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Focus on: Hilfield

Focus on Hilfield

CARE is the watchword for life at Hilfield Friary: Community, Agronomy, Respite and Ecology. The small community of six Brothers who live here is Richard's workshop on school gardeningenhanced by the greater Hilfield Friary Community, so today there are friars, married families with children, single adults and younger volunteers sharing the life of the Friary. Buildings have been adapted to give community members suitable accommodation and privacy according to their circumstances. Duties and responsibilities have also been shared, under the leadership of Samuel as Guardian, so that all may feel part of the community and be fully involved in its growth and development. There is also space for short term volunteers and there is a cohort of local friends who come to help with various tasks day by day and share fully in our life when they are here. We relate as far as possible with local society and other Christian communities, pioneering a radical form of Christian community life.

Hilfield Friary is set in nineteen acres of gardens, meadows and woods. Managing this land properly, Agronomy, to the best standards of organic farming and food production is a very important part of our life together. Related to this is the purchase and preparation of the food we cannot grow ourselves.  As far as possible we follow the LOAF principles of buying Local, Organic, Animal friendly, Fairtrade products. Our gardens, meadows and woodlands are open to all and become a living demonstration of good practice.

page 11 Giles watching sculptorAt Hilfield we can also accommodate many guests and day visitors. Many people come to share our life of Prayer, Worship, Community and Work. This is a valuable ministry offering Respite to people with all sorts of different needs.   Comfortable accommodation, wholesome food, quiet spaces and the opportunity to share the community’s life of prayer and celebration can be very healing and refreshing. Throughout the year we offer a variety of conferences, courses, study days and other programmes, which people can attend. There are facilities for people to spend time on sabbatical or, where necessary, for stays of several weeks for those in particular need.

We are also concerned with Ecology.  We do all that we can to live simply, to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible. Through double-glazing, insulation, and thermostatic control we have been able to reduce our power consumption of gas and electricity. Our solar panel array also feeds the local grid. Recycling also plays a big part in our lives. The use of vehicles and garden machinery is watched carefully. Our cows and sheep do a lot of the mowing for us! We are also aware that good ecological practice involves thinking about climate change. This is a political issue in which we are prepared to be involved, taking part in local and national campaigns, lobbying and demonstrations. It also means understanding issues of justice, peace, migration, land use, water and reconciliation. Inter-faith dialogue and engagement also take place.

Together we seek to be a living community dedicated to the spread of the gospel through our CARE for people and for the creation. f