Carmelite Spirituality Groups (CSGs)
Carmelite Spirituality Groups have developed in the British Province since the late 1990s. Originally they were communities of Lay Carmelites in new locations who did not have enough members to constitute a formal 'Chapter' of the Third Order. However, from 2006 a new form of Spirituality Group has developed that seeks to offer an experience of 'Carmel' in a contemporary and inclusive way.
The 'Carmel in the City' CSG in London
CSGs in York, London, Leeds, Mawdesley, Manchester and elsewhere are convened by professed members of the Third Order and follow the Third Order's formation programme, but they are open to anyone interested in the Carmelite way of life, not simply those seeking to make formal profession of promises.
The inaugural meeting of Canterbury (now East Kent) CSG in February 2011
CSGs are open to all enquirers, including different expressions of the Carmelite charism, and Christians of churches other than the Roman Catholic Church who respect the Catholic ethos of the community.
York CSG with Bishop Terence Drainey of Middlesbrough Diocese
Many Carmelite Chapters of the Third Order are also open to enquirers from a wide variety of backgrounds, and are adopting the CSG meeting format, which puts a lot of emphasis upon formation, silent prayer and Lectio Divina, social time, and a varied and 'holistic' programme of events that address a wide range of life issues from a spiritual perspective.
York CSG on a visit to the city's mosque
To download (in PDF format) a leaflet for enquirers about the Third Order that explains its relationship to Carmelite Spirituality Groups, please click here. Carmelite Spirituality Groups are very much part of the vision for the development of Lay Carmel in Britain, as stated in the 2007 Vision Statement for the Third Order.
The inaugural meeting of Leeds CSG in May 2009
Groups similar in outlook and format to Carmelite Spirituality Groups also exist in other provinces of the Order, such as the Carmelite Explorers group in Dublin, and the Karmelbeweging (Carmelite Movement) in The Netherlands, where Lay Carmel has been developing for decades.
The inaugural meeting of Manchester CSG in February 2011