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SSF

Greenbelt 2017

Sisters and Brothers from the First and Third Orders were present at the Greenbelt Festival held in the Boughton Estate. The Daily Office and Eucharist were offered in the Franciscan tent and the ‘Mobile Monastery’ was also there. The Festival (which was entitled ‘The Common Good’) provided numerous opportunities for people to listen to music, poetry and talks as well as to socialise and pray. In addition to the Franciscans (Bev, Chris James, Maureen, Hugh and Finnian) three other Anglican Religious Sisters were also present Sr Hilda Mary CSC, Sr Catherine CHN and Sr Helen OHP.

 

The Franciscan Tent.

The Franciscan contingent (and friends)

The Rev’d Debbie Plummer TSSF presiding at the Eucharist.

Alnmouth Friary – Retreat bookings

Alnmouth Friary is now entirely full for the year 2017 and therefore we can not accept any more bookings. There are, however, plenty of spaces in 2018!

Sr Sue in Korea (2)

At the CSF Korean Regional Chapter meeting in Cheonan on May 1st, Brother Raphael represented the SSF Korean brothers. The brothers had just returned from Brisbane where their Provincial Chapter had been meeting. (The brothers in Korea are part of the Province of the Divine Compassion.)  During that Chapter in Easter Week Raphael had been elected to Life Profession  and his Life Profession service had taken place. The sisters were delighted to hear his news and seized the opportunity to celebrate with him in a festive coffee break during their meeting.

Life Profession in Cambridge

On Saturday 22nd April Br Christopher Martin made his Life Profession before the Bishop Protector Stephen Cottrell (the Bishop of Chelmsford). Chris was supported by Brothers and Sisters of the Society, members of his family, friends and members of the College community at Westcott House (where Chris currently lives)

Br Benedict (L); Br Chris Martin and Bishop Stephen Cottrell (R)

Canterbury Brothers acknowledge the contribution made to the UK by migrants.

Br Micael Christoffer writes:

On the 20th of February (the UN World day of Social Justice) people from all over the UK celebrated the continuing contribution of migrants to this country. The Brothers in Canterbury joined others in marking this by attending a march and holding it in prayer at the Eucharist (the march passed by the Chapel in which some of the Brothers were Celebrating the Eucharist). On the same day the Westminster Parliament held a debate about the proposed visit of Donald Trump to the United Kingdom. This, coupled with the ongoing Brexit debate was also noted by those participating on the march. Speaker after speaker proposed that we focus on hope and not fear. The march was attended by several hundred people representing the Church, Universities and others.

 

Newcastle Brothers Protest!

Br Robert writes:

On Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January), President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting people from seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the USA, an act which provoked condemnation on a worldwide scale.On the 30th of January, there were protests all over the UK, calling on Prime Minister Theresa May – who appeared ambivalent when interviewed on the policy –  to condemn the ban. The Brothers in Newcastle decided to register their opposition to the ban and all it stands for and joined in one such protest. It was wonderfully inspiring to be part of a huge assembly, which had gathered at 24 hours notice around the Earl Grey Monument in the City Centre. The organisers used the occasion to send a clear message against hatred. Many signs stated ‘Refugees are welcome here’. It gave us a great sense of hope, that civil society is still so alive and well in the UK: And willing to stand up!

Br Anselm’s 60th Anniversary of Profession

On the 8th of December the Community celebrated Br Anselm’s 60th Anniversary of Profession. Br Anselm (who was Headmaster at Hooke School and then Minister Provincial) has served in many different places including Cambridge (where he was Vicar of St Benet’s), on a council estate in Birmingham and in the East end of London. He now exercises a much valued Ministry of Spiritual Direction and is resident in the Monastery at Glasshampton.

The Eucharist was Celebrated by the Bishop of Worcester (Dr John Inge) and attended by many of Br Anselm’s friends after which there was a Feast in the Refectory.

