Category: Latest News

Update from Clark Berge SSF at COP 26 in Glasgow

Update from Clark Berge SSF at COP 26 in Glasgow

By admin in Latest News on November 1, 2021


Here I am in George Square at the Sunday afternoon vigil of faith group for COP 26. Representatives from many religions spoke movingly about our interrelatedness and shared care for the earth and all her creatures.
Sunday evening I attended a Talanoa Dialogue in the Jewish Synagogue. It was a brilliant event keynoted by the Chief Rabbi of Britain. The Anglican Primus of Scotland also spoke, sharing a beautiful story about brambles. They served as an indicator of a difference in the environment during lockdown. Less traffic, sweeter, more abundant berries near his home. The message was we need to live differently so all life can thrive.
The dialogue featured Jews, Muslims, Sikhs Buddhists, Christians, Druids and many others speaking to our shared conviction that the earth is a precious place that needs our care. Radical decisions required by all world’s governments especially the biggest greenhouse gas emitters.
Great to be working with colleagues from Franciscans International. I’m pictured with Br. Angel Cortez OFM.
Franciscans at COP26 in Glasgow

Franciscans at COP26 in Glasgow

By admin in Latest News on October 30, 2021

COP26 is almost here, and there will be a strong Franciscan presence in Glasgow throughout the conference.
Our brothers Clark Berge and Christopher John will be speaking at this briefing in Glasgow on Monday, along with our friends from OFM (Order of Friars Minor). You are very welcome to register to attend in person or online.
1st November 2021, 4pm UK time
Register and participate online:
Register and join in person:
The Friary, 270 Ballater Street, Glasgow G5 0YT
Please continue to keep COP26 in your prayers. Our planet needs prayerful love and action like never before.
New Volunteers Assisting at Plaistow

New Volunteers Assisting at Plaistow

By admin in Latest News on October 28, 2021

The Brothers at Plaistow are being ably assisted by three wonderful new volunteers. Lavinia, Elias and Emma are from Germany and are giving much-needed friendly support to local people. Here they are helping with Plaistow’s free food distribution scheme. They’re also assisting with home visits, shopping trips, hospital appointments, and many other activities.

Hilfield Friary Planting 100 Oaks to Celebrate Centenary

Hilfield Friary Planting 100 Oaks to Celebrate Centenary

By admin in Latest News on October 25, 2021


Here is some wonderful news! Hilfield Friary will be celebrating its centenary in December, planting one hundred oak trees to commemorate each of its one hundred years. The new area of wood-pasture will then begin to mature in the next one hundred years. Truly a celebration of past, present and future!
Click on the attached link for more information:
Memorial Service for Helen Julian CSF

Memorial Service for Helen Julian CSF

By admin in Latest News on October 14, 2021

The memorial service for Helen Julian CSF took place at Southwark Cathedral this afternoon (14th October). Bishop Christopher Chessun presided, and Sue CSF preached. A moving tribute was also given by Monica Bolley on behalf of On Fire Mission, a project which had become close to Helen Julian’s heart for many years.
In addition to recognising her obvious skills as a writer and author, and her pastoral sensitivity, Helen Julian’s dedication to online ministry and her prayerful presence on social media were also noted.
Pictured: (main image, above) Bishop Christopher presides at Southwark Cathedral this afternoon; (below) a wonderful selection of photographs taken from the back of the service booklet.
A recording of the service is available via this link:
Alnmouth Welcomes COP 26 Pilgrims

Alnmouth Welcomes COP 26 Pilgrims

By admin in Latest News on October 11, 2021

Yesterday the Brothers at Alnmouth greeted fifteen pilgrims who are making their way to next month’s COP26 talks in Glasgow. They are undertaking a truly remarkable journey, walking from the south of England to Scotland, sharing their prayerful message of environmental justice along the way.
Our Brothers ensured the pilgrims received generous helpings of food and good cheer, and then walked in solidarity with them for a short way along the Northumberland coast to the village of Longhoughton. Prayers were said at St Peter’s church.
Please keep the forthcoming COP26 talks in your prayers, that our governments will initiate effective methods to combat climate change and prevent further environmental destruction.
2021/22 Ordo Available Soon

2021/22 Ordo Available Soon

By admin in Latest News on October 5, 2021

The 2021/2022 Ordo is now being prepared and printed, containing helpful information for all who use the SSF Office book.

If you would like a copy, please send a stamped addressed envelope, plus loose additional stamps to the value of £1 (to cover printing costs) to Sara Whistance at Hilfield:

Sara Whistance
Secretary to SSF
The Friary
United Kingdom
Requiem for Helen Julian CSF to be Livestreamed 14th October

Requiem for Helen Julian CSF to be Livestreamed 14th October

By admin in Latest News on October 5, 2021

Helen Julian’s memorial service on Thursday 14th October at 2pm will be livestreamed from Southwark Cathedral.   Here’s the link for those who wish to join with us on-line at that time, or share in the service later.

The link will be live from 1.55pm on the day of the service.

If you plan to come to the cathedral please email to help us estimate numbers.


Environmental Success for SSF in the Solomon Islands

Environmental Success for SSF in the Solomon Islands

By admin in Latest News on September 30, 2021

Good news to share!
Our Franciscan brothers in the Solomons, have been working with the Dominican sisters and friars, through our partners in Geneva, Franciscans International and Dominicans for Justice and Peace.
We’ve highlighted issues of human rights abuses related to the widespread and increasing logging industry in Solomon Islands. This logging strips bare whole hillsides, and the round logs are exported without any processing. The devastation, ecological, social and spiritual, is profound and seemingly endless.
Through our Geneva partners who work through the human rights mechanisms at the UN we’ve lobbied their member states as part of the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights. Some member states took our submission and made recommendations to the Solomons delegation at the UN. Of the seven issues relating to logging, SIX have been accepted by the Solomons government. These will be voted on in the next few days in the full assembly of the UN Human Rights Council.
These six human rights recommendations – accepted by the Solomons government – are:
104.68 Take appropriate legislative and administrative measures to ensure that the use of exploitation of natural resources, in particular logging, do not adversely affect the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights of local communities (Slovenia);
104.69 Protect human rights against abuses and environmental degradation by logging companies and ensure effective remedies when abuses have occurred (Slovenia);
104.70 That all forest exploitation projects include prior and informed consultation with the concerned local and indigenous communities, as well as a report on the environmental and human rights impact, specifically in the area of the rights to water and sanitation (Spain);
104.71 Take further measures to prevent and mitigate the human rights violations caused by business activities (Timor-Leste);
104.72 Ensure that policies relating to the environment take into consideration their impact on human rights and on communities (Philippines);
104.73 Ensure the conservation and protection of fragile habitats against deforestation and forest degradation, and strengthen sustainable forest management practices to protect human rights related to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (Canada);
By accepting these recommendations the SI will have to report regularly to the UN on its progress in keeping these human rights. We’ll keep them up to the mark! But in a very positive way we can be part of the solution. NGOs such as ours have credibility at village level. We can work in villages, educating in human rights, and promoting more sustainable practices than extractive logging. There’s still a long way to go, but a road has opened up.
As the SSF brothers in the Solomons prepare to celebrate their 50th anniversary this weekend, this news is one of the best indications of what we’ve achieved since our Franciscan presence was founded there in 1970. We’ve taken the voices of those who know and trust us in the villages, people who often are without voice. We’ve amplified their voices and taken them to the United Nations. Now, under positive international pressure, those voices are influencing government policy in the Solomons.
(in the photos – the Solomons Dominican / Franciscan coalition preparing lobbying information packs. And one of our many Zoom meetings!)