Chris Yaw Interviews Jamie Coats: How the Monks Stay Ahead of the Game

Taken with permission from

The popular vision of monastics may include ancient religious observation in drafty, stone chapels - is this hardly a place of innovation?

Jamie Coats works for the Society of St. John the Evangelist near Boston. He helps this community of 20 monks, who are devoted to preaching and teaching, get the word out in some pretty cool ways.

In this interview, Jaime talks about the innovative spirit at SSJE and his role as a, 'witness to a cycle of kindness.'


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For generations, the Cowley brothers of Boston have blessed the Church with their gifts of teaching and preaching. Jaime says they may be so gifted at change because their eyes are not on preserving the past, but on God who is leading into the future. Here are my notes from the interview:

Get Your Stuff Online

Religious institutions generate solid content every week. Why hide it under a bushel basket? Jamie says sharing these gifts, in print and digital formats, is a call from the Spirit so that the world may now God's love.

Brother, Give Us a Word

There's an amazing hunger for God. Jamie says the brothers are meeting this by sending out daily words (aphorisms from recent sermons) that are getting amazing traction. At least 20 new email sign ups a week (mine was today!).

How Do They Stay Current?

Yes, it may sound cliche: by listening to and for God. The brothers build listening into their common life of prayer and devotion. Their core commitments to wisdom and beauty help guide, but it's listening for the Spirit that is at the SSJE foundation.

About Jamie Coats

Jamie Coats, serves as the Director, Friends of The Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE), an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He helps the Brothers of SSJE with communication programs, development, finding advisors and long-range planning. Recent projects include the $12m Stone & Light Capital Campaign to renovate the monastery, a more in-depth Cowley Magazine from SSJE, and creating Brother, Give Us A Word, a daily email devotional from the Brothers. He describes himself as a winged-boot fitter, helping people and organizations take spirited steps to better radiate the ever present love of God.