There will be an opportunity to Gift Aid your donation, and/or to direct your gift to the brothers, or sisters or a particular house, after you have completed the final page on PayPal (PayPal account not required).

Houses

Bring on the Biomass!

bm19bm23

 

For the past two months there has been a great upheaval at Hilfield Friary. Roads and paths have been fenced off, trenches, a metre and a half deep, have been dug between all the houses, and earth and stones have been piled up across the grass. When the rain began around St Francis Day in early October after a wonderfully dry September, the place began to look like a re-creation of the Western Front! All this has been undertaken in order to install a biomass heating and hot-water system for the Friary that is carbon neutral, burning wood-chips sourced from local woodlands.

It has been a huge communal effort. The trenches, in which are laid the large insulated pipes for supplying water from the boiler to the houses, have been dug by members of the Hilfield Community, together with local friends and visitors, under the direction of Jonathan Herbert; and everyone has played some part in the work. John Griffin, a local farmer, has generously lent the Friary his mechanical digger. There have been unexpected problems, and snags and crises such as when water and sewage lines have been broken – at times it has felt that the task would never be completed – but the end is in sight! Bob Roddy and his team from Amber Heating, who have been installing the boiler, tanks, plumbing and electrics, have been tremendously supportive and encouraging, and Bioheat, the firm which has designed and supplied the system, has been very helpful. Good friendships have been made through this work.

 

When the system is commissioned sometime around the end of October it will mean not just a saving on fuel costs, but, more importantly, a re-connection with the creation in which we live and of which we are a part, a further step towards sustainable living, and a deeper sense of gratitude for heat and hot water!

bm10 bm3

A fond farewell in Newcastle.

A service of thanksgiving was held in St Anthony’s Church for the ministries of Brs David, Micael Cristoffer and Malcolm as they move on to new assignments. The three Brothers each chose a piece of Scripture or prose to reflect upon and then a favourite hymn. Canon Stephen Herbert (co-ordinator of MINE) officiated at the service along with Br Damian SSF. Afterwards the congregation – who consisted of parishioners and clergy of the MINE Parishes, members of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis and Brothers of the First Order – were treated to a lovely tea.

 

Brs Micael Cristoffer, Malcolm and David at the end of the service

Brs Micael Cristoffer, Malcolm and David at the end of the service

St Anthony’s Friary: a year on.

Recognising the need for a clear opportunity to share in the life of a northern city and to provide a place for the training of novices in urban Franciscan ministry,  the Chapter sought a place in the Newcastle upon Tyne area to open a house for up to four Brothers. This location would also put the Brothers in reach of the established Friary at Alnmouth thus making a practical link between the two Community houses. The Bishop of Newcastle kindly invited the Brothers to establish a presence on the East side of the city, centred on the vacant Vicarage in the parish of St Anthony of Egypt, Byker. He blessed the Friary and the four resident Brothers on 15th September, 2013.

The new Friary has given its first year to get to know the area and to discover ministries both set within the house itself and in the Byker/Walker area. We were particularly welcomed by the local group of parish clergy who are formed into a unique shared ministry under the title Mission Initiative Newcastle East (MINE). The two brothers who are priests, Malcolm and Damian, have been able to serve in the five MINE parishes, at St Anthony’s more specifically. The two novice brothers who have been in training, David and Micael Christoffer, have been in placements attached to two of these parishes. Links were established also with the Cedarwood Trust, a highly active organisation which offers pastoral care on the Meadow Well estate in North Shields.

The Friary has been welcomed by many of the local churches as a house of prayer in what is a seriously deprived area with high rates of unemployment and some deep social problems. Clearly there are opportunities with the local CofE Primary School, with the elderly, and in carrying forward the life of the parish in which we are situated. While accommodation is limited, we are laying some emphasis on hospitality and we have agreed to give priority to welcoming from time to time a homeless person directed from the local de Paul Night-stop programme.

September marks the month in which charges of personnel in the noviciate will occur. We are also losing Malcolm who has been asked to form another modest presence, with Christopher Martin, at Westcott House in Cambridge. Malcolm has been appointed Chaplain commencing this Autumn Term.We ask for prayers as this represents a new start for all mentioned above, including those serving in St Anthony’s Friary from mid-September: Damian, Robert, Michael Jacob and James Douglas.

Bishop Martin of Newcastle, Brothers and Guests at the Blessing of St Anthony's Friary

Bishop Martin of Newcastle, Brothers and Guests at the Blessing of St Anthony’s Friary

An aerial view of St Anthony's.

