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Community Routes

Community Routes

Summer camps

Hilfield Families Camp

Jonathan Herbert writes:

This year’s family camp was attended by nearly 100 people of all ages, some who had been coming for over 40 years and some for the first time.

This year it took the theme of refugees and there was input for all ages on this pressing issue for our country and the church. The pre-teenage group organised a sleep out in the top field in solidarity with those on the move in our world and raised sponsorship money for Brother Johannes and his work with refugees in Calais.

Jonathan led the adult morning workshops, looking at themes of migration, refugees, Gypsies and Travellers and the Scapegoat. Also, Brother Hugh gave an excellent presentation on his time in The ‘Jungle’ in Calais.

The usual programme of a barn dance, variety show, trips to the beach, and so on  were augmented by a new ‘super hero’ day, which meant the Friary played host to Batman, Catwoman Superwoman, the Hulk and many others.

Midweek there was a very moving Taize service with the Chapel filled with candlelight and images of refugees on boats, queuing at borders and in makeshift camps.

The camp concluded with the Sunday Eucharist, with St Francis’ Chapel turned into one big tent, singing Marty Haugen’s hymn ‘Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live … all are welcome in this place ‘.

Hilfield Youth Camp

James Douglas writes:

If there is one lesson I wish churches would learn from McDonald’s and the world of football, then it would be the importance of devoting their resources to attracting the next generation. Therefore, it was with much excitement when I and Br. Micael Cristoffer were once again asked to be a First Order Franciscan presence at this year’s Hilfield Youth Camp, particularly as it’s one of the few occasions during my novitiate where I have an opportunity to spend time investing in the next generation of Christian disciples.

It was of course also in the midst of much fun and laughter a wonderful time to rekindle old friendships as well as a great chance to make new ones. As many readers will be aware there was special significance attached to this year’s camp as it was forty years since the Hilfield Youth Camp began way back in 1976. Hard to imagine that HYC has been going longer than I have been alive!

As ever there was a wide range of pursuits for the young people to be involved in each day. Off-site there were opportunities for various activities and adventures, such as swimming, high ropes, shooting, and archery as well as the annual walk to Cerne Abbas followed by the traditional cream tea.

While on site there was the opportunity for arts, crafts, games, and various forms of entertainment each evening including the end of camp review, providing us with even more opportunities for fun and laughter! Of course one mustn’t forget the daily round of chores for the young people to complete such as washing up, food preparation, and cleaning the showers and loos!

Yet what always strikes me the most in the two youth camps I’ve been involved in is the way the young people absorb themselves in the worship. Whether it’s quietening themselves down to experience the stillness of compline, their imaginative planning of the morning and evening worship sessions, or their engagement with what’s being shared by those leading from the front.

What was very rewarding however was seeing the young people meeting with God, and watching them grow in their faith. Even more moving though was the privilege of being able to share our stories as Franciscan brothers, whilst also having the space to listen to theirs.

We concluded a heartening few days with a fun day to celebrate the youth camp’s fortieth anniversary. It was a most memorable day as former campers were able to join us and to share their testimonies of what God has done in their lives through HYC. So as we give thanks for all God has done in the first forty years let us pray we will see a new generation attracted to following in the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ through another forty years of the Hilfield Youth Camp.

Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage

Michael Jacob writes:

Again this year Joseph Emmanuel and I had the privilege of being present for five days at the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage, held as usual in a field up the road from the Shrine. Again it was muddy, wet at times, dangerously windy at others and the showers were unfit for anything other than getting dirty feet by the end of the week. What a privilege though it was to be there again. To see nearly five hundred young people worshipping God, receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and hearing excellent teaching on the important elements of the Faith. Joseph Emmanuel was assisting with a group of over ninety young people from Yorkshire and Michael Jacob again took up the role of Street Pastor, available on camp to be a listening ear for anybody, youth or adult who might want to talk.

The theme this year was ‘Mercy Works’ inspired by Pope Francis calling the church to the Jubilee Year of Mercy. On three mornings, parish groups with their priest led the Mass with different presentations on the theme of mercy. Those three mornings stand out for me, in their beautiful simplicity and the profundity they shared with all gathered in the Big Top tent where we worshipped daily. At the closing Mass, each parish group made their pledges of mercy, and I defy anyone to say they were unmoved by the pledges made. The usual components of sprinkling with water from the Holy Well, Benediction and Confession all added to the week to make it a truly special pilgrimage for all. People are fond of saying that our youth are the future of the church; actually they are the church now and are hungry for Jesus. It was good to see that being realised within the catholic tradition.

Greenbelt Festival

The Franciscan team again had a slot on the main programme at Greenbelt 2016—three slots, in fact, as each afternoon they presented a session in ‘The Grove’ a small outdoor space among the trees. The outdoor aspect did not deter an audience of 60-80 people, even when it poured with rain a quarter of an hour into Saturday’s session!  With presentations on creation, humility, and justice, there was no shortage of questions from the ’floor’ and some interesting conversations followed afterwards.

The Anglican Religious Communities had a tented stall to promote religious life, so some of the Franciscans and honorary Franciscans were also involved with staffing there.

Here they come…

Michael Jacob writes:

At the end of August, the Anglican First Professed Brothers and Sisters came together for their annual conference at St Mary’s Convent in Wantage. We started off with a fresh look at the English Mystics in an inspiring talk from Sister Alison OSB. Later on, we found ourselves sitting under the trees in the garden, discussing the virtues and vices of the contemplative life versus the apostolic life, based on our experience in the different communities. We somehow came to the conclusion that our lives are not all that different, despite the diverse tags.

Arguably the high-light of the conference was a day of Creative Writing, facilitated by Pauline Hobbes, a poet from the North East.  Her gentle beckoning style drew even the more timid in. Some of us already had ample experience in Creative Writing; whilst others were prob-ably rather astounded by a potential unbeknown to them.

Needless to say, the social side of these conferences has a high value in itself: a good opportunity to catch up with people from other communities in discussions till late. But also the Sisters expressed their joy at having us, just like the astounded vicar when we turned up at the midweek Eucharist in the parish church (and tripled the attendance). We went home, refreshed and with new inspiration.

Round up

Amos has moved to Leeds, and Cristian Michael to Glasshampton.

Anselm celebrated the 60th anniversary of his profession in vows at Glasshampton, on 8th December 2016.

Michael Kenney has been admitted as a postulant and will be noviced at Alnmouth on 17th December taking the name of Finnian.

In Korea, Sister Juliana, formerly a member of the Society of the Holy Cross, is living with Frances and Jemma while discerning whether to transfer to CSF. f