There will be an opportunity to Gift Aid your donation, and/or to direct your gift to the brothers, or sisters or a particular house, after you have completed the final page on PayPal (PayPal account not required).

‘Song of the Prophets’ at Hilfield





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.


Sister Joyce on Radio 4

Joyce was asked to contribute to the  Radio 4 Programme  “ What is Love?”, which was broadcast on July 30th as part of the History of Ideas series.  The programme looks at eros in particular, and the idea that erotic love has far wider reach than just sexual desire, but can inspire passion and creativity, and a spiritual desire for God.  Joyce speaks about the vow of celibacy, love for God, and prayer  (you can listen online here)

Joyce with Sr Maria Asuncion inside the Cathedral of St James, Santiago de Compostela

Joyce with Sr Maria Asuncion inside the Cathedral of St James, Santiago de Compostela


‘Being present with the delightful and the difficult!’


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

Franciscans ‘Speak up for the love of …’ at the Mass Climate Change lobby at Parliament

Br Hugh writes:


Religious, who work together through Justice and Peace Links, after the service in St Margaret’s, with Big Ben in the background.

On 17th June thousands came to the Houses of Parliament to speak to their MPs about climate change. Franciscans of the First and Third Orders were among them. Hilfield Friary Community members Jonathan and Daniel came with me with a coach group from Dorset, while Sr Maureen came from Metheringham and Br Micael Christoffer from Canterbury. Srs Sue and Gina had to come a very short way from Southwark. We were asked to speak up for the love of the good things our planet supports that could be spoilt by climate change – hence the title of the day, Speak up for the love of

The Climate Coalition, the group of charities and faith groups that organised the mass lobby claim around 9,000 constituents were there and that about 250 MPs were lobbied. Christian Aid is a member of the Coalition and had helped us to organise our trips. I saw people from Oxfam, A Rocha (which works closely with Hilfield), Cafod, and WWF among others who are in the coalition.

The lobby was timed to meet our MPs soon after the election, and in good time before the international conference on climate change in Paris in December. We were there to tell our MPs that it is vital that Britain does all it can to persuade the nations of the world to come to a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – something they failed to do at the 2009 conference in Copenhagen, where I was part of a C/SSF team.


West Dorset constituents (Daniel and Br Hugh from Hilfield on the extreme left) meeting their MP The Rt. Hon Oliver Letwin MP, Minister of State for Government Policy (from Oliver Letwin’s website)

It was also on the eve of the publication of the Pope’s Encyclical on climate change and its terrible consequences for our planet if we do not change our lifestyles. While the encyclical is unusually addressed to all human beings, not just to Catholics, it is of particular interest to Franciscans as it is entitled Laudato Si (Be Praised), the opening words of St Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures.

We Franciscans and members of other religious orders who we work with in Justice and Peace Links began the day with an ecumenical service at the packed St Margaret’s Westminster, a church where Politics and Prayer have mingled for centuries. The preacher, the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, said: “This is not just our individual concern. It is our Christian concern together as the church. It is the concern of people of all faiths. It is our human concern in solidarity with all people. The world is our home.” He praised the Encyclical, and also the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Declaration on Climate Change.

After the service we walked a short distance, in lovely sunny weather, to meet our MPs by the stretch of the Thames from the House of Commons and over the bridge to Lambeth Palace. Some of them arrived in rickshaws that the organisers had laid on. Our West Dorset MP, Oliver Letwin, gave us ten minutes and asked us to meet him again at home. After that the three of us from Hilfield visited a Muslim environmental stall at the interfaith area in Lambeth Park, and information stalls run by other charities in St John’s, Smith Square.

Going home to Dorset, our coach met horrible traffic, and it took two hours to get from Westminster to Hammersmith. It was a reminder me that even attending a climate lobby can involve emitting even more greenhouse gases.

A newspaper report published in the Guardian the next day can be found here


Hugh SSF

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.


Sr Sue visits Korea.

In April Sue spent 2 weeks in Korea visiting Frances and Jemma, the CSF sisters there. They have now lived in their purpose built traditional Korean style convent at Il-Seon-Ri near Gumi for one year, and have planted a small garden around it. Alongside their other ministries they are members of Samsohoe, a movement of sisters and nuns from different faiths in Korea, who meet together regularly to share concerns and pray for peace. During Sue’s visit the group met at Holy Cross Convent in Seoul. The sisters – Anglican, Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians, and Buddhists of different traditions talked together about justice and peace issues, and sang a Korean version of St. Francis’ Canticle of the Sun. They also spent time in silent prayer for peace. Jemma was across the room, but Frances and Sue are in the picture.