 

 

 

Church of the Poor? Franciscans at the Church Action on Poverty Conference

Br Robert writes:

On the 19th of November, Church Action on Poverty (CAP) gathered its supporters for its annual conference at the Unitarian Cross Street Chapel in Manchester. Among them were two First Order Brothers and two Tertiaries one of whom, Helen Hood TSSF, serves  as one of the Trustees. It was also a nice surprise to bump into Brother Fabian nCR. As it turns out, we are not the only Anglican religious community supporting CAP!

img_0021CAP felt inspired by Pope Francis, who recently said: ‘How I wish, that there was a church of the poor.’ We started by listening to poetry, which was created in a local Creative Writing Project, where people could articulate the joys and frustrations of their lives. Then various different groups and people were given a chance, to give presentations: contributions ranged from a congregation who had opened their door to the homeless, a Baptist Minister who founded an alternative church in an area of deprivation and an Evangelical Pastor who presented his research on the ‘Myth of the undeserving Poor.’ Following this we broke into round table groups discussing how we could transform our churches into places of and for the poor.

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Lunch was a good opportunity to meet and catch up with people. In the afternoon, we saw a panel discussion deepening our conversation, followed by more round table discussions and a final plenum. At that point, it was time for the AGM and about half of the audience discretely sneaked away. It felt like an enriching day, at which the Franciscan presence was well appreciated. We are looking forward to a growing partnership between SSF and CAP.

Footprints

Neil Baird included a paragraph written by Br Hugh SSF in his photoessay on Carbon Footprints which may be found on the Maptia website (click here)

Photograph © Neil Baird 2015 and used with his permission

Photograph © Neil Baird 2015 and used with his permission

Brother Hugh lives in a Franciscan community in the Dorset Countryside.

“What everyone knows about St. Francis is the ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’ stuff. The idea is that we do not have dominion over things, but that we are all equal creatures with the things God has given us. Climate change is by far the biggest issue. It’s not the end of the world — we’ve had six mass extinctions, and we’re now going through the seventh — the biggest extinction since the end of the dinosaurs.

Maybe for the Earth that’s good, there are some greens who might say that human beings are a scourge, and that we should go and that the Earth would be better off without us and start all over again. As a Christian I think human beings are rather important, and I think while we are fellow creatures we have a responsibility. We are the first creatures who have knowingly almost destroyed themselves. Climate science can overwhelm us, or make us cynical, but there’s Christian hope.

We have to be offering, not condemning people for what they’re doing but actually showing people that there is a different way, empowering people to live a different way. If you present everything in purely scientific ways people turn off with the figures, people know what we have to do, but actually there needs to be poetry, sport, music, worship. It needs to be culture that changes people’s lifestyles.

Science is never going to do that. We know the science and we’re not doing anything. Unless living more simply makes us happy we’re never going to do it.”

 

Every Human Being is Loved by God…

Br Robert writes:

stand-up-to-racism-005At a time when there is a deeply worrying increase in the number of racist incidents being reported in the UK 1,500 people gathered together in London on the 8th of October to attend the annual ‘Stand up to Racism’ conference. The great number of people, as well as the obvious diversity within the audience was an encouraging sight. There were Refugees and Immigrants; Activists; Campaigners; Trades Unionists; Teachers; Politicians and people who are simply concerned. As part of this great assembly there were three Franciscans representing the Society of St Francis and specifically the SSF Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Working Group. It was a day full of input and networking opportunities. The most useful meeting organised support for the refugees in Calais. We were reminded by speaker after speaker how harmful racism is to its victims, and, sadly, how widespread it is in this country. Towards the end of the day, Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot were enthusiastically welcomed although their speeches were, perhaps, rather more political and rather less practical than those which preceded them.

New Video from the Solomon Islands

Topsham TV have produced various YouTube videos about life in the Solomon Islands. One of these films features Br Hilton SSF talking about the life of our Brothers. It may be found by clicking here.

Melanesian Religious at the Lambeth Conference

Melanesian Religious at the Lambeth Conference

Br Reginald SSF – 96 Years young!

Br Reginald celebrated his birthday in style over the weekend. On Saturday Brothers from the Friary were taken for a lovely meal by good friends and then, on Sunday, the Celebrations continued with a lovely meal and a glass of ‘something’ before lunch.

 

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reg 96 005

Interment of Damian’s ashes

A message from the community at Hilfield:Damian

The internment of Damian’s ashes at Hilfield will take place on Friday 11th March at noon, following the Eucharist. You are asked to contact the Friary at Hilfield and notify them of your intention to come.

