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Life as a Franciscan Sister…could this be for me?

life as a Franciscan Sister …..could this be for me….?

a day to explore Franciscan community life in the Church of England

Sr Gina CSF addressing a Conference

Franciscan sisters share their stories of God’s call and their life in community

DVDs on St Francis and Franciscans today to help us reflect, with opportunities for discussion

time for your questions …….

Lunch, tea/coffee etc provided

Sr Liz Baptising

 

Date:Saturday 20thOctober 2018:  10am – 4pm

Central London venue:  The Community of St Francis, St Alphege Clergy House, Pocock Street, London SE1 0BJ

Booking essential(by 15thOctober please)

To book:   Contact suecsf@franciscans.org.uk/ 020 7928 7121  with your name and contact details.

 

“The world is my cloister” St Francis of Assisi

 

Alnmouth Guests Email

Br David SSF

The Guestbrother in Alnmouth (Br David) now has a ‘dedicated’ email address which is alnmouthguests@franciscans.org.uk People wishing to enquire about booking a Retreat at the Friary should use this address and not alnmouthssf@franciscans.org.uk

New Secretary of the Companions

Br Jason Robert SSF has taken over as Secretary to the Companions. He may be contacted at the Secretary’s email address (companions@franciscans.org.uk) His postal address is:

Br Jason Robert SSF, The Friary of St Francis, Alnmouth, Northumberland, NE66 3NJ, 01665 830213.

 

Alnmouth Friary

Brother Giles SSF – Rest in Peace

Br Giles with Hilfield Community members.

Br Giles SSF died early on August 19th, after a short illness. His years of service in SSF included many in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The brothers in the Solomons have sent this touching tribute on behalf of both Provinces.

“TO GOD BE THE GLORY GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE THROUGH BR. GILES.SSF. IN THE PACIFIC PROVINCE BOTH IN PNG AND SOLOMON ISLANDS IN THE EIGHTIES AND NINETIES. It was a great shock to the brothers in Patteson house on the 19.August at night prayer when it was announced that Br. Giles died. As Pacific island provinces, we will greatly miss him. He cares very much on Pacific Islanders arriving in UK. He was a great brother, his hospitality and tour guide programs for visiting brothers from Pacific provinces is a history to those who been to UK. We greatly miss him and we pray that his soul may rest in Eternal peace and rise in glory.”

Br Giles’s funeral will take place at Hilfield Friary on Thursday August 30th 2018 at 12.15 pm.

If you are attending please let the friary know. There will be lunch provided afterwards. Responses to hilfieldssf@franciscans.org.uk

Rob Evans was admitted to the Novitiate by Br Benedict at Evening Prayer on Sunday 5th August. Rob, who has taken the Religious name of Br Tobias, was joined by members of his family and other friends at the service. Tobias will remain in Alnmouth until he moves to Glasshampton in the new year.

Br Tobias nSSF with Br Benedict SSF

 

Life Profession at Alnmouth

Br Micael Christoffer (Brother in Charge at Alnmouth) made his Life Profession today. Bishop Stephen Cottrell (Bishop Protector) received Micael’s vows on behalf of the Church. The Rev’d Madeleine Dahl (a member of the Companions of Christ and Associate Priest of the Parishes of St Paul with All Saints and St Mary and St John Chatham) preached. A long standing friend of Micael’s, Madeleine’s Sermon, based on the five wounds of Christ (shown in the Cross of St Bridget of Sweden), charted five significant points in Micael’s journey. For more information about the Companions of Christ please click here.

The Rev’d Madeleine Dahl.

Micael prostrates himself before the Altar

Br Micael makes his Vows

BR CHRISTIAN SSF RIP

Please pray for the repose of Brother Christian SSF who died this afternoon (July 5th) at Newham Hospital.

Please remember him, his friends and family, and the brothers in Plaistow in your prayers. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!

Brother Christian SSF (David John Pearson).
Born 3 March 1942.
Received as novice in SSF 5 February 1972.
First profession in SSF 5 February 1975.
Life profession in SSF 4 February 1978.

