Who We Are

Monkfish Abbey met together as a community from early 2003 until fall of 2007, when their hosting family moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. This site is a record of our history together. We hope you can find help and companionship here. Our Abbess, Rachelle Mee-Chapman is still writing about spirituality and new religious rites and rituals (among other things) at Magpie Girl. If you are looking for a community in Seattle, we highly recommend Church of the Apostles at the Fremont Abbey. Many blessings to you on your continued journey!

Option A

At Monkfish Abbey, we are in the process of growing a soul-care community. We think it’s important to be connected to God, attentive to our souls, and present and loving to the people in our lives. We meet in the warm red dining room in the Fremont/Wallingford district of Seattle. There are sometimes five of us and sometimes fifteen of us. We are mostly in our 20s and 30s, mostly married, and a few of us have young ones running around. Most of us are Christians, or were Christians, or at least dig Jesus – but not everyone would hang their hats on any of these etymological pegs and that’s okay too. We are seekers, searchers, explorers, experimenters…you get the drift. We like art and music and we make a lot of that stuff. We talk a lot and eat a lot. In fact eating dinner together is the only thing we always do at a gathering (everything else changes from week to week, whim to whim, need to need.) We pool our money to help people out. We practice a set of practices and celebrate certain seasons. We have two simple reasons for being together 1) to stay connected to the Divine. 2) To stay connected to others. Oh yeah, and number three, 3) we like each other.

We used to be called ThPM and our old description of who we are still applies.

We are a group of friends and acquaintances. We are people who help each other move. We paint each other’s bathrooms. We make birthday cakes. We are people who want to recognize that time is not a renewable resource, it matters how you spend it We want to know the new lady with the little girl who moved in next door. The guy in the next cubical. The dreadlock barista at the coffee shop. The yoga teacher with the cool chimes. The plumber at our worksite. The outrageous waiter with the t-shirt that says, “I’m Gay… Don’t Tell Anyone.” We are people who like life. We are artists. We are computer programmers. We are parents. We are beer lovers. We are people who fight, who laugh, get bored, get inspired. We make music; we make soup. We laze around in the sun; we play scrabble in the rain. We listen to loud music; we go with each other to get tattoos. We read good novels; we learn about wine and cheese. We are explorers. We are people who want to worship God, and talk to God, and listen to God. We are people who readily admit we are not entirely sure what that means. We are people who learn not from a leader, but from one another. We blow dust off of old books, we reform old beliefs. We uncover ancient practices and make them our own. We say, “I was wrong,” We look twice at something that catches our eye. We seek.

Option B

We are a trippy little spiritual growth group with Judeo-Christian roots and yen for ancient and future practices. The concept of “shalom” is central to us, and we try to find ways to move our lives and the lives of others into a place of increased wholeness.

Option C

We are a neomonastic incarnational community. (This is the kind of answer postmodern/emerging church planters like, so if that description fits, this one is just for you!)

Neomonastic: 1) a new form of monastic living. 2) Being somewhat like a monastery – only without the chastity, poverty, or living in one building together. What’s left?

  • Regularly celebrating a common meal, conversation and communion.
  • Paying attention to the people in our parish (neighborhood) and learning to extend and receive love from them.
  • Practicing contemplative practices so we can be present to God and the world around us. (Our contemplative practices usually involve some sort of art, because many of us are artists.)
  • Celebrating religious holidays and seasonal events.

Incarnational: We believe the thumbprint of the divine is present in all things and in all people. We try to live as though God, present in us, is actually available to us. (Because we believe that it’s true!) We’re learning to live in ways that offers that divine source of love to those around us.

Some of us are Jesus-y people. For those of us who are Jesus-y we usually describe this incarnational reality as Jesus being present in us, existing mysteriously in our souls.

Others of us think more in terms of a divine presence or a higher power — a sort of “Namaste” concept–the divine in me greets the divine in you, the light in me reaches out to the light in you.

We are learning to make space for each other as we explore this mysterious reality.

To learn where we picked-up the term “Jesusy” read this by Annie Lamott or listen to this from “This American Life”. To find where we caught “Namaste” check out this.

Community: To us, this means a collection of people who belong to each other in varying ways. Some of us see each other often throughout the week. Some of us connect only on the night of our weekly gatherings. Some are long- term friends who now rarely see each other, but who treasure a joint history. Some are just beginning to form new friendships. For some the Abbey is their main religious home (i.e. “church”), but for others it is a complimentary spiritual stop in the course of their week. One way or another, we find belonging here.

We also sometimes use the terms emergent, postmodern and co-individuals.