The Friary, Hilfield, Dorchester,

Dorset, DT2 7BE, 01300 342314

hilfieldssf@franciscans.org.uk

Novice Conference on Early Monasticism

Monday 25 January saw an Internovitiate study week held at The Convent Of The Incarnation in Oxford on the subject of Early Monasticism. Novices from a wide variety of Anglican Religious Communities attended. Br Thomas from Mucknell Abbey led all the sessions. Initially, we looked at desert hermits. We discussed how largely illiterate people operating at a time when Christian monasticism was amorphous, armed with as many psalms and new testament passages as they could memorise set out to seek God in the wilderness. Renouncing everything and having little sleep and little food they sought to imitate Ezekiel, John the Baptist and especially Jesus. They forced themselves to do battle with a variety of temptations describing them as demons. These were later called passions or impure thoughts that needed driving out through prayer and hurling scripture at them.

We then looked at how these hermits formed small communities of around ten growing into larger more organised cenobiums of up to five thousand. We looked at the rules of Pachomius, Cassian, Basil, Augustine, The Master and Benedict. We discussed how these rules, and the communities they governed developed over time until they had all of the basic features of modern monastic life. Focus was directed at their food and drink, novice formation, authority and rules governing excursions. John Cassians’ edict that postulants should lie outside the monastery for ten days before entering was, thankfully, omitted from later rules! Time was given for participants to get to know each other and share experiences. I was struck by how madly, deeply in love with God these early monastics were that they would go to such extreme lengths to purify their hearts and obtain the peaceful mind of the full knowledge of his love when all other distractions (demons) have been removed.  Richard Fryar

 

Richard is currently a Postulant resident in Alnmouth Friary.

Funeral arrangements for Br Damian SSF

Br Damian’s Funeral will be at St Michael’s Parish Church, Alnwick on Wednesday 3rd February at 1.00pm and will be followed by a private cremation.

No flowers by request.

Damian SSF

Br Damian SSF RIP

Brother Damian died peacefully at St Oswald’s Hospice in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne at 7am on Sunday 17th January, a year after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. The Brothers of the Society of St Francis are grateful for your prayers but would respectfully ask that you do not contact either Alnmouth or St Anthony’s Friary. Details of Damian’s funeral arrangements will be posted on the website once they have been finalised.

May Damian Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!

 

Damian and St Francis (from the franciscan)

Damian and St Francis (from the franciscan)

First Profession at Alnmouth

Br Michael Jacob made his Profession in First Vows at a Eucharist held in Alnmouth Friary today. Br Benedict (the Minister Provincial) Celebrated the Eucharist and received Michael Jacob’s vows and Br John (the Guardian of Alnmouth) preached. To mark Br Michael Jacob’s Profession the Novice Rope with its one knot was replaced with the Traditional three knotted rope.

The Eucharist was attended by over seventy people many of whom had travelled a considerable distance to be with Michael Jacob. We were particularly pleased to welcome members of his family from Wales.

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Br Benedict receives Br Michael Jacob’s vows

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Br Michael Jacob’s Novice rope is removed.

At the reception afterwards...

At the reception afterwards…

London Climate March

Paris-delegation-2015_opt_full_storysixtyOn Saturday 29th November four Brothers (Edmund, Hugh Micael Christoffer and Robert) marched from Hyde Park Corner to Westminster with over 50,000 others on the London Climate march on the even of the UN Paris Climate conference. We met many fellow Christians especially from CAFOD and Tear Fund. The CAFOD website says:

‘On the eve of the Paris climate talks, 570,000 people took to the streets in 175 countries to show world leaders that reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change is urgent.

‘For the love of future generations to a passion for people living in poverty, our supporters were united in faith and solidarity, holding placards with quotes from Pope Francis’ message on climate change.

‘The march kicked off with an interfaith service at Westminster Synagogue where over 200 campaigners from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist traditions reflected on the issues which unite them, and re-committed themselves to caring for creation, for our neighbours and to tackling climate change.

‘It ended with a rally outside the Houses of Parliament, with Charlotte Church and other celebrities expressing their support for the climate movement.’

Franciscans show their solidarity with Refugees.

Br Robert writes:

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One Saturday in mid-September, whilst the heavens were pouring down with rain, 500 hardy people came out to show that Refugees are welcome in the North East. Among the crowd marching to Newcastle City Council who met to discuss the issue, were two Franciscan Brothers. As usual, it was a great opportunity to connect with all sorts of people most of whom knew nothing about Franciscan life or had ever heard about Anglican Franciscans but there were also great conversations with the odd Theological student and with friends from the Quakers. After the speeches we followed several people to pack boxes for the Refugees in Calais, which were collected in the area to show solidarity with the Refugees in Calais. It was inspiring to see the incredible generosity of the people which manifested itself in a store house full of huge piles with food and clothing.