Br Ramon SSF

Canon Arthur Howells, a friend of Br Ramon’s, has written a book about Ramon which includes extracts from Ramon’s writings. Entitled A Franciscan Life it is published by the Bible Reading Fellowship and costs £8.99 (ISBN: 9780857466624). Br Christopher John SSF (Minister General of the Brothers of the First Order) writes “…Congratulations to Arthur Howells and BRF for producing a book which encapsulates what I knew of Br Ramon SSF. I really appreciate the way the author has blended the story of Ramon’s life with extracts from Ramon’s own words. And the thematic extracts from his writings provide material for individual or group reflection. Personally, I will be using the book for my daily spiritual reading, as a ‘starter’ for prayer. Thanks for the publication of this book which I am sure will do a lot to help keep Ramon’s teaching alive…”

SSF YouTube Channel

Br Christopher John (Minister General of the Society of St Francis) has been making videos on his Pastoral visits around the Provinces. Click here to be taken to his YouTube Channel.

Book Launch at Alnmouth Friary

The Friary, Alnmouth written by local historians Patricia Jones and John and Stephanie Yearnshire was launched today in the library of Alnmouth Friary. The launch, which was attended by Lord and Lady Howick (Son and Daughter-in-law of Lady Mary Howick a great benefactress of the Friary) and other guests marks the culmination of a year of research into the history of what is now the Friary of St Francis but which began life, more than a hundred years ago, as Lint Close the home of Mr and Mrs Scholefield of Alnmouth. It was particularly good that Br Reginald (acting Guardian of Alnmouth in 1988) was present as well as many friends of the Friary.

The proceeds of the book (which costs £4.00) will go towards the work of the Society of St Francis.

 

Br Reginald enjoying the book

Lord and Lady Howick with Patricia Jones and John and Stephanie Yearnshire

Br Micael (Brother in Charge)

Br Jason (who was involved in the production of the book) with John Yearnshire and Lord Howick

 

 

 

 

Vocations Event in Southwark

Life as a Franciscan Sister …..could this be for me….?
a day to explore Franciscan community life in the Church of England

  • Franciscan sisters share their stories of God’s call and their life in community
  • DVDs on St Francis and Franciscans today to help us reflect, with opportunities for discussion
  • Time for your questions …….
  • Lunch, tea/coffee etc provided

Date: Saturday 28th April 2018: 10am – 4pm

Central London venue: The Community of St Francis, St Alphege Clergy House, Pocock Street, London SE1 0BJ
Booking essential (by 21st April please)
To book: Contact suecsf@franciscans.org.uk / 020 7928 7121 with your name and contact details.

“The world is my cloister” St Francis of Assisi

Franciscan Brothers in Hong Kong

Following a much appreciated visit to Hong Kong last year by three Brothers a further visit has been undertaken. This year Br Alfred Boon Kong and Br Christopher John (from the Province of the Divine Compassion) have been joined by Br Martin John (of the European Province).

Br Hugh: co-winner of the Church Times ‘Green Champion Award’

On Monday 16th October Br Hugh received a ‘Green Champion Award’ at a ceremony in Lambeth Palace in recognition of his efforts to raise awareness about environmental issues. At the ceremony a message from Archbishop Justin Welby was read out in which he said: “Responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation. Meanwhile, to love our neighbour — particularly, in this case, our neighbour whom we may never meet but who lives daily with the profound threat posed by this moral crisis — is at the core of what it is to follow Jesus Christ. “The dedication and devotion of those shortlisted for the Green Church awards is extraordinary and their recognition well deserved.” We give thanks for Br Hugh and for the Hilfield Community of which he is a part.

