Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

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New video – The Anglican Franciscan Way

For a larger shorter version of this video go to You Tube by clicking this link:  http://youtu.be/k7jJ4iCETAY

(For Firefox users download the Quick Time Plug in for Windows to enable the video)

Interested? Would you like to explore this way of life? for more information look at the Becoming a Franciscan section of this website

Centre Scoops Diamond Jubilee Award

The St Philips centre in Leicester, where one of our sisters Chris James works, has been chosen to receive the Lord Lieutenant’s Diamond Jubilee Award. The honour is in recognition of the Centre’s work to promote good inter-faith relations and bringing to prominence the concept of ‘service’ through its work with faith communities.



Staff member swaps mop and bucket for chalice and patten

Sister Beverley CSF

Sister Beverley CSF who regularly keeps the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester spotlessly clean and welcoming was ordained priest on June 30th at Leicester Cathedral. She presided for the first time the following day at St Peter’s Church, the sister parish to St Philips. She is currently a non-stipendiary priest in community.

Slavyane Choir Concert at Hilfield

Following the very popular concert of traditional Russian and Orthodox music at Hilfield Friary last year given by the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth Convent in Minsk, we invite you to hear the male voices from Minsk – on Sunday 7th October 2012 at 7.30 for 8pm.  The remarkable flourishing of this group of men and women , and the impressive work which is undertaken among the homeless, for children without parental support, and for those struggling with alcohol and drug dependence which the concert supports, is an inspiring witness to the new vibrancy of the Religious Life in the Orthodox Church today.

Leicester Parks Day – 2012


St Matthew’s Local Community Parks Day, Leicester Sisters Beverley, Chris James and Jenny Tee serving tea and scones and providing a quiet space to relax at Parks Day.  The weather was kind and the day was a great local success, with something for everyone.  We were sorely tempted by the inflatable climbing wall and the suomo wrestling, but stayed focused on the tea and scones!


Greenbelt 2012

I didn’t realise that in order to visit the Franciscans we had to start walking on water…! Many thanks to Catherine Walcott for the picture and comment

This notice within sight of the main stage was dry at the start of the week. The festival continued and was great fun.

Continue reading

Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis

15th September 2012 at Hilfield Friary

We invite you to celebrate this major Franciscan festival with us

– a chance to visit the Friary and meet the brothers and members of the Hilfield Community

12 noon – Sung Eucharist

1pm picnic lunch (bring your own)

2pm – afternoon gathering

4pm – Tea provided by the Friary

4.45pm – Evening Prayer

The preacher at the Eucharist and speaker in the afternoon will be The Revd Charlie Allen, the Salisbury Diocesan Director of Ordinands. Charlie has been a friend and visitor to the Friary for several years and is particularly committed to the nurturing of young vocations.

If you would like to let us know you are coming please email: passf@francicans.org.uk or phone Sara on 01300 342311(answerphone).

RIP – Brother Arnold SSF

Brother Arnold SSF died on Friday 17th August, at around Midday.  He had been in hospital several times over the last few months, and eventually died at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, London. He was 92 years old, and in the 62nd year of his profession as a religious. other Arnold had been a member of the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross at Peckham in South London. When the Brotherhood closed after the death of its founder and leader, George Potter, three of its remaining members transferred to the First Order of the Society of St Francis in the early sixties. Arnold was one of these along with Giles Dawson and Nicholas. At the same time he finished his preparatory studies to be ordained priest. He is the last of the three to die. He had a great concern for the under-privileged people of British society and identified himself with them. In SSF he had served in St Francis School Hooke; in the Gillott Road, Birmingham house, and for a long time at the Friary of the Divine Compassion, Plaistow. He has had a great ability to get alongside people and to listen to their fears and worries.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Br Benedict moves to Canning Town

Br Benedict SSF has moved from Leeds to Canning Town.

