This is Abbot Christopher Jamison from Worth Abbey, a monastery deep in the Sussex countryside. Author of the very popular book – Finding Sanctuary – he’s actually my old headmaster as I went to the school the monks run down there, but he’s now moved on to a loftier role, and is a bit of a celebrity here in the UK, having let cameras in for 40 days and nights to film a kind of reality TV show a couple of years back.
The Monastery saw a group of guys from different backgrounds enter the monks’ inner sanctum and live like them with some stunning results.
At the time Christopher had asked me to promote their website while the show was on TV, so I set him up with a Google Adwords account. He was especially keen to appear on keywords to do with vocation discernment for which they run spiritual retreats as well as a special course called Compass. All these quickly became oversubscribed.
A few weeks back he called me up and said they’d hit the jackpot! Not sure what he meant as I’m pretty sure Do Not Gamble is the 11th commandment, but he went on to explain that because of our search campaign, a guy had come along to one of the retreats, found some kind of “calling” and was now going to become a monk!!!
He even wrote down a testimonial which went something like this:
And so I began to feel that God might be
calling me to the priesthood.
I felt I really needed to talk to someone,
but I had no idea who to turn to.
Well, I turned to Google. I think I typed in something
like ‘retreat’ and ‘religious vocation’.
Top of the list was “The Monastery” website.
If it hadn’t been for THE INTERNET…
I would probably still be a software engineer!
So what is Microsoft or Google’s loss is God’s gain……
Just goes to show that it’s not all about cheap loans, holidays and digital cameras. People are actually using search engines to find a completely different way of life.
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