Is God opening the biggest door yet for Lee Abbey SMCs?

This is an archived item that expired on 15 December 2015.

Lee Abbey has had a small missional community in Bristol now for 23 years (then called a ‘household’). The houses in Knowle West were built for people who were made homeless when the central Bristol slums were being cleared out and demolished in the 1930’s. Right back then when it was built an amazing order of Catholic Nuns moved in as part of the new community called Knowle West.

Following up on a rumour late last year Ed went and knocked on the door of the old convent, “Hi, I’m from the Lee Abbey community in Knowle West just down the road and we heard you were maybe moving out?” The answer came back, “No”. Ed went away unsure as to what was going on. The past season for the community there hasn’t been easy, team had dwindled and accommodation has been a real challenge. Could God be opening up a door with the Convent and it was just that the remaining 2 nuns didn’t know it yet?

Well after some enquiries and further investigations the answer is yes!

Front view of the ConventWe are in the final stages of negotiating the purchase of the 10 bedroomed Convent which sits right in the very heart of Knowle West. We’re so excited about how God has been moving in this part of the Lee Abbey Movement and the property could really house all the vision and people to continue to serve Knowle West in this new season. It would encourage an even deeper response to the urban poverty there and would carry on the presence planted from the very beginning by the Order and Lee Abbey since. But it could do more than that. It could house people exploring community on mission, it could catalyse more Lee Abbey teams being equipped and sent throughout the country to be part of God’s plan for transforming lives and places, especially those trapped in urban poverty.

But we can’t do it without more prayer and more money. We have some money but it is not enough yet. We need to raise about £300,000 and we need your help to do it. Could you think and pray about investing in this part of the Lee Abbey Movement? You would be making it possible to purchase the Convent and keep it firmly as a place of mission in Knowle West but you would be doing more than that. You would be investing in the overflow of Lee Abbey’s pledge to communicate Christ through relationships into some of the poorest and most forgotten places in the U.K.


Rear viewWe believe that this is a God-given opportunity to increase the impact of the community (new openings to share God’s love through hospitality, outreach, discipleship and training) and build on the existing heritage of prayer and faith of the Convent, in an area we know and love but that is subject to long term unemployment and urban deprivation. Indeed: where the small missional community has felt limited by the size of the house – on a housing estate where none of the houses are big enough to hold a community – we feel this could be God’s exciting answer to many of our prayers. If you are able to make a donation please do so via the donation page, indicating that the donation is for Knowle West, or by sending a cheque payable to “Lee Abbey Household Communities” to Paul van Rossum, SMC Treasurer, 18 Townsend Lane, Almondsbury, Bristol BS32 4EQ. Email: 

Thank you for your prayers and partnership in the gospel.


More about the Knowle West Small Missional Community…