 

Br Hugh with his award

Br Samuel SSF and Sr Gina CSF were also present at the ceremony

Br Cristian Michael and Sr Gina attend CIR gathering in Castellar Ring

Br Cristian Michael writes:

Br Aidan OSB with Br Cristian Michael SSF and Sr Gina CSF

I was very blessed to represent SSF at a Congress which took place at Schwanberg in a Bavarian Convent of Lutheran Benedictine Sisters. I traveled with Sister Gina CSF and Brother Aidan, a  Benedictine from Mucknell Abbey.  Our main topic was ‘How Religious life may contribute to the renewal of the Church’. Attending were a mix of Brothers and Sisters from different communities and denominations – Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans and Orthodox, Benedictines, Franciscans,Chemin Neuf, and Dominicans. The presence of mixed languages made it very interesting (English, French, Italian, German and Norwegian).  Father Nicholas CR and his team did a wonderful  job planning our daily program: we had time to socialize, meet and discuss, and join in the daily prayer life with the Sisters there. We also had a free day at Würzburg, a beautiful town with a lot of history and also many memories of suffering and loss of life.  This town was nearly destroyed in the Second World War, which led us to prayers for peace in the world and unity. We met two or three times a day in our language groups to discuss our topics, and they were many: Ignatius and Luther-discovery of a spiritual relationship; the consecrated life’s contribution to the Catholic Church; devotional talks by Sisters Gina CSF, Ruth CCR, and Paula OSB; a talk from an Anglican perspective; and many more. As a whole it was a rich and

Sr Gina CSF addressing the Conference

blessed meeting full of new and promising views and advice that the Brothers and Sisters shared, so we can contribute each one of us in our tradition as Religious members in our communities, for a revival and renewal of the Church worldwide. Being there and seeing all the Brothers and Sisters together in a spiritual network and being united in an internal relationship surrounded by prayer is what strengthened us, bonding us in Christ and as God’s people. After all what we all seek is to be good servants and work for God’s Kingdom and his people wherever they may be in this world, with no hesitation whatsoever, and always to seek and find common ground and unity. I came back with a heart full of joy and hope for the future, and also with new friendships with the Brothers and Sisters who were present there. May God bless us and watch over us in all we do to make this world a better place for the future generations to come.

 

Sr Gina with Br Jacob CR

Sr Gina with other participants

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.

Service of Thanksgiving for CSF’s Ministry in Birmingham

On Saturday 23rd September there will be a Service of Thanksgiving for CSF’s life and Ministry in Birmingham beginning at 2.30pm in Christ Church Memorial Hall, Summerfield Crescent (adjacent to the Church in Gillott Road, B16 0EZ). It will be followed by light refreshments in St Francis’ House (on the corner of Gillott Road and Westgate B16 0ET). Join us to give thanks and celebrate the Sisters’ life and Ministry in Birmingham, over more than 4 decades, in 3 successive locations:

  • Trafalgar Road, Balsall Heath, working with Wellclose House.
  • St Elizabeth’s House, Hampton Road, Birchfield
  • St Francis’ House, Gillott Road, Edgbaston

This marks the end of our corporate ministry in Birmingham, as Sisters Hilary and Jannafer move from St Francis’ House.

If possible please let us know you’re coming by emailing  birminghamcsf@franciscans.org.uk or telephoning 0121 454 8302.

Life Profession in Alnmouth

On Friday 28th July Br Joseph Emmanuel made his Life Profession in the Society of St Francis which was accepted on behalf of the Church by the Bishop Protector (Bishop Stephen Cottrell). Sister Helen Julian CSF preached at the Mass and Br Joe was joined by people from many different stages in his life.

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!

Franciscans at Greenbelt!

Br Hugh writes:

For over twenty-five years Franciscans have been attending the Greenbelt Festival and praying the Four Offices in our tent Chapel. We will be there this year too and look forward to welcoming people to pray with us. In addition to there being Franciscans of both First and Third Orders we will be joined by Sisters from other Anglican Religious Communities.

Our contribution as Franciscans is a small part of this four day multi-arts inter-generational festival. I’m looking forward to a feast of extraordinarily good talks, drama, art, music, culture on the 2017 theme ‘the common good.’ If you’ve never been it’s an amazing experience and more information can be found by clicking here. Please pray for good weather!