General Chapter

From Monday 7th September until Friday 11th September the majority of Sisters and Brothers from the First Order of the Society of St Francis met in the King’s Park Conference Centre (Northampton) for the General Chapter. The theme for this General Chapter was engaging with people of non-Christian Faiths and we had the great privilege of meeting people from the Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim Faiths. On Tuesday morning Fr Damian Howard SJ delivered a most interesting lecture on Islam suggesting that we should not be afraid to engage our Muslim friends and neighbours in conversation about our Faiths. In the afternoon we heard a thought provoking lecture on Buddhism given by Ajahn Amaro who is the Abbot of the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. On Wednesday morning Dr Jane Williams gave two sessions on two meditations on passages of Scripture which suggest a possible framework for co-operation with people of other faiths and then on Wednesday afternoon two expeditions were organised, one to Amaravati Buddhist Monastery and the other to the Benedictine Monastery in Turvey. On Thursday morning we were introduced by Professor David Ford to the practice of ‘Scriptural Reasoning‘ (a way of discussing comparable passages of Scripture with people of other Faiths) and were then able to observe a Scriptural Reasoning session being conducted by Christians, Jews and Muslims. On Thursday evening we were fortunate to be joined by our Bishop Protector (Bishop Stephen Cottrell of the Diocese of Chelmsford) who celebrated Mass with us an delivered an entertaining and challenging sermon.

Sr Sue CSF, Sr Damien OSC, Brs Christian and Hugh SSF with Julie Siddiqui

Sr Sue CSF, Sr Damien OSC, Brs Christian and Hugh SSF with Julie Siddiqui

Sr Chris, Brs Jason and Malcolm sharing a cup of tea with Imam Ibrahim Mogra

Sr Chris, Brs Jason and Malcolm sharing a cup of tea with Imam Ibrahim Mogra

Taizé: Reflection Week on the Relevance of a Religious Vocation

Br David writes:

In the beginning of July I had the privilege of representing SSF at the Ecumenical Community in Taizé, France. Since this is the Year of Consecrated Life in the Roman Catholic Church, the brothers at Taizé had organised a weeklong conference about the relevance of a Religious vocation. The Community at Taizé is an ecumenical community where the brothers come from different church traditions: Catholic, Protestant and Anglican.

There were about 350 Religious from all part of the world attending the conference. Each day we joined with the brothers and the other visitors (about 2000 of them!) for prayers three times and we also listened to several talks each day as well as having time to gather in small groups to talk about our experiences of living out a Religious vocation in very different circumstances.
The talks were given by several interesting speakers: a Coptic Orthodox bishop from Egypt, a former General Prior of the Carthusians, the Superior General of the Jesuits, several Orthodox monks and nuns, the Master of the Dominican Order, the Minister General of OFM, Sister Annaliese from the Community of the Sisters of the Church and many others.

Bishop Anba thomas

Bishop Anba thomas

Sr Annaliese and Br Thomas Durr

Sr Annaliese and Br Thomas Durr

Br David SSF, a Coptic Priest and two Dominican brothers

Br David SSF, a Coptic Priest and two Dominican brothers

Italian Friars singing the Canticle of Creation

Italian Friars singing the Canticle of Creation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Br Michael Perry, Minister General OFM

Br Michael Perry, Minister General OFM

One of the Small groups

One of the Small groups

First Professed Conference at Wantage in August.

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On Monday the 24th to Friday the 28th of August five SSF brothers attended the First Professed conference at St Mary’s Convent in Wantage. During the week we had input from several different people touching on various subjects ranging from the Song of Songs, social media and end of life care.  We also joined the sisters at the Convent for their offices, and there was also plenty of time for socialising with the other First Professed brothers and sisters.

Franciscans at Greenbelt.

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Franciscans have attended Greenbelt since the 1980’s, often with members of other Anglican Religious Communities. Together they make Community on the campsite and invite Greenbelters to pray with them. This year Br Samuel will be animating the main Sunday Communion Service (more details here)

‘Song of the Prophets’ at Hilfield

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There are still spaces for the ‘Song of the Prophets’ weekend at Hilfield Friary. The weekend, which begins on Friday 4th September and ends on Sunday 6th September will be led by the Rev’d Dr Susan Durber, Stephen Dominy and Br Hugh SSF. Details may be found on the Hilfield website or by clicking here.

Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage

Brs Mike and Joe wrapped up agains the cold (and wet) of Norfolk!

Brs Mike and Joe wrapped up against the cold (and wet) of Norfolk!

Brs Michael Jacob and Joseph Emmanuel took part in the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage 2015. Entitled ABBA-Father, the teaching sessions were focussed on the Lord’s Prayer and especially on the idea of God as Abba – our loving Father. Bishop Lindsay Urwin OGS (who is leaving the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham to take on a new ministry in Australia) gave Bible studies each day and preached at the final Mass at which his unique contribution to the Youth Pilgrimage over many years was acknowledged. Apart from Mass other Liturgies took place throughout the week giving pilgrims (who are aged between 12 and 16) an opportunity to make their Confessions, receive the Sacrament of Anointing, the laying on of hands and counsel. We were also encouraged to visit the Shrine Church on an all-night relay to offer prayer and see that most beautiful and holy place in stillness and silence.

Br Michael Jacob was especially busy as a ‘Street Pastor’ (giving Pastoral care to all pilgrims), as a leader for a group of Pilgrims from Wales and also taking part in a discussion about Vocation run by the the Shrine in conjunction with the Diocese of Norwich in which several young clergy on Pilgrimage took part. Br Joseph Emmanuel was part of the leadership team for a group of nearly 90 young people who came from Yorkshire, Sweden and Finland. A wonderful, humbling experience to accompany such wonderful people on their journey of  faith.

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‘Being present with the delightful and the difficult!’

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Anglican Novice Guardian Conference 30th June-3rd July
Title: ‘Being present with the the delightful and the difficult

This was held at St Mary’s abbey, West Malling. Br Amos and I together with 7 others took part.
Chris Cullen who is a mindfulness teacher and psychotherapist gave the input and shared with us mindfulness techniques, which were very helpful. It was a valuable and thought provoking day and we all wanted to learn more and build on what he had taught us.
The remainder of the time was spent planning the study programme for the novices 2016-2017 and other business. This annual conference gives us time to be together and opportunity to share and  learn from each other, as well as pray with the Community where we stay.
Beverley CSF

The blessing of the ‘mobile monastery’

IMG_0158The ‘mobile monastery’ was blessed by  the bishop of Leicester, the Right Revd Tim Stevens on Monday 22ndJune in Bushy Park, opposite St Matthew’s house in Leicester. Sisters joined Beverley and Chris James, from Birmingham, London and Metheringham, friends from Leicester and further afield also attended.

The rain began to pour ten minutes before the service so about 15 of us squashed into the ‘van’ while others gathered around the entrance. After the service the sun came out and we stood outside the van and had tea and chocolate cake! Children from the local primary school and their mothers came into the park and some of the children came up to the ‘van’ thinking we were selling ice cream! The balloons were given to the Mothers later for the children to take home.

The vision for this project has now come to fruition through a Trust Fund giving funding for a 3 year WP_20150622_15_15_58_Properiod.

The idea  for the project is for Anglican Religious to be more mobile and visible, to attend Summer festivals, visit schools, encourage people in their faith journey, to visit theological colleges, clergy conferences, and other events within dioceses.

As well as Franciscan sisters and brothers taking part in this project, other members of Religious Communities will be asked to help out too.

Beverley CSF

 

The Order of Service for the Blessing may be downloaded as a Word document here.

A short video of the Blessing may be found here.

“Seeking Sustainability” at Hilfield

On the 27th of June 2015 the Hilfield Community will be hosting an event entitled ‘Seeking Sustainability’ from 10.00am to 4.00pm. A PDF of the Poster is available here.

The Friary

St Francis House, Hilfield by Minna Harvey

Internoviciate Conference at Hilfield.

A conference for Novices from various Communities was held in the Friary at Hilfield recently. As well as having the opportunity of living alongside the Hilfield Community for a few days they received input from Br Sam (the Guardian of Hilfield) and learnt about the ministry which takes place there.

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Treasures Old and New

A number of brothers and sisters were in Whitby this week for ‘Treasures Old and New’ – a conference bringing together members of religious communities, both traditional and new.

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With thanks to Tom Colbran for his permission to use this picture