Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days


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Houses

Prayers for all NHS & Key Workers

The Sisters and Brothers of the Society of St Francis are very conscious of the incredibly serious situation facing the country at this time caused by the new strain of the Coronavirus. We are particularly aware of the challenges faced by our NHS and Front Line workers and of the physical, emotional and mental stress they are currently facing. One of the small things we feel we may offer at this time is the assurance of our continuing prayers: We will hold all affected by COVID19 in our hearts, in our prayers and in the Daily Office and Eucharist.

Soup and Santa!

Brs Finnian and James Douglas received a very special visitor whilst dispensing soup from Balaam Street on Friday…

Soup @ HDC

The Brothers of the House of the Divine Compassion have begun a new ministry and are now serving homemade soup to anyone who needs it on Fridays. Because of lockdown restrictions it is much harder for people to find food easily but here they can receive a mug of homemade soup and have a chat with the Brothers and other volunteers.

Br James Douglas SSF preparing to distribute the soup with Br Finnian.

Hilfield Solar Project

Br Hugh writes:

The poster at the Friary entrance announces Hilfield Friary’s solar project,  part-funded by Low Carbon Dorset as part of the European Regional Development Fund .

In 2012 the Friary had 44 solar pv panels, (10kwp) installed on the Chapel Roof, giving about 10,000 kwhs of electricity a year, plus valuable payments from the Feed in Tariff. However, it is only a part of what we need. The arrival of electric car charging and LED lighting has increased and decreased our needs respectively.

 We had always planned to generate more, and to reduce our carbon footprint further. Equipment costs have fallen but the FIT has also gone. Now Low Carbon Dorset, run by our local authority, Dorset Council, has helped us find part funding to cover the roofs of Francis and Leo Houses and the chip store for our biomass boiler. 

We are most grateful to The Low Carbon Dorset team for their excellent advice and encouragement in finding the most appropriate technology, in the size with the shortest payback time. It helped us apply for the 40% funding from the EU’s  European Regional Development Fund.

A local firm will begin installation next week. 29 pwp of panels on more 3 roofs will generate another 30,000 kwhs pa, quadrupling the power we generate. It will give an estimated C02 saving of 21.8 tonnes pa.

LCD has also helped other Dorset churches, at least one of which is, like us, an Ecochurch award winner. See www.lowcarbondorset.org.uk/  and https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/  for further information.

 Solar power helps the friary economically, as we will now have to buy less electricity, albeit 100% renewable electricity from Ecotricity. As the cost of batteries fall further, in a year or two, we also hope to store daytime power to use at night. In the meantime, surplus power will go to the grid, but the Local Electricity Bill, now going through parliament, could let us sell spare power to neighbours.

The Church of England has just brought forward its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and this solar project shows what we can do now. See www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/general-synod-sets-2030-net-zero-carbon-target

This project is part of our care for creation, our Common Home as Pope Francis calls it in Laudato Si. St Francis spoke of Brother Sun and Mother Earth but had no idea how harnessing the lifegiving power of Br Sun could slow the poisoning of Mother Earth with CO2, giving us hope in our climate emergency.  Guests and visiting groups will learn about the project, just as they learn about our biomass heating

Work on the Solar Panels above Leo House (27.11.20)

Hilfield Friary reopening to guests

Hilfield Friary have recently announced that, Government restrictions permitting, they are hoping to take a limited number of guest bookings from Thursday 1st October 2020. Please click here to read the announcement on the Hilfield Friary website. The Friaries in Alnmouth and Glasshampton remain closed to guests for the time being. When it is possible to safely open Alnmouth and Glasshampton to guests an announcement will be made on this website and on our Facebook page.

Br Vincent RIP

Br Vincent, who had became unwell a few weeks ago, died early this morning (around 1.30am). Vincent was born in 1933 and was made a Postulant in the Society of St Francis by Fr Algy in 1954. Following Profession in 1957 he served in different houses in the Province but was latterly based in Hilfield Friary where his beautiful ‘secret garden’ (which contained a unique rhododendron collection) became justly famous.

His Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Hilfield Friary at a later date but, because of current restrictions, it can not be open to the public. It is, however, anticipated that the service will be recorded and/or live-streamed. May he Rest in Peace!

Alnmouth and the 2.6 challenge

Some photos from today (and previously):

Br Michael skipping for twenty six minutes
Walking five miles a day on the same terrace takes its toll…
26 Candles; signs of our prayers

Alnmouth Brothers run the COVID Marathon?

Alnmouth Brothers are taking part in the ‘2.6 challenge’ over the next few days. This is an initiative which seeks to offset the impact of COVID19 on the charitable sector. The Alnmouth Brothers have chosen L’Arche Edinburgh as the charity they wish to support. Various Brothers will be doing different things: Br Micael Christoffer will be skipping for twenty six minutes (in his habit); Br John will walk the equivalent of 2.6 miles in the grounds and Br Joe will ‘donate’ 2.6 miles of his 5 mile daily walk to the cause. Please click here to donate if so minded.

Covid19 update

Given the advice we have received from the Government and our Archbishops we must, with regret, confirm that we remain unable to welcome people on Retreat to our SSF houses or invite them to join us for worship in our Chapels. We will remain closed until the guidance from the Government and Archbishops suggests that we may open safely. When we are in a position to welcome guests again we will publish this information on our website. 