Samsohoe 21.4.15 at Holy Cross

Samsohoe meeting.

In September Frances and Jemma will be visiting UK to join all the sisters and brothers for the European Province’s General Chapter, where the theme will be “Faith to Faith: Franciscans in a multi-faith society.” As there are no CSF sisters elsewhere in that part of the world the two Korean sisters are part of CSF’s European Province, and obviously both UK and Korea are multi-faith societies, though in very different ways.

Jemma in the garden at Il-Seon-Ri

Jemma in the garden at Il-Seon-Ri

In Seoul Sue also had the opportunity to connect briefly with Brothers Stephen and Raphael who are part of the Korean SSF community at Gangchon Friary. They are members of the Province of the Divine Compassion which encompasses the SSF brothers New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka as well as Korea.

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.


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

First Professed Conference in Freeland.

First Professed Brothers met in Freeland from Friday 17th until Monday 21st April. It was a wonderfully relaxing time and a delight, as always, to spend time with the Second Order Sisters. Pictured are all of the First Professed Brothers (with the exception of Br Joseph Emmanuel who was taking the photograph) and Br Amos (currently the Guardian of the First Professed).



Alnmouth Brothers visit Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw.

Brothers from Alnmouth Friary set off earlier this morning for a visit to the Cistercian Abbey at Nunraw. The beautiful journey from Alnmouth, over the Scottish Border, to the beautiful county of East Lothian was bathed in sunshine and we arrived at the Abbey in time for Sext. Following Sext we went to the Refectory for a meal which was followed by some time for discussion in the library. Our visit finished with the singing of None after which there was more conversation and a chance to take some pictures.

We are most grateful to Abbot Mark and the Community for a lovely, restful day.






Healing Mission in Bolivia.

Br David Jardine has just returned from a healing mission in Potosi and La Paz in Bolivia. A team from Interdenominational Divine Healing Ministries conducted the 11 day retreat and felt greatly sustained by the prayers accompanying them. More pictures of the mission are available from the Interdenominational Divine Healing Ministries website (link above) or their Facebook Page.

A street scene.

A street scene in Potosi.

Br David Jardine outside a house of prayer (linked to the 24/7 prayer movement)

Br David Jardine outside a house of prayer (linked to the 24/7 prayer movement)

The ministry team taking part in a  radio discussion

The ministry team taking part in a radio discussion

Brothers attend National Climate March in London.

Brs Micael Christoffer,  Edmund and Hugh joined the National Climate March in London on 7th March. Starting with a service in St Mary le Strand organised by Operation Noah and Green Christian, we then joined Muslims, Jews and Christians in the Faith block of the march. In glorious sunshine, with perhaps 20,000 others, we ended with a rally at Parliament Square. Speakers were Caroline Lucas MP  and Naomi Klein, author of the recently published and much discussed This Changes Everything. The rally encouraged the nation to prepare for both the General Election and the UN Climate Summit this December in Paris.  The Photo also shows us with Angela Forbes TSSF outside Parliament. The next big climate event for us is likely to be the Christian Aid rally in London in June.



Divine Healing Ministries on Facebook


Br David Jardine SSF has made a series of videos on the ministry of healing which are on the Divine Healing Ministries Facebook page. Br David will be conducting a teaching day on Divine Healing at Hilfield Friary on Saturday the 13th of June. To view one of the videos click hereUnknown

“The Consecrated Life in the Anglican Tradition and the Ecumenical Journey” – Br Clark Berge SSF

Br Clark Berge SSF

Br Clark Berge SSF

Brother Clark Berge, SSF Minister General, recently presented a  paper  “The Consecrated Life in the Anglican Tradition and the Ecumenical Journey” at an Ecumenical Symposium on the Year of the Consecrated Life.  This event held in the Vatican City from 22-25 January was part of a programme of events to mark The Year of the Consecrated Life proclaimed by Pope Francis and  running from Advent 2014 until Candlemas 2016.   Brother Desmond Alban SSF and Sister Joyce CSF also attended with other Anglican Religious.
The text of Clark’s paper is available from the ‘Wider Picture’ page on the website or by clicking here.