Hilfield Families Camp – CANCELLED owing to the weather

It is with very great regret that the decision has been taken to cancel this year’s camp arranged for 28th July to 5th August – owing to the weather. Our fields are somewhat saturated with water and even if it remains dry from now until the start of the camp (there’s the predicted possibility of a change in the weather as we write this) it’s still going to be very muddy. We’ve been looking forward to welcoming all our you who have booked to come and are as disappointed as you about this. Please keep in touch and book early for the camp in 2013!

RIP – Nathanael SSF

Brother Nathanael (Kenneth Thompson), aged 82, passed away peacefully in his sleep on the 31st May in St Richar’d Hospice in Worcester. He had been a professed Brother of the Society of St francis for 47 years. He was a man of great faith and courage and entered his final journey into everlasting life trusting himself to God.  May he rest in peace and rise in glory. The funeral was held on 13th June at St Bartholomew’s Church, Areley Kings, Worcestershire.

Br Vaughan – First Profession

Br Vaughan SSF made his profession in First Vows on the 7th July at the Friary of the Divine Compassion, Balaam Street, Plaistow.

Greyfriars Official Re-opening and Blessing of the Restoration Works

Sister Sue CSF writes:
Greyfriars Chapel in Canterbury, built on the site of the first Franciscan dwelling in England in C13, and incorporating some ancient friary buildings,  was re-opened after extensive restoration work, and blessed by Bishop Trevor, Bishop in Canterbury, on Thursday 26th April.
Brother Austin, Master of Eastbridge Hospital and Guardian of Greyfriars welcomed us and  Jonathan Carey, of Donald Install Associates, the Architect to Eastbridge Hospital, gave a most interesting insight into the history of the building which is now Greyfriars Chapel, and its recent restoration,  Peter Williams of Viridor,one of the donors also spoke at the ceremony, which was followed by refreshments in the Eastbridge Hospital.
Those attending included Reginald, Benedict and Sue, local clergy, tertiaries, companions and friends, and Roman Catholic friars and others from the Franciscan Study Centre.
Brother Austin thanked all those who had contributed financially to the Restoration Fund: – Franciscans from around the world, including SSF, OFM, and TSSF, Viridor, Colyer Ferguson Trust, Friends of Kent Churches, The Don Beerling Trust, The Tory Family Trust and many individuals.

Pilgrimage for the Millenium of the Martyrdom of St. Alphege

Sr Sue leading the way.

Sr Gina on pilgrimage

On 19th April Sue, Gina and Joyce, the CSF sisters at the Oratory of St. Alphege in Southwark were glad to take part in a pilgrimage to mark the millenium of St. Alphege’s martyrdom in 1012.  In the morning Sue presided and preached at a eucharist in the former St. Alphege Church Hall,  next door to the Franciscan house in Southwark.  Then Sue and Gina made the pilgrimage on foot from Southwark to Greenwich, beginning with a service in Southwark Cathedral.  Joyce, recovering from a leg injury, travelled to Greenwich by bus, and participated in the eucharist at St. Alfege’s Church Greenwich, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury presided and preached.

Province of the Divine Compassion

Christopher John was elected Minister Provincial and will take office on the 1st June.

PNG Province

Wallace Yovero and Ham Kevaja made their profession in life vows at Haruro Friary on Easter Day 2012 and Jerry Ross his profession in first vows on Easter Eve.

New Bishop of Woolwich

Picture courtesy of Soutwark Diocescan Communications

Sister Sue writes:

On Thursday 22nd March the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Woolwich, began is his first day of ministry as a bishop by celebrating the eucharist with the community at the Oratory of St. Alphege, in Southwark, accompanied by the Venerable Christine Hardman Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich, and other senior colleagues.   The sisters in Southwark had attended Bishop Michael’s consecration in Southwark Cathedral the previous day.