Two new Novices for SSF

Br Benedict with Br Anthony (L) and Br John Taylor (R)

On Saturday 18th January 2020 Br Benedict (the Minister Provincial) admitted Anthony Clarke and John Taylor to the Novitiate of the Society of St Francis. Br Anthony and Br John Taylor will remain in Alnmouth before moving to a new Friary in the summer months. God Willing we will be joined by two other men wanting to test their Vocation to Religious Life within the Society of St Francis in February.

Confirmation!

L-R: Bishop Christine, Bishop John, Anthony and Micael Christoffer SSF

Our Postulant Anthony Clarke was Confirmed by Bishop Christine Hardman (Bishop of Newcastle) at St Mary’s Stannington on Sunday. We are very grateful to Bishop Christine and to the Rev’d Catherine Pickford (the Vicar) for welcoming Anthony, John and Br Michael Christoffer so warmly!

Br Reginald SSF – Funeral Mass

The Funeral Mass of our Brother Reginald will be Celebrated in the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Alnmouth on Wednesday 13th March at 11.30am at which the minister will preside and Br Philip Bartholomew SSF will preach. Reg’s body will be received into Church the night before (on Tuesday 12th March) and Compline will be sung there at 9.30pm. Refreshments will follow the service.

Br Reginald SSF RIP

Please pray for the repose of the soul of our Brother Reginald who died yesterday night (Wednesday 20th February) in Alnwick Infirmary with two of his Brothers at his side. Please remember him, his family, his many friends and the Alnmouth Brothers in your prayers.

May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!

Br Reginald SSF after preaching in St John the Baptist, Alnmouth for the Patronal Festival

I can only say ‘Thank you’ to God. But while I’m here there’s something missing – questions to be answered, gaps to be filled. There’s a longing which only the vision of God can satisfy, and that when God is ready…”    

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

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 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

 

 

 

 

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!

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.

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 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.

 

 

 

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.”

 

Sr Sue in Korea (Part 2)

Further news from Korea:

Sunday May 8th was Parents’ Day in Korea, and according to custom parents and elders are presented with red carnations as a token of respect and gratitude. Sue was given carnations over breakfast at Il-Seon-Ri!Sue with her carnations from the Sisters on Parents' Day

Later in the morning Srs Sue, Frances and Jemma took part in the service at Grace Church West Daegu, at the invitation of Bishop Onesimus.  Frances played the organ and led the singing, which was special as the church doesn’t normally have anyone to lead the music,  and Sue preached with Jemma interpreting. As well as celebrating Parents’ Day the church received 2 new members, one man formerly a Presbyterian, the other a Roman Catholic.

Sue preaching and Jemma interpreting at West Daegu Frances playing the organ at West Daegu

Sr Sue in Korea

Sister Sue is in South Korea with Srs Frances and Jemma until May 11th.  On May 1st the sisters were glad to accept an invitation to attend the 100th Anniversary celebrations of Won Buddhism (Won means Circle), at Seoul Stadium.

Platform at Won Buddhism celebration Founding motto of Won Buddhism 100th Anniversary of Won Buddhism 1st May at Seoul Stadium

 

 

 

 

 

On May 2nd the CSF Korean Regional Chapter was held at Holy Cross convent with Sr Catherine SHC interpreting, and Brother Laurence representing SSF.

CSF Korean Regional Chapter with Brother Lawrence SSF

On Wednesday evening Sr Sue and Sr Jemma joined the Dean, Sr Frances and the other Seminarians for Franciscan Evening Prayer in the Anglican Seminary Chapel, and Sister Sue was gave a homily. It was the students’ first experience of a Franciscan Office, and they were very appreciative.  Afterwards the Sisters shared with the students over a sandwich supper,

Franciscan Evening Prayer at the Seminary With the Dean Fr Jeremiah, and the 1st year seminarians in their chapel at the Anglican University

On Ascension Day, which this year was also Childrens’ Day, a national holiday in Korea,  the sisters worshipped at Cheonan Church in Daejeon Diocese at a Eucharist led by Bishop Moses, Bishop of Daejeon, and Sr Sue was asked to speak briefly to the congregation.

Br Reginald SSF – 96 Years young!

Br Reginald celebrated his birthday in style over the weekend. On Saturday Brothers from the Friary were taken for a lovely meal by good friends and then, on Sunday, the Celebrations continued with a lovely meal and a glass of ‘something’ before lunch.

 

reg 96 001

reg 96 005

First Profession at Alnmouth

Br Michael Jacob made his Profession in First Vows at a Eucharist held in Alnmouth Friary today. Br Benedict (the Minister Provincial) Celebrated the Eucharist and received Michael Jacob’s vows and Br John (the Guardian of Alnmouth) preached. To mark Br Michael Jacob’s Profession the Novice Rope with its one knot was replaced with the Traditional three knotted rope.

The Eucharist was attended by over seventy people many of whom had travelled a considerable distance to be with Michael Jacob. We were particularly pleased to welcome members of his family from Wales.

IMG_2144

Br Benedict receives Br Michael Jacob’s vows

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Br Michael Jacob’s Novice rope is removed.

At the reception afterwards...

At the reception afterwards…