A new Novice for SSF

Peter receives a Blessing from Br Benedict

Peter receives a Blessing from Br Benedict

Peter receives the Statutes.

Peter receives the Statutes.









Our Postulant Peter Southall was clothed as a Novice today during Evening Prayer taking the name Peter Aidan. At the service, which was witnessed by a Chapel full of Peter’s friends, Peter was presented with the Statutes of the Society of St Francis, received a Blessing from the Minister Provincial (Br Benedict) and was clothed in the habit of St Francis.

Br Peter Aidan nSSF with Br Benedict SSF

Br Peter Aidan nSSF with Br Benedict SSF

Hilfield Community Volunteer film



The Hilfield Community have released a short video about volunteering as part of the Community. The video (which is in Youtube) may be viewed by clicking here. More information about Hilfield may be found  by clicking here.


The CSF sisters in South Korea are part of CSF’s European Province, and so are included on this website, whereas the SSF brothers belong to the Province of the Divine Compassion which may be accessed here.

Sr Jemma learning carpentry

Sr Jemma learning carpentry

Gumi Convent.

In the Gyeongsangbukdo Province of South Korea, in the Diocese of Busan, at the outskirts of Gumi, there is a beautiful and peaceful traditional Korean village where in 2014 we built a traditional Korean-style convent. Il-Seon-Ri is a model village, formed according to the principles of Confucian thought, and in this place the Korean Franciscan sisters have put down roots among the villagers, working to enable the budding forth of a new way of living that allows Confucianism and Christianity to co-exist side by side.  To people thirsty for rest and peace, tired out by the complexities of modern life, the sisters offer a warm welcome and friendship, prayer and the opportunity for spiritual guidance.  Through working for the welfare of young people and the production of clerical vestments, the Korean sisters are forming links with the church and the local community; and by actively welcoming those who wish to visit the convent, the ‘open days’ of Tuesday to Saturday provide an opportunity to share in the Daily Office and the day to day life of the convent.  With two guest rooms, the outer traditional form of the building is complemented by an interior with the comforts of modern living, and the guests are welcome to use the convent chapel, living room, garden, and common spaces of the house.


Outside the Convent in Il-Seon-Ri


Srs Frances (seated) and Jemma with visiting Sisters.









Sharing a meal

Sharing a meal

With Guests

With Guests








Taize service in chapel - Frances on keyboard (2)

Taize service in Chapel




Frances, Jemma and Stephen SSF at Seoul Franciscan Centre










삼소회 평화회의 합창사진

At a Samsoehoe interfaith gathering

 Samso Leaflet

Br Nicholas Alan’s sermon at the Profession in Alnmouth

Saturday 13th December 2014                                                                                                                                  Alnmouth Friary

Profession in Vows                                                                                                                        2 King 2: 9-14; Matthew 17:10-13

From now on, call nothing you own. As you are bound to Christ, so in him you are set free.

Today is a very important day for our four brothers: Cristian Michael, David, Micael Christoffer and Robert. They are about

Br Nicholas Alan preaching.

Br Nicholas Alan preaching.

to dedicate themselves to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ within the First Order of the Society of Saint Francis. Of course it is not a complete beginning; more than three years of training, first as a postulant and then as a novice, have hopefully given them a good idea of what they are committing themselves to. This is not a leap in the dark, but a clear-eyed decision and a commitment to take this next, significant step along the journey that we are already travelling together. So today we give thanks for your vocation.

It is also an important day for the whole community. Here in Britain we are known as the European Province of the Society of Saint Francis. As we steadily retreat to the heartlands of England, closing houses in Ireland, Wales and Scotland, calling ourselves the European Province has been something of a notional designation, an aspiration rather than a reality. But today Europe has come to us, and we are immeasurably enriched by the diverse life-paths of the brothers making their vows here today. In the early days of the Franciscan order, back in the time of St. Francis, language skills were not high among the accomplishments of the friars. Those going on the mission to Germany knew little more than the word ‘Ja’ for Yes, which was alright when people asked them if they were hungry or tired, but was not quite so useful when asked if they were heretics. Today we can count on missioners fluent in German, Swedish, Romanian and Arabic, not to mention various other European languages along the way.

