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FOCUS ON CAMBRIDGE

Malcolm and student reduced pixFr Martin Seeley, the former Principal of Westcott House, was keen for a religious community to establish itself at the College. He approached SSF to see if they could spare brothers, one of whom would act as chaplain for the staff and students: the college trains deacons and priests for the Church of England.

We arrived to open a new house in Cambridge on 1st September 2014 and, at the time of writing, have been here for just over a year. In that time we have made a lot of new friends and got to know old acquaintances much better, been involved in new projects and helped in the local communities.

Originally moving into the Principal’s Lodge at Westcott House where Brother Malcolm is the College Chaplain, we had a quiet month getting to know the other staff and for Malcolm to learn about his new role. The busy-ness began in October, when we moved into more permanent accommodation and the students arrived. We were welcomed formally by the community and Brother Malcolm was licensed on October 2nd, where we celebrated the feast of Saint Francis a little prematurely.

Malcolm's licensingMuch of Brother Malcolm’s work revolves around Westcott House, looking after the Chapel, organising services and prayer groups, and seeing students and staff. The College have been incredibly kind and generous to us and we both attend the College’s Chapel for the Daily Office and Mass and have meals and social time with the staff and students in the College refectory and bar.

Our work at Westcott is wonderful, helping a new generation of church leaders realise that there is a beautiful array of vocational possibilities and that the Religious Life is alive and active in the Anglican Communion. Following Martin Seeley’s consecration and move to become the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, our new Principal, Chris Chivers, has been very enthusiastic about our presence and as a parish priest hosted the recent Melanesian Mission, when members of the four Anglican Religious Orders in the Solomon Islands, including the Society of Saint Francis, visited the UK.

While based at Westcott, Brother Christopher Martin works much more in the local community. He page 12 Chris Martin bkshopregularly volunteers at the local Books for Amnesty shop where he is responsible for the human rights, economics and politics sections. He is also on the steering group for the Cambridge Church Homelessness Project, which opens up churches during the winter months to provide shelter and food for homeless individuals. Last winter he was also spending one night a week sleeping in the churches and helping with the cooking.

Christopher Martin was also involved with Lyn’s House, a project started in Cambridge and based on the L’Arche model of community, with which Westcott House has very strong links. Once a fortnight he would help prepare a meal and prayers for the small community, which included two adults with learning difficulties.

We also help at local churches, especially the church of St Edward, King and Martyr, Cambridge, which is currently in interregnum, and we both greatly enjoy our links with the Third Order, which is still very strong in the Cambridgeshire area. Christopher Martin also recently took over as the Provincial Bursar for the brothers and so a lot of his spare time is now spent behind a laptop looking at figures and replying to emails.

We recently started a new academic year, with a fresh batch of ordinands all eager and slightly terrified at what lies ahead for them and their families. We hope to help support them through these difficult transformations and to help them learn more about themselves, their vocations and God. f