An aerial view of St Anthony’s.

Staying at a Friary – A Student from the University of St Andrews reflects.

We are very grateful to Alex Taylor (a Divinity Student at the University of St Andrews) for giving his permission to reproduce an article he first wrote for the newsletter of his local Church (All Saints Episcopal Church). Alex is part of a group of students and townspeople who come to visit Alnmouth Friary on a regular basis:

“…The former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey once described Anglican religious orders as being ‘the best kept secret in the Church of England.’ This is a great shame, for the monastic life offers some of the richest experiences of Christian service and worship.

On the weekend of Palm Sunday, a group largely composed of students, including a good number from All Saints, went on retreat to the Franciscan Friary at Alnmouth in Northumberland. Alnmouth is one of the main houses of the Society of St Francis, a Franciscan order whose emphasis is on serving God in the whole of creation. The friary is set on the Northumberland coastline with beautiful views out over the sea on one side and the countryside on the other. It is the home to a small number of friars who combine a life of prayer and worship with a dedication to service and friendship of all. And of course, it is the spiritual home of a good many more people who have found God’s love and presence more fully realised in the silence of the chapel or the fellowship of the table. Continue reading

Filming at Hilfield.

Some photographs of filming by the Little Portion Film Co Ltd which took place at Hilfield Friary  recently. The film, which is about St Francis, is being directed by  Paul Alexander.

 

Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

The Film Crew in the field.Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

Filming at night. Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

The San Damiano Cross. Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

The Nativity Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

Richard with the Sheep Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

St Francis Picture (c) Little Portion Film Company (by kind permission of Georgia Charter).

Community Hay making at Hilfield.

The Hilfield Community making hay together. (Photo by kind permission of Georgia Charter)

The Hilfield Community making hay together. (Photo by kind permission of Georgia Charter)

 

Patronal Festival at St John the Baptist, Alnmouth.

Br John presided and Br Reginald preached at the Patronal Festival of the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Alnmouth. Our guests from the Friary joined us to celebrate the Eucharist at the Parish Church.

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Alnmouth.

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Alnmouth.

Br Reginald Preaching

Br Reginald Preaching

Brs John and Reginald with Susanna (the Reader)

Brs John and Reginald with Susanna (the Reader)

Br John with Isabel and John (the Churchwardens)

Br John with Isabel and John (the Churchwardens)

First Parish Group at the New Convent in Il Seon Ri

On 22nd May, Srs Frances and Jemma welcomed to their new home a group of around 30 people from a church in Daejeon Diocese who had been unable to attend the Blessing the previous week.  It was a joyful celebration of God’s guidance and provision for the Community in Korea, and of their vision for the future.   The group shared refreshments, joined in a beautiful Taize service in the chapel, listened to the story and then all went out to lunch to celebrate!  It was the day before the sisters left for Seoul, so Sue and Gina were able to see the ministry of hospitality unfolding in the sisters’ new home.

 

Rejoicing together

Rejoicing together

Taize service in the Chapel

Taize service in the Chapel

Srs Frances and Jemma serving the group

Srs Frances and Jemma serving the group

Sr Gina with the group

Sr Gina with the group

Gathered in the living room

Gathered in the living room

Frances speaking about the Community

Frances speaking about the Community

The Metheringham Labyrinth

The Sisters at San Damiano, in partnership with the Diocese of Lincoln, have put a labyrinth in their garden. A labyrinth provides a path for a meditative walk. It can symbolise the ‘inner journey’ to the Centre, to God, and to stillness, and the ‘outward journey’, taking that centeredness with us into our daily activities. Unlike a maze, there are no dead ends and no possibility of getting lost, so long as one keeps one’s eyes on the path and doesn’t try to anticipate the turns in it.

The labyrinth at San Damiano will be dedicated by Bishop Christopher on Wednesday 28th May when there will a Eucharist in the chapel at 6.30pm, then the dedication of the labyrinth, followed by a ‘bring and share’ supper, with an opportunity also, to walk the labyrinth. If you live near enough to join us, you will be very welcome to attend – please let us know you intend to come, as our chapel isn’t terribly big.

After 28th May, the labyrinth will be available for walking every week, Wednesdays to Sundays, depending a bit on other events that may be happening in the house. It is situated in the grass by the turning circle in front of the house.