Perhaps more significantly, here are four young men who have had time to get to know the community, and still feel that this is the place where God is calling them to be. This community, they and we believe, is the environment in which they can most flourish as people and as servants of God. That is a tremendous compliment to pay to your brothers and sisters in community: to say that this place will do, these people are good enough (if nothing more!), here are companions with whom to find true happiness and the salvation of our souls. It is a statement of faith, both in the God who gives us grace to live this life, and in this particular community, that it will continue to nurture your growth into the full stature of Christ, and enable you to give yourself most fully in the service of others. So I say ‘thank you’ for your faith in us, and for the faith of your families and friends who have entrusted you to us.

IMG_2005And we also have faith in you. Although the service we are enacting today is framed around your profession in vows, still it remains an expression of mutual commitment. Towards the end of the service the previously professed brothers and sisters affirm: ‘As we receive you into our fellowship and are united with you in the bonds of love in this earthly life, so may we, at the last, by the mercy of God, be joined together with all God’s faithful people in heaven.’ We receive you into our fellowship, though of course in so many ways you are already there, a part of us that we do not want to lose; and we pray that by God’s mercy this act of commitment may bring us all to full membership of God’s faithful people in heaven. Jesus once said that there will be no marrying or giving in marriage in heaven, so presumably there will be no Professions in Vows either, but our professions on this earth are none the less the expression and living out of a fellowship that will bring us all, together, through the good times and the bad, to rejoice in God’s company and the company of each other in God’s Kingdom forever. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that. Maybe it has taken all your courage to work up to this one provisional first vow and the thought of eternity with these brothers and sisters may be more than you can cope with right now. But don’t worry; Jesus also said that there are many mansions in his Father’s kingdom, many friaries and hermitages. Somewhere up there is a friary built for you, or at least a cell with your name on the door, and a chapel at the end of the cloister that reaches up into the universe and beyond.    

From now on, call nothing you own. As you are bound to Christ, so in him you are set free.

I quoted that phrase at the beginning of this sermon, because for me it sums up so much of what is happening here today. It is IMG_1959spoken by the Minister, at perhaps the most dramatic moment of the service, when he throws to one side the single knotted rope of a novice, and replaces it with a rope knotted three times to represent the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Newly tied, and hopefully still able to breath, you will hear these words: From now on, call nothing you own. As you are bound to Christ, so in him you are set free. This is really our Rule of Life, our Bill of Rights and our Charter of Freedom. From now on, call nothing you own. What can that mean? Call nothing your own? Well, practically speaking, some things will inevitably remain your own. Please do call your socks your own, if you have any: that way they are more likely to get washed. Call your habit your own, if you wish, and make sure that it doesn’t get too frayed at the edges. (That is bound to happen in other ways during the course of community life.) But these words of the Minister are rather more radical in their implications.

Call nothing you own. This is really about the letting go, gradually or suddenly, of everything we hold dear, everything we are attached to, for good or for ill. It is a way of practicing for the great letting go that will happen to all of us when we pass from this life to the next.   Call nothing your own: this applies even to your sense of vocation, to the vows you are making today. Our vocation is not a personal possession to be defended at all costs. It is a communal process of discernment, a working out together of that which we believe is the will of God. Call nothing you own. That applies to your time, your talents, your energy, the overflowing gifts with which God has blessed you, which we have recognised within you and which you have shared with us. In the Eucharist at the offertory we often say: All things come from you, O Lord, and of your own do we give you. This making of vows which we practice together is a way of making an offering of our lives, making ourselves a Eucharist, a thanksgiving, and a place where Christ is made real in flesh and blood.

And we cannot do this on our own. We need the example of St. Francis and St. Clare, in their self-abandonment to God in poverty and joy; we need the courage of our Blessed Lady Mary, and her Yes to the incredible call to let God come to birth within her through the Holy Spirit; and we need each other to realise that we truly are all in this together, that there is no individual salvation to be worked out on our own, that we live or die as a fellowship, a communion, a community made one in the body of Christ.

In our readings from Scripture today we are given another role model to help us on our way. Jesus speaks, briefly, of John the Baptist, his cousin and forerunner, who lived out the role of Elijah preparing the way of the Lord. Francis himself was baptised John, in honour of the Baptist, according to the Franciscan theologian St. Bonaventure. And Francis saw himself as a messenger of peace and reconciliation, beginning his sermons with the words Pace e Bene, Peace and all Good. One of the stories about Francis tells how in the early days of his conversion he was confronted on a lonely road by a group of robbers who demanded to know who he was. ‘The Herald of the Great King’, Francis replied, and being penniless was pushed aside into a snowy ditch for his pains. Francis, like John, was a herald, a forerunner, someone who points to someone else, who deflects attention away from himself to another more powerful than he.

