The cell is the only space that is solitary, and silent, free from distraction. I know extraverts who believe that solitude and silence is cruel and unnatural; but I believe it has a necessary place within a bigger picture – which includes places that introverts will find hard to inhabit. Within a monastery, the cell is usually the simply-furnished bedroom. For those who do not live in a monastery, the bedroom might not be a distraction-free place (for example, it has become normal to have a television in the bedroom); and for those who are not single, it is not a place of solitude, but shared. Creativity is required to define a cell: perhaps a garden shed to retreat to, or a comfortable armchair in a secluded corner. Key to the cell is taking enough time to enter into silence: clearly this is hard to do within busy lives with multiple demands on our time; it requires both the discipline to protect this space, and the grace to establish a sustainable pattern rather than take on an unsustainable demand.
What experiences do you have of the cell within missional community?