Sisters meeting 2012

Francis and Clare image

The Sisters gathered around their creation

The tree of life


This interesting interpretation (on the top left) of a picture of Francis and Clare was one of the products of the recent Sisters’ Meeting. Each of the 16 sisters present was given, by the facilitator, one small portion of the whole picture, which at that stage we had not seen. They varied from a complex part of the face, to a small part of the border. On a larger sheet of card, each then scaled up their portion, and coloured it, trying to match the existing colours as far as possible.When all the pieces were put together we were amazed to see how our different abilities and interpretations had all contributed to the finished picture, and how well the pieces fitted together. It became a visual parable of how we, in all our diversity, could contribute fruitfully to the ‘bigger picture’ of our life as CSF in this province.
Another exercise we enjoyed during our weekend involved the ‘Tree of Life (pictured top right). ‘Ruth, our facilitator, told us the moving story of this silver tree. She is a school chaplain, and invites the children to place a red jewel on a silver leaf when someone (person or pet) dies. One particularly poignant leaf has 2 jewels, placed by a child whose parents were murdered.

Ruth then invited us to write, in one sentence, what the tree symbolised for us. When all our reflections were put together, this amazing poem (below) was created:

A silver tree glitters with grief and memory Tree of acknowledgement Tree of pain and tree of hope Gift of love. The tree of remembrance is a tree of life and relationship A structure which enables people to express and record what is important to them, and allows all to honour this. The pain of loss is held in the Tree of Life’s embrace Important symbolism conveying what words cannot. Out of the darkness of sadness comes the light of God As the last leaf flutters so the living leave their loved ones, flying in ethereal luminance Each leaf separate, but part of the whole beautiful shape of the tree, reflecting light and colour. Leaves hang down, flames reach up, circular movement, life continuing Here is refracted life Holding the complexity of life’s joys and sorrows. Candle heat causes the leaves to move with life – symbol of eternal life – remember them and they are still alive. The jewelled leaves on the tree say – Pain acknowledged, like the wounds of Christ can become glorious scars things of beauty, enlightened by the candles of warm support.

The Big Green Believers’ Agreement

Members of Dorset faith communities sign up to the Big Green Believers’ Agreement in the Bournmouth Reform Synagogue, November 29th 2011

Members of Dorst faith communites: Br Hugh back row left; Rabbi Neil, front left and Beccy from the Hilfield Community signing up on behalf of A Rocha.
Brother Hugh SSF signs the document
Brother Hugh SSF writes:
Rabbi Neil Amswych of Bournemouth Reform Synagogue has brought together a group of over 80 faith representatives from Dorset, including us at Hilfield. We are now part of Interfaith Dorset Education and Action, an interfaith group primarily focused on the environment. IDEA has two simple goals – to educate people about the challenges facing the environment, as well as to educate them in the responses by the different faith traditions, and to act on that learning by making positive changes in our lives.After a series of meetings around Dorset, we have created the Big Green Believers’ Agreement, with an online forum and a list of short, medium and long term commitments we can make, on buildings, consumption, food, social justice, transport, waste and biodiversity. These commitments can be local, educational, political or spiritual. E.g. under biodiversity, at Hilfield we have already fulfilled the short term commitment to put up bird boxes, but have not yet watched the film, ‘The end of the line’, on the destruction caused by fishing. Under buildings we have put silver foil behind many of our radiators (at least against outside walls) and have just put up a chapel roof full of pv panels, but we have not yet done much to encourage prayer as a low carbon activity. Under food, we have done well to use (well mostly) only fairly traded tea and coffee, and have at least one meat free day each week, but have not yet campaigned to stop palm oil being misleadingly labelled as vegetable oil. On social justice we have questioned our local MP (on tax dodging) and we have included issues of the environment in worship, but we have not yet studied issues of fuel poverty.

Last November three Hilfield community members joined representatives of many faith groups in signing the agreement. On 18th March two of us went to a celebration in Bournemouth, with an environmental quiz and a game where 20 of us became a forest, each of us a species from butterfly to oak, and with string we wove a web of our mutual relationships. For more information look at the eco-faith.org website.

Updated Intercessions

The latest version of the Intercessions list can be found by clicking here


Helen Julian writes:
In October I, along with Br Samuel attended the annual meeting of leaders of Anglican Religious Communities, which took place at Mirfield, the home of the Community of the Resurrection. It is a valuable opportunity to exchange news, discuss areas of mutual concern and interest, and support one another in this demanding role. This year we were also nourished and encouraged by input from Ian Adams, writer of ‘Cave, Refectory, Road’ and himself a leader in the new monasticism movement. He helped us to see the gifts which the more traditional forms of religious life have to offer the church and the world; a valuable corrective to what can become a too short sighted focus on simply ‘keeping the show on the road’. The picture shows nearly all the leaders present, with Ian Adams on the far right.