John the Baptist is in many ways an exemplar of the religious life, and particularly of the Franciscan friar. Here is someone who dispossesses himself of all things, who goes out into the desert to fast and to pray, but then returns to preach the good news: The Kingdom of God is at hand! God’s presence is in our midst! In John’s Gospel, the Baptist says of Jesus: ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ (Jn.3:30) That would be a good motto for us all as Christians, but especially for those of us who are professed brothers and sisters of St. Francis. In icons, John the Baptist is always seen pointing away from himself, deflecting attention to Jesus. Don’t look at me, he seems to be saying, Look at Him, look at Jesus. He must increase, but I must decrease. This is still what we are being called to do: to show people Jesus, to lead people to the one in whom they can find salvation.

And John the Baptist, proclaiming the way of the Lord, was himself re-enacting the role of another archetype of the religious life, the Old Testament prophet Elijah. In our intriguing reading from the Second Book of Kings, Elijah is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, leaving Elisha his disciple gazing up in wonder at the fast disappearing chariot and horses of fire. Elijah, like John, was one who went out into the desert, and it was there that he found God in the sheer silence at the mouth of a cave. At our monastery in Worcestershire we used to have a hermit living not in a cave but in a hut at the bottom of the garden. His name was Brother Ramon. He rarely came up to the house, but he did come up to preach at my own profession in first vows 15 years ago. I can still hear his rolling Welsh consonants echoing in my head. I always wanted to say to him before he died: ‘Grant me to inherit a double share of your spirit!’ But I never did, nor did I see him ascend into heaven in a whirlwind, in a chariot of fire. Perhaps he did, but I wasn’t there.

But in a way we are all Elisha’s to the Elijah’s who go before us. We all of us have a chance to pick up the mantle, or the habit, of those who have gone before us, and to strike the waters before us with a cry of: ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Ramon?’ Or the God of Martin? Or the God of Nathanael? Perhaps you should try this with these new ropes after the service: go to the causeway leading to Holy Island at high tide, strike the water and cry: ‘Where is the Lord, the God of St. Francis, of Fr. Algy and Br. Douglas?’ Perhaps the waters will part; if you wait long enough it will happen anyway with the turn of the tide. (Most things do.) But don’t wait too long or you might get swept out to sea. In fact I think you would do better to find first the true River Jordan that each of you has to cross. Because now the journey begins in earnest. It may feel as though at last you have arrived: you are about to become a professed brother in the Society of St. Francis. But that is only the beginning. Now you have to cross the river, whatever the river is to you: to call nothing your own, and to let everything else float away down the river and out into the vast ocean. Now is the time to stand alongside Moses at the Red Sea, Joshua at the River Jordan, and Jesus as he crossed the icy waters of death to re-emerge new-born on the other side. But hold onto this habit and rope. Treat it as a heavenly garment fallen from a chariot of fire, entrusted to you by the prophet Elijah himself. May this rope bind you to Christ and so set you free; and may you in your freedom bring all people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.


Hope for the Future ‘write-in’ at Hilfield

Br Hugh writes:

On Sunday 14th December, after a sermon in the Eucharist about how John the Baptist prayed (in the desert), practised a simple lifestyle (foraged locusts and camel hair clothes) and engaged in politics (criticising  King Herod’s corrupt taxation system), the Hilfield Friary community enjoyed African Fair Trade honey with home baked rolls for breakfast. Then, in a corner of the refectory,  community members and guests held a Hope For The Future ‘write-in’, shown in the photo, to their various MPs asking them to get realistic climate change policies into their manifestos before the General Election next May. We asked ‘ What is in your party’s manifesto that will enable the UK to reach the target of at least an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act’. The completed letters (with environmental pictures by those too young to write) lay in front of the altar in the Friary chapel for the rest of the day. By combining prayer, practice and politics – with  proclamation on the internet – we hope we are walking in the sandals of the Prophet John.

For further details of the campaign see

HFTF write-in at Hilfield

Four Brothers Professed in Alnmouth!

More than seventy people joined with Brs Cristian Michael, David, Micael Cristoffer and Robert as they made their first Professions in the Society of St Francis. Br Nicholas Alan SSF (the Guardian of Glasshampton Monastery where all Novices spend a period of Enclosure) preached and Br Benedict SSF (the Minister Provincial) presided at the Eucharist and received the vows on behalf of the Society. The guests (who came from Sweden, Germany and around the United Kingdom) joined the Brothers for a delicious lunch after the Eucharist.

