries. we have had one church and one organization say they might be able to help start the monastery. Some people in USA are considering coming up to join us.

7. This morning I came across some prophetic words about these Islands and I sensed that we might be on the right track. I have included some of them (below). I would be happy to hear from other prayer people as to what they are hearing from God on this.

8. I cant keep my wife in limbo anymore. i said that i would give a yes or a no today. I am saying yes (i think). We will probably leave London in October and move to a rented house in Stromness, Orkney Islands. From there, we will try and figure out what God wants to do.

Yes, I know that travel in and out will be difficult and time-consuming. Yes, people may forget us. But we feel it is what God wants and our times are in His hand.
Will I still be involved in church planting movements in the global emerging culture? Absolutely yes. I will still travel one third of my time, assisting countries to develop strategies and foster unity. Much of this is done online, and i will keep on traveling to be where the action is. But it will be great to have a strong spiritual base to work out of.

Anyway, thats about it for now. Here are some of the prophetic words that i read this morning, and which I kinda needed to boost me up to write this public announcement. The quotes below are from a brouchure promoting “Fire From The North” (Aug 2-5, 2005) in Sheltand Islands, the set of islands out further from the Orkneys. A number of prayer ministries feel that God is going to move in Shetland and this will flow into all the islands and then into Europe and the 40/70 window. You can download the PDF or visit the site here. There is another article called Strategic Prayer for Europe by Roger Mitchell but the Fire From The North was the one that caught my attention.

For Scotland, March 2003 (Martin Scott)
“God is now blending together the Celtic lands. Each one is distinct but they will all begin to flow as nations and begin to flow together. In Scotland God is releasing the warrior anointing. The warrior land is rising, warriors will come from the heart of Scotland. There will be battle cries from every corner of Scotland. Conferences will come to the nation and from the nation and they will all be calling for war. In their very title they will carry words such as ‘war’ or ‘warrior’. Scotland is being restored as a pioneer nation, a nation with the warrior anointing. . . .
These are days that are not designed to just bring about reformation, but there is a reforming of the cradle of the lands that held the gospel. There is a very reshaping of the church in those lands. The Celtic mission is rising again. Monastic movements will be spawned, old rhythms will be restored. In distant lands the Celtic diaspora is beginning to rumble. I see those who will return whose parents and forefathers left these nations. There is a call for those to return. Those long exiled will return. There will be partnerships between those in the land and those exiled. God has now opened the window over Scotland, it is time to work with God’s agenda. So stir the warriors. They will rise in all their diversity: like the rising of the clans, but there will be a royal anointing over them . . .
And the Lord says, “Even now I am raising up an apostolic movement in the land. A movement that is not hierarchical and a movement that is not centred in one place. A network that is not a network as has been known before”. All of this will be like a baby being born. There will be great upheaval and shifts in power, but for those who have been watching and waiting there will be great rejoicing.”


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • george says:

    Blessings to you my friend.
    May Daddy speak softly to you as you follow Him. May you remain open to all that is about to come to you.

  • Alan Cross says:

    Amen. This type of thing has been on my heart for some time and it seems to be a great fit for you and your family. If it means anything, my spirit leapt within me when I read what you are doing. Praise God. I think He is in this.

  • alexander says:

    “I see those who will return whose parents and forefathers left these nations. There is a call for those to return. Those long exiled will return.”
    I think about my family’s homeland almost everyday. Somedays it is a deep, strong yearning, but I’ve never thought about it as a call to return, more as a place of escape. Perhaps I need to review that!

  • Shannon Hopkins says:

    it seems like a 4 bedroom house in orkney opening up was an answer to prayer that didn’t seem likely a month ago. go for it! and i pray that the right place for the monastery opens up quickly.
    i love you guys and am so excited about this next step!

  • Steve K. says:

    Praying for you, Andrew. This is exciting stuff. God’s hand is on you. You will not be forgotten!