 

Hugh SSF

Franciscans and friends at the Kirchentag in Berlin and Wittenburg – 24 – 28th May 2017

Br Hugh; Br Micael Christoffer; Br Robert; Dörte

Brs Robert, Micael Cristoffer, Hugh were joined by Darius and Dörte, present and past volunteers respectively at Hilfield from the church in the Rhineland at this four day event which the Evangelical – Lutheran – Church holds in a different German city every 2 years. This year Berlin and Wittenburg had been chosen as it is the 500th Anniversary of the start of Luther’s reformation. We were part of over 100,000 people attending. Brothers, both British and German have attended over the years but this was the first time we had gone as a group with an official stall.

Our stall, with a display in both English and German, was open from Wed 24th May till Sat 27th. We had been placed by a main entrance into our enormous hall, the market of opportunities, only one of several similar halls in the Messe, the Expo Centre. During the week we could sample only a fraction of the other stalls, and even less of the city wide events, even though some were translated or in English. Many people were intrigued by the existence of Anglican Franciscans in England and many stopped to talk. It was really good to have three native German speakers among us; nevertheless many visitors to our stall spoke sufficient English so all of us could participate. We gave out hundreds of Franciscan magazines and leaflets, and invited many to visit us, or even to join us. It was very hot, and we gave out lots of cups of tea too.

We also renewed contacts with some members of German communities and orders, as well as meeting some TSSF who were visiting from the UK, and a number of theological students with excellent English.

L-R: Br Robert; Darius; Br Hugh; Br Micael Christoffer

The pictures show our stall, which we staffed in shifts while the others explored elsewhere; the opening service (in which Justin Welby spoke) was held at the Bundestag. We heard Barak Obama and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, speaking to thousands the next day, in the Kirchentag tradition of politicians being involved, and various outside musical events. We spent a lot of time travelling on trams and buses round Berlin between the school where we slept to the east of the centre, and the Expo Centre to the west; so different to when I last visited in 1983 – there are now very few traces of the wall left.

Luther and family?

Robert and Micael spent the final Sunday at Wittenburg, Luther’s town, and only 50 mins by train from Berlin, at an enormous celebration.

We are already looking forward to the next Kirchentag in 2019.

The Bundestag

Martin Luther with one of his Swedish sons!

The final celebration in Wittenburg

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.

Sr Sue in Korea (1)

Won Seong Dong Church in Cheunan, Daejeon Diocese in South Korea on 30th April during Sue’s visit to the Sisters.  Here Sue is  preaching with Jemma interpreting.  The altar frontal and lectern fall are Jemma’s work – her sewing business making vestments, church linen and clergy clothing bring her into fruitful relationships with many churches of various denominations.  This Anglican church is where Juliana works 2 days a week, staying overnight, and normally making the 2 hour journey by train back to Gumi, on Sunday evenings.

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)

Bishop Michael Perham RIP

We learnt with great sadness of the death of our former Bishop Protector Michael Perham who died yesterday evening after a serious illness. Bishop Michael was a great friend of the Sisters and Brothers of the Three Orders of the Society of St Francis and contributed greatly to the wider Church as a Liturgical Scholar and Bishop. We assure Alison, his wife, and his family of our love and prayers. May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!

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 Finnian SSF – a new Novice for SSF

On Saturday 17th December our Postulant Michael Kenny was admitted to the Novitiate taking the name of Finnian (after the 5th Century St Finnian of Clonard who is accredited with being one of the founders of Irish Monasticism). He will remain in Alnmouth Friary for the present before moving to Glasshampton in the New Year. We hope that two men will come in the early New Year to begin the process of discernment within SSF.

Br Finnian’s habit resting on the Altar.

Br Finnian with the Rev’ds Pat and Martin Gilham TSSF

Br Finnian with Br Benedict (the Minister Provincial) and Br Amos (the Novice Guardian)

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.

img_0020

 

 

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.”