Br Nicholas Alan preaching.

Br Nicholas Alan preaching.

Br Benedict receives Br Cristian Michael's Promises

Br Benedict receives Br Cristian Michael’s Promises

The three knotted rope (symbolising the three vows) is knotted around Br David.

The three knotted rope (symbolising the three vows) is knotted around Br David.

The rope is tied around Br Michael Cristoffer

The rope is tied around Br Michael Cristoffer


Br Robert receives his rope

The newly Professed Brothers exchange the sign of peace with their Brothers and Sisters

The newly Professed Brothers exchange the sign of peace with their Brothers and Sisters

Br Benedict presiding

Br Benedict presiding

The newly Professed with Br Nicholas Alan

The newly Professed with Br Nicholas Alan

The newly Professed with Br Desmond Alban (the Novice Guardian)

The newly Professed with Br Desmond Alban (the Novice Guardian)

The four Novice ropes remain in the Chapel until tomorrow.

The four Novice ropes remain in the Chapel until tomorrow.

Br David Jardine SSF “Quiet Peacemakers”

A portrait of Br David Jardine SSF appeared in an exhibition of portraits by Susan Hughes entitled ‘Quiet Peacemakers.’ The exhibition, which was held in the Duncairn Centre for Culture and the Arts consisted of thirty five portraits of those termed the ‘unsung heroes’ by the Lord Mayor of Belfast Nichola Mallan. The men and women portrayed in the exhibition had all contributed to the forging of peace in Northern Ireland over the past troubled decades.

Br David Jardine with his portrait

Br David Jardine with his portrait



Br David Jardine praying at a healing service.

Farewell to Bishop Michael Perham, retiring after nine years as our Protector.

Members of all three Orders of The Society of St Francis  from various parts of the country gathered at St Philip and St James Church Plaistow in east London on Monday 8th December for a Eucharist and lunch to celebrate the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to mark Bishop Michael’s retirement as Bishop Protector for the European Province of The Society of St. Francis, occasioned by his retirement as Bishop of Gloucester.

Br Benedict, the brothers’ Minister Provincial presided at the Eucharist, and Sr Helen Julian, CSF Minister General and former Minister Provincial, gave the homily. Sr Damien OSC, Abbess at Freeland, read the epistle, and Rev Joanna Coney TSSF, formerly Minister Provincial for the Third Order, who was representing Averil Swanton TSSF, the current Minister Provincial, read the gospel. Sr Sue CSF, the sisters’ Minister Provincial also took part in the service, and expressed the Society’s thanksgiving for Bishop Michael’s ministry with us, presenting him with gifts – a picture of the courtyard at Hilfield and book tokens, as a sign of our appreciation.



Bishop Michael during the presentation, following the Eucharist.


Bishop Michael and Brother Samuel, Guardian of the Hilfield Community, holding Minna Harvey’s picture of the Courtyard. Sr Sue and Sr Damien can be seen in the background.












Back in June Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, was chosen by all three Orders as the new Bishop Protector, to take over at Bishop Michael’s retirement.  We are very grateful to Bishop Stephen for agreeing to take on this role, and look forward to his ministry among us.


Bishop Stephen Cottrell

Climate change and the forthcoming General Election

hope-for-the-futureBr Hugh writes:

As we approach the  General Election next May, and then in December the UN Climate Conference in Paris, there is a danger that climate change will be sidelined in the election debate.

Hope for the Future, backed by the Bishop of Sheffield, Christian Aid and a number of charities and communities, wants  individuals and churches to write to their MPs and candidates  to make sure climate is an election issue. Their website may be found here.
There are leaflets on display at Hilfield for guests and visitors to take home with them. Or please download the leaflet below and write to your MP, and  the candidates of the main parties as they are announced. Then let HFTF know of any answers you have. The HFTF website gives you lots of hints for writing letters, or even one to copy, and tells you your MP’s name, and address at Parliament if you don’t know it. Some churches around the country are holding ‘mass write-ins’.

Hilfield is in the West Dorset constituency, which is one of HFTF’s targets as our MP Oliver Letwin is a Government Minister. So 2 of the community went with a Christian Aid Group to lobby him  at one of his surgeries in Beaminster, and to ask him to confirm that climate change would be at the heart of his party’s manifesto.