The novices meet at Glasshampton

Back Row l-r: Joseph Emmanuel, Desmond Alban (Novice Guardian)

The Novice Experience (entitled ‘Living our Franciscan Story’) took place from Friday 14th October until Thursday 20th October. Guided by Sr Beverley CSF and Br Desmond Alban SSF, we looked at the subject ‘living our Franciscan Story’ and considered different areas of the Franciscan charism with particular reference to Peace and Justice. Although the conference was based largely in Glasshampton Monastery (where two of the Novices are currently based) we had the opportunity to go to Bartlemas Chapel where we reflected on our commitment to ‘wayfarers’ of the past, present and future, walking in the footsteps of Br Giles (one of the founding fathers of SSF). We were all particularly moved to be shown the grave of a victim of leprosy by one of the archaeologists working on the site and we found ourselves reflecting on the pain and exclusion s/he must have felt in life.

We were fortunate to be aided in our reflections by Br Anselm SSF (who spoke with us about his work campaigning on behalf of those facing torture), Br Hugh SSF (who spoke with infectious enthusiasm on the topic of ‘Passion, Concern, Action’) and Br Samuel SSF who spoke to us about CSF/SSF’s legacy in working for peace and justice, a legacy we are all keen to perpetuate. We were reminded during his talk that our prayerful contemplation and commitment to justice are complimentary; the one feeds the other. As well as far ranging discussion and enthusiastic participation we relaxed together, had an opportunity to ‘tell our story’ and enjoyed time in Oxford together, finishing the day with Evensong in the Cathedral.

Sister Joyce CSF

Sister Joyce unwraps her gift

At the meeting of the First Order Chapters and Inter-Provincial Third
Order Chapter in September, a presentation of an icon of St Francis and
the Wolf  was made to Sr Joyce in recognition of her very many years of
involvement in those meetings as well as of her leadership of CSF, as
she prepares to hand over as Minister General in February 2012.Clark
Berge SSF and Nolan Tobias TSSF are looking on as she unwraps the icon.

New video for CSF Leicester house

Sr Christine James CSF gives us a ‘virtual tour’ on her bicycle around the Leicester house area click here to see it.

The Metheringham hermitage


Thanks to a fantastic group of volunteers who gathered recently over a weekend, the hermitage in the grounds of the Metheringham house is now erected and available for use. The sisters decided to put a log cabin in the wooded area of the grounds to create additional space for individual quiet days and as a space for spiritual direction and prayer. The hermitage is insulated, has heating and electricity, so suitable for use all year round.
Anyone interested in using this space for the day please contact the sisters through the ‘Where we Are’section of this website.

The cabin arrives ‘flat-packed’ concrete base is prepared in process…..
up the ladders… phone consulation for advice from above! Srs Liz & Judith Ann give moral support!
Come in, be still,
escape the noise, demands
and busyness of life.
Enter the peace and tranquillity of the Metheringham Hermitage.We look forward to welcoming you.
The completed hermitage Through the window!

First Professed Conference 2011

Sr Jenny Tee writes:
Sisters Liz (recently Life Professed) & Jenny Tee and Brothers Martin John & Peter attended the recent First Professed Conference at The Community of St Mary the Virgin in Wantage. It was a great encouragement to meet together as a group of 14 brothers and sisters, from 10 Anglican religious communities.

Sr Jane Bertelsen FMDM led the group in a very helpful exploration of individual and community discernment. This included reflection on the film “Of Gods and Men”, a moving example of discernment in a religious community.
There was time to share experiences and news of one another’s communities, to enjoy one another’s company, and also to discover a strong thread of footballing skills!