 

The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth

New CSF House blessed in Il-Seon Ri (South Korea)

On May 16th 2014 the Bishop of Busan (the Rt Rev’d Onesimus Dongsin Park) blessed the new CSF house in Il-Seon Ri. Srs Frances and Jemma were joined by Gina and Sue from the UK, SSF Brothers from the Province of the Divine Compassion and over one hundred guests.

 

Bishop Onesimus at the door of the house.

Bishop Onesimus at the door of the house.

The Bishop enters

The Bishop enters

The Consecration of the new Chapel

The Consecration of the new Chapel

SSF Brothers from the Province of the Divine Compassion with CSF Sisters and other Religious.

SSF Brothers from the Province of the Divine Compassion with CSF Sisters and other Religious.

Srs Frances and Jemma in their new Chapel

Srs Frances and Jemma in their new Chapel

Frances, Jemma, Gina and Sue with Bishop Onesimus

Frances, Jemma, Gina and Sue with Bishop Onesimus

The Foundation Stone

The Foundation Stone

A view of the house

A view of the house

P1670570

 

Alnmouth Friary – Open Garden

On Sunday 25th May there will be an ‘open garden’ event in Alnmouth Friary from 2.00pm – 4.00pm. There will also be tours of the Friary.

may2014 013 may2014 014 may2014 019

Franciscan Responses to Poverty – 13th – 17th January 2014

On Monday January 13th Sisters and Brother began to arrive in Alnmouth for the ‘Franciscan Responses to Poverty’ Conference (organised as part of the ‘ongoing formation’ initiative). On Tuesday we were joined by Steve Forster and Liz Chadwick of ‘Together Newcastle’ who described some of the ways the current situation affects our near neighbours. As part of the day we were challenged to budget effectively for a family of four on a reduced income; a very difficult if not impossible task. On Wednesday Dr John Hughes (Chaplain of Jesus College Cambridge) gave a wonderful presentation on the response of Church leaders (and in particular Popes Francis and Benedict and Archbishops Justin and Rowan) to the global economic crisis. During the presentation he suggested that there is a great need for those responsible for economic praxis to give due regard to the effect it has on the poorest members of our society. Economics needs to be ‘grounded’ in the reality of life. On Thursday Averil Swanton TSSF joined us to talk about the work of Franciscans International who are already challenging poverty and injustice throughout the world.

One group attempting to budget for a family of four on a reduced income (with Liz)

One group attempting to budget for a family of four on a reduced income (with Liz)

 

 

A group attempting to budget for a family of four on a reduced income (with Steve)

A group attempting to budget for a family of four on a reduced income (with Steve)

 

 

Br John introduces John Hughes

Br John introduces John Hughes

 

 

Br Hugh and Averil Swanton τSSF

Br Hugh and Averil Swanton τSSF

IMG_1610

 

A New Novice for SSF

James Race was admitted to the Novitiate this evening by Br Benedict taking the name Br James Douglas. Joining him were his Mum, friends from the village and beyond and members of the Community. Please pray for Br James Douglas and for others discerning a vocation to Religious Life at this time.

 

James asks Br Benedict to admit him as Novice

James asks Br Benedict to admit him as Novice

Br Benedict gives James the Blessing given to Br Leo by St Francis

Br Benedict gives James the Blessing given to Br Leo by St Francis

 

Brs Benedict and James Douglas

Brs Benedict and James Douglas

Br James Douglas, his Mum and Fr Sam

Br James Douglas, his Mum and Fr Sam

Brs James Douglas, Robert and Marjory

Brs James Douglas, Robert and Marjory

Br Robert and Isabel

Br Robert and Isabel

Br Hugh and Averil Swanton τSSF

Br Hugh and Averil Swanton τSSF

 

 

 

Two First Professions.

Br Joseph Emmanuel made his Profession in vows on Thursday 24th October in Alnmouth Friary and Br Christopher Martin made his Profession in vows in St Aidan’s Church in Leeds on Monday 4th November.

 

 

 

 



Br Desmond Alban with the newly Professed and the nearly newly Professed!

Br Desmond Alban with the newly Professed and the nearly newly Professed!

Brs Benedict, Christopher Martin and Desmond Alban kneel before the Altar

Brs Benedict, Christopher Martin and Desmond Alban kneel before the Altar

Brs Benedict, Joseph Emmanuel and Desmond Alban kneel for the Veni Creator

Brs Benedict, Joseph Emmanuel and Desmond Alban kneel for the Veni Creator

 

 

A New Guardian in Alnmouth.