A link to a PDF of the Hope for the Future leaflet may be found here.

Sr Sue celebrates with a church she started 35 years ago

Sr Sue was invited to share in the joyful 35th anniversary celebration of Mead Vale Church in Worle, near Weston-Super-Mare, on 16th November.  Sue had started the church with people living on the Mead Vale estate in 1979 in the newly built Mead Vale Community Hall, when serving as a Methodist deaconess in the Worle Ecumenical Parish.  Bishop Peter Maurice Bishop of Taunton preached and gave the church a special gift – the banner proclaiming “God always keeps his promises”, which he had treasured for many years, and wanted to hand on to a living faith community before he retires next spring.   Rev’d Emma Amyes, currently the Team Vicar at Mead Vale,  led the service, and Sue shared  memories of the church’s beginnings.

Sr Sue with Bishop Peter Maurice, the Rev'd Emma Amyes and parishioners.

Sr Sue with Bishop Peter Maurice, the Rev’d Emma Amyes and young parishioners.

“Tea and Taize” – a new initiative in Byker.

The Brothers of St Anthony’s Friary in Byker have begun a new initiative entitled “Taize and Tea.” The services (which are about 45 minutes long) are held in St Anthony’s Church in Byker. There will services on Saturday 15th November and Saturday 6th December both starting at 4.00pm


Taize Poster

Understanding Islam at Hilfield.

The present crisis in Syria and Iraq, and anxieties about international terrorism, are heightening fear and prejudice in our own western culture about Muslims and the religion of Islam to which the terms violence and extremism are often attached. If we are to live peaceably and justly in the multi-cultural society that we find ourselves today it is important to have a broader view of the religion of Islam than that of the violence and brutality of the forces of the so-called Islamic State. Fear and hatred between people of different religions and cultures comes about as a result of ignorance or partial understanding of what the religions and cultures are about; it is easy to portray or fit ‘the other’ into one’s misunderstanding and so reinforce the fears – at this time, particularly, of Muslims.

Chris HewerDr Chris Hewer, who led a course at the Friary in October entitled ‘Understanding Islam’, is a Christian theologian who has thirty years of experience studying Islam and engaging with Muslims. While remaining firmly rooted in his own tradition, Chris gives a knowledgeable and sympathetic introduction to the subject, explaining the history of Islam, the place of the prophet Mohammed and of the Koran, and of the world views and ways of life of Muslims today. The 3 day course at Hilfield was attended by people from different parts of the UK, including some Muslims from Dorset. Wisdom was shared, mutual respect was established and friendships were made. All religions are definitely not the same but we can live peaceably and hospitably with each other through understanding and humility before each other and under God.

SSF Ministers at Alnmouth

The Pastoral Meeting at Alnmouth Friary (attended by the Minister General and the Ministers Provincial) is coming to a close in Alnmouth. They were able to take a rest from their deliberations for this photo:

The Minister General and Ministers Provincial at Alnmouth Friary. Front Row (l-r): Br Oswald Dumbari; Br Benedict; Br Clifton Henry. Back Row (l-r): Br Jude; Br Christopher John; Br Clerk Berge

The Minister General and Ministers Provincial.
Front Row (l-r): Br Oswald Dumbari; Br Benedict; Br Clifton Henry. Back Row (l-r): Br Jude; Br Christopher John; Br Clerk Berge

Interfaith Conference in Turkey.

Kentigern recently attended a conference on Inter faith and ecumenical dialogue hosted by the Roman Catholic Franciscans (OFM) in Istanbul.  As part of the conference the group visited some of the ‘Seven Churches of Revelation’ in Anatolia. There is a report of the Conference here

Members of the Group standing outside a rare Mughal-influenced Mosque in Istanbul

Members of the Group standing outside a rare Mughal-influenced Mosque in Istanbul

Members of the group standing in front of the Hagia Sophia (formerly the Patriarchal Cathedral of Constantinople and Imperial Mosque of Mehmet II)

Members of the group standing in front of the Hagia Sophia (formerly the Patriarchal Cathedral of Constantinople and Imperial Mosque of Mehmet II)

Br Kentigern in the Hagia Sophia

Br Kentigern in the Hagia Sophia

Br Kentigern at the ruins in Pergamon (Temple of Trajan)

Br Kentigern at the ruins in Pergamon (Temple of Trajan)