  • Oak Grove Semistery

    It seems that Jolie, Connor and I are gaining some clarity about what we are meant to do here in Austin. Almost as soon as we got here we began to think, talk and dream about some kind of

  • Swiss Mike says:

    Hi Andrew!
    Very exciting news! I’d like to encourage you to start the adventure! Some friends and me were discussing a lot these last weeks about monasteries in the 21th-century. So your post will be a motivation for us to continue our own conversation. Maybe we can talk more about that in february while you’re in Basel.
    Be blessed. Mike

  • maryellen says:

    Like George, my spirit surged with the thought…i will pray for your family
    (so the prevoius header on your blog
    was a sign)

  • cloudburst says:

    andrew, so exciting!! we have felt a ‘quickening’ of sorts, what with baby coming, and some newly discovered visa changes (ie – no more visa for me) in eastern europe. i have always had the UK on my heart, often i dismiss it as a pipe dream, or a simple desire to go somewhere ‘cool’.. but i forget that God plants our desires..
    anyways, may God shine His glorious face on this adventures, and know that many are in prayer with you, and i’m sure you have ignited the vision and hearts of more than a few people with this post.
    God will reveal, but you will have many others to help and journey with you int his, of that i’m sure there will be no doubt.
    perhaps see you sooner than later? 🙂

  • Andrew says:

    thanks you guys!!!!!!!1
    so encouraging to hear that we are not totally crazy for doing this.
    God knows.
    Regarding the header, you probably dont know this but the header on my blog right now is a photo taken of us leaving the ferry to enter Stromness Ferry Terminal, Orkney Island. Which is where our rental house is.

  • Charlie Porteous says:

    Awesome stuff, may God lead you and guide you, and cause His Face to shine on you. You are a blessing, and from what it sounds like will continue to be a blessing to the nations.

  • Darryl says:

    I guess it won’t be so easy to hook up next time I’m in London, not that it was last time. I’m now going to have to come up with a reason to go to Scotland now!
    This is excellent news. Praying for you as you prepare to go.

  • bea says:

    there is no way we could ever forget you and your wonderful family! don’t let that worry you at all – we’ll be up to visit in the lovely camper van – she could do with having her legs stretched a little!

  • Toni says:

    Andrew – may God richly bless you all the time that you wait on His word and persue Him with all your heart.

  • ¡Las bendiciones a usted y a su familia de Nicaragua!
    (Blessings to you and your family from Nicaragua!)
    In my prayers for you I always had this thing that you were going to have some kind of L’Abri or something. Also there’s going to be a deeper “co-laboring” with your wife’s giftings and anointings coming forth in new ways (like teaching). It sounds exciting and my prayers and well wishes go with you all.

  • I’m really excited about a rebirth of Celtic style monastacism. So much church planting and outreach was done from these isolated monasteries. God really used them in the past and I’m sure he will again.

  • Dan says:

    I am excited about Andrews sharing his sense of calling with us. There is something about the monastic more.

  • Bob C says:

    This is such an inspiration, Andrew – boldly listening to God’s call to the outeralnds, risking so much and moving along the path that God places in front of you. My prayers are with you your family !

  • bobbie says:

    how incredibly exciting andrew, please keep us posted at each step so we can pray with and for you! wow!

  • A New Monastery

    Andrew Jones (not the baseball player), wants to start a monastery in the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland. Here’s what he has to say about it: We think God wants us to start a monastery there – a

  • Susan says:

    Andrew, what good news. I am so blessed by hearing that you will be opening yours arms and heart to those who are interested in traveling the road less traveled. Please share your personal prayer requests as many do want to join you in prayer along your way. I just finished reading “Father Joe” which the author talks of his life long yearnings to be a monk. I wonder what a 21st century monastic retreat looks like? I know all will be welcome. Give us directions on how to get there.

  • soup says:

    sounds great, andrew.
    there’s probably many of us who would schedule a pilgrimage to see what the orkney folk were up to.