Br John was installed by Br Benedict as Guardian of the Friary at Alnmouth during Evening Prayer on the Feast of St Francis following his election to the office by the Provincial Chapter. Br Jason Robert – whose term as Guardian came to an end recently – will be moving to the Monastery of St Mary at the Cross (Glasshampton) later in October.

Br Benedict and Br John following the service.

Br Benedict and Br John following the service.

 

St Anthony’s Friary Blessed by Bishop Martin

On the 15th of September the Franciscans Friars at St. Anthony’s Friary, Walker, had the privilege to invite Bishop Martin and local friends for a house blessing of their new friary. On an otherwise cloudy Sunday brother Sun made an appreciated appearance just in time for the house blessing. After Bishop Martin blessed the Friary the brothers enjoyed a cup of tea and a Swedish cake in good company with their guests.

 

Blessing of house 1

Blessing of house 2

Centre Scoops Diamond Jubilee Award

The St Philips centre in Leicester, where one of our sisters Chris James works, has been chosen to receive the Lord Lieutenant’s Diamond Jubilee Award. The honour is in recognition of the Centre’s work to promote good inter-faith relations and bringing to prominence the concept of ‘service’ through its work with faith communities.

 

 

Leicester Parks Day – 2012

 

St Matthew’s Local Community Parks Day, Leicester Sisters Beverley, Chris James and Jenny Tee serving tea and scones and providing a quiet space to relax at Parks Day.  The weather was kind and the day was a great local success, with something for everyone.  We were sorely tempted by the inflatable climbing wall and the suomo wrestling, but stayed focused on the tea and scones!

 

Greyfriars Official Re-opening and Blessing of the Restoration Works

Sister Sue CSF writes:
Greyfriars Chapel in Canterbury, built on the site of the first Franciscan dwelling in England in C13, and incorporating some ancient friary buildings,  was re-opened after extensive restoration work, and blessed by Bishop Trevor, Bishop in Canterbury, on Thursday 26th April.
Brother Austin, Master of Eastbridge Hospital and Guardian of Greyfriars welcomed us and  Jonathan Carey, of Donald Install Associates, the Architect to Eastbridge Hospital, gave a most interesting insight into the history of the building which is now Greyfriars Chapel, and its recent restoration,  Peter Williams of Viridor,one of the donors also spoke at the ceremony, which was followed by refreshments in the Eastbridge Hospital.
Those attending included Reginald, Benedict and Sue, local clergy, tertiaries, companions and friends, and Roman Catholic friars and others from the Franciscan Study Centre.
Brother Austin thanked all those who had contributed financially to the Restoration Fund: – Franciscans from around the world, including SSF, OFM, and TSSF, Viridor, Colyer Ferguson Trust, Friends of Kent Churches, The Don Beerling Trust, The Tory Family Trust and many individuals.

New video for CSF Leicester house

Sr Christine James CSF gives us a ‘virtual tour’ on her bicycle around the Leicester house area click here to see it.

The Metheringham hermitage

 

Thanks to a fantastic group of volunteers who gathered recently over a weekend, the hermitage in the grounds of the Metheringham house is now erected and available for use. The sisters decided to put a log cabin in the wooded area of the grounds to create additional space for individual quiet days and as a space for spiritual direction and prayer. The hermitage is insulated, has heating and electricity, so suitable for use all year round.
Anyone interested in using this space for the day please contact the sisters through the ‘Where we Are’section of this website.

The cabin arrives ‘flat-packed’ concrete base is prepared in process…..
up the ladders… phone consulation for advice from above! Srs Liz & Judith Ann give moral support!
Come in, be still,
escape the noise, demands
and busyness of life.
Enter the peace and tranquillity of the Metheringham Hermitage.We look forward to welcoming you.
The completed hermitage Through the window!

Alnmouth Friary Jubilee Celebrations

Br Desmond Alban writes:
The brothers at Alnmouth celebrated their 50th Anniversary on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 15th August 2011. Somehow we sat over 100 people in the chapel in reasonable comfort, and the enthusiastic singing was swollen too by a number more guests in the narthex beyond. We celebrated with a festal Sung Eucharist at which Bishop Frank White (Assistant Bishop of Newcastle) presided and Brother Samuel preached. (Click here for the text of the sermon). The congregation was made up of many friends, old and young, and the lovely weather allowed everyone to enjoy a picnic lunch in the friary garden. Indeed, the main celebrations ended with Evening Prayer in the open air, just before we welcomed the new guests arriving that day for business as usual.