It was a joy to enter into a deep rhythm of worship together, with a rich variety of approaches to the Offices and Eucharist.
We had total use of the Wantage guest house, which gave great flexibility for discussion groups and space for silence too. The CSMV sisters joined us for tea one day and we were able to join them for Lauds (early risers only) and the Thursday Eucharist.

A valuable experience all round, and a small group from this year’s conference has already picked up the baton to look ahead to next year.

International Formators’ Programme 2011

The third and final part of our three year International Formators’ Programme saw sisters and brothers from all the provinces gather this year in the UK, following our previous meetings in New York and Boston and the Solomon Islands. The focus this time was on the foundation and early history of our communities and on our Anglican identity and we began in Plaistow, East London where the first Anglican Franciscan Order, the Society of the Divine Compassion, had its origins, and where SSF brothers still live and work. Based in Southwark for a few days we were able also to make pilgrimage to other sites of significance such as the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer Clerkenwell where CSF had its origins, the Chapel of St Edward’s House, Westminster (Society of St John the Evangelist) where the first SSF novice was admitted, the Lambeth Palace archive where we viewed some fascinating early SSF documents and even Parliament Square where we were reminded of Br Douglas’ important political lobbying and campaigning on behalf of wayfarers. In each place our community historian, Dr Petà Dunstan, brought the story alive for us, not least by posing a question to consider for our contemporary Franciscan life.

The historic pilgrimage continued with a visit to the historic Bartlemas Chapel in Oxford, in medieval times a place of welcome and refuge for lepers and the place that Brother Giles chose to begin his work with wayfarers before moving to Hilfield. We followed in turn to Dorset where Brother Anselm welcomed us in the names of Brother Douglas and Father Algy, and Petà enlightened us further.

We stayed at Hilfield for the second week of our conference, this time with stimulating input from Dr John Cator from California who helped us think in depth about what it means to be Anglican Christians. We also enjoyed sharing in the contemporary life of the community at Hilfield, with haymaking, home grown entertainment and even the baptism of Richard and Chantal’s daughter Felice all part of our time there

Alnmouth Friary Jubilee Celebrations

Br Desmond Alban writes:
The brothers at Alnmouth celebrated their 50th Anniversary on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 15th August 2011. Somehow we sat over 100 people in the chapel in reasonable comfort, and the enthusiastic singing was swollen too by a number more guests in the narthex beyond. We celebrated with a festal Sung Eucharist at which Bishop Frank White (Assistant Bishop of Newcastle) presided and Brother Samuel preached. (Click here for the text of the sermon). The congregation was made up of many friends, old and young, and the lovely weather allowed everyone to enjoy a picnic lunch in the friary garden. Indeed, the main celebrations ended with Evening Prayer in the open air, just before we welcomed the new guests arriving that day for business as usual.

Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory, Br Colin Wilfrid

Our Brother Colin Wilfred died peacefully on Tuesday, 2nd August, at the Friary in Canterbury. He had been suffering for some years from fibrosis of the lungs. Colin joined SSF in 1969, was professed in vows in 1973, and served in a number of our Friaries both here in the European Province, and also in the Australia/New Zealand Province where he was Minister from 1997 to 2002. From 1985 until 1996 he was deeply involved in working for and with those affected by the HIV/AIDS virus. He had a keen interest in liturgy and has played an important role in producing the Daily Office SSF. He will be greatly missed by his brothers in SSF and by many friends around the world.
His funeral and requiem Mass took place in St Peter’s, Canterbury on the feast of St Clare, 11th August attended by a large congregation. Here is the text of the sermon preached by Br Samuel, the Minister of the European Province.

Life Profession – Sr Liz CSF

Sr Liz CSF made her Life Profession on the 29th July at St Luke’s Church, Birchwood, Lincoln.  Her vows were received by the Bishops Protector for the European Province, Michael Perham.  It was a joyous occasion as brothers and sisters from around the province joined many friends and family to support Sr Liz as she took this final step of commitment.


St Luke’s Church, Birchwood, Lincoln
Sr Liz is presented to Bishop Michael
Sr Liz receives the blessing of the Bishop and the Community