  • John Sloas says:

    I add my prayers as well. Thank you for putting this adventure in context.

  • Pat Loughery says:

    I’m so excited to read about this! I have a strong feeling that I’ll get to come visit someday. God bless your work!

  • Sally Prittie says:

    Hi Andrew!
    Greetings from Shetland! We are part of the planning team for Fire from the North and have just come across your info. Our family moved to Shetland a year ago, similarly with a call from God, but undefined in outcome! We would love to have contact with you, and wish you our prayers and God’s blessing as you test this call,
    yours in Christ
    Sally and francis Prittie

  • Steve says:

    Looks good – keep going – we’re ‘workers’ in 10/40 (Pauls hone country) – where early church was mainly based.
    Our prayer is RAISE LOADS of people with FIRE FOR THE NATIONS
    esp. the unreached – train them hard – biblical lovingly, in the cross, taking it up daily – coz we have 70+ million people around us garuanteed going to hell – unless we start living the greatest adventure there is.
    Obeying Jesus – go to every nation – all the world
    Let it be the default setting – (which is the biblical one) not the false one that the institution, that likes to call itself the ‘church’.
    The billions are waiting . . . . . .
    for us . . . .
    & so is Jesus
    Matt. 24:14

  • Gift Basket

    Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a…

  • Iain Bancroft says:

    If you are stationed as a monastery in the Orkney Isles, then perhaps I could possibly visit you.
    I have experience of living in a Religious Centre, have taken some vows, and am aware of some legal ramifications of Monasticism.
    So, if you are up and running, I will come to see how you are doing, and help you out, just for a few days.
    Let me know exactly where and when is convenient.
    Tel +44 (0)7913 775794

  • Alison McIntosh says:

    Hi, Andrew & family! I accidently discovered your blogsite when I started on a bit of research on the Clouston family tree (I don’t remember Pamela telling me you had a site, although she had shared the photos of your trip in 2000). Your vision is very challenging, esp. the “exiles returning to the homeland” & your grasp of the emerging church. Although our church here in Hamilton is big & lively, I think your understanding would be valuable. We were challenged @ our National Church Conference a couple of weeks ago by Danny Guglielmucci’s concept of “Sunday Monday Church”. So I guess we’re starting to get on the right track.

  • Terez and Jeff says:

    Please pray for us.. and our love..as we marry in 2008… Please pray for Terez, as she seeks work.

  • Joe says:

    I had a waking dream where the Venerable Bede told me that history was about to repeat itself.
    The Venerable Bede (8th Century) wrote the following (excerpted for brevity) to a Bishop (Egbert) about the rise of faux monasteries of HIS time:
    “…there are many places as we know, given the name of monasteries by a very foolish way of speaking, yet have none of the reality of a monastic way of life…It is indeed shameful to say how many places called ‘monasteries’ these men who are entirely ignorant of monastic life have taken under control…Having thus usurped for themselves small or large estates, free from both human and divine service they serve in reality only their own desires as laymen in charge of monks…Thus by a perverse state of affairs many are found who call themselves ‘abbots’…although as laymen they could have learnt something about monastic life by hearsay if not be experience, yet they are complete strangers to the character and profession which should teach it. Indeed these people suddenly as you know, receive tonsure at their own pleasure and by their judgement instantly become not monks but abbots. Because they clearly have neither the knowledge nor the zeal for monastic virtues, what more can be appropriate to them than the curse of the gospel where it is said: ‘If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit?'”
    (Ecclesiastical History of the English People -Penguin 1990)

  • Catherine says:

    Hi, Would you know a blessing that goes something like:”May the waves of the ocean be yours, May the wind be yours ………” for the funeral of a Wellingtonian with Orkney roots.
    Blessings, Catherine
    [Catherine – sounds like the blessing from John O’Donohue – you will find it on my blog here. i have sent you an email.]

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