Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

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Community Routes

Summer camps:

The weather was on our side this summer, for our usual range of summer camps. Hilfield Friary hosted the Families Camp in July/August and the Youth Camp around the middle of August. The Greenbelt Festival on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August also had its team of Franciscans and friends.

Hilfield Youth Camp

Christopher Martin writes:

This year’s Hilfield Youth Camp began with a sleepover in the library and common room in order to avoid the remnants of hurricane Bertha. Thankfully that was the worst of the weather and the rest of the week was blessedly beautiful. We enjoyed a huge range of activities including sailing, a carnival day, life-size monopoly (with its very own pirate prison warden) and a beautiful walk to Cerne Abbas for cream tea and cricket. The theme this year was ‘Freedom’ and our daily morning and evening worship sessions led by the campers explored various aspects including modern slavery and the ways in which we trap ourselves. All this was interspersed with packing the Franciscan magazine, drinking tea with the Hilfield Community, dancing, making friends and cooking for ourselves.

Greenbelt Festival

Maureen writes:

Not a camp, exactly, but for the Franciscan team it involved camping. After a considerable period of stability at Cheltenham Racecourse, the Greenbelt Festival moved to a new site at Boughton House, Northamptonshire, so there were more unknowns than usual as we prepared for the festival. In the event, the Saturday services of Morning, Midday and Evening Prayer based on our SSF Daily Office, were very well attended. Brother Hugh and Kerri, a member of the Hilfield Community, also had a pleasing number of people at a seminar which encouraged people to reduce their carbon footprint. Fittingly, it was held in an open air venue situated in a grove of trees – the rain held off until Monday. It was good to have Sisters Helen and Louisa of the Order of the Holy Paraclete as part of our team, along with people who are currently or were recently resident at Hilfield, as well as some friends from previous Greenbelts.

The highlights of the Festival for me included hearing Mpho Tutu talking about a process of forgiveness; a very funny, light-hearted, gospel singer; a discussion led by Moot, where we discussed ‘living well’ and how our faith practices inspired by monastic spirituality, can help us to do this; and as usual, the Sunday morning service where around 15,000 people were worshipping God together and sharing Holy Communion in an inclusive and no-fuss (but very well planned) way.

Think of a number…

The Anglican Internoviate programme includes opportunities for learning about one-self as well as learning about the religious life and ‘doing some theology’.

Robert writes:

At the end of September, the Enneagram course was held at Whitby, in the Order of the Holy Paraclete’s retreat house overlooking the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales. Through the Enneagram, the novices were invited to explore the hidden depth of our personalities. Dorothy Stella, the Prioress of OHP, led us slowly into the Holy of Holies (= our Number), approaching it with stories about fictional communities and body exploring exercises. Probably it is fair to say, that we all got to know each other at a deeper level. Surprising was the high number of type FIVE personalities in the room (often called the Hermit or the Observer), who, according to Dorothy, would normally never choose to come to a workshop like that, if they are not made to by their superiors. It was good to have exchanges in groups of similar types and together with everybody.

But just as important was the social aspect of the meeting, catching up, hearing news from the other communities and just having a good time together. Those meetings are a very good occasion to bring the different strands of Anglican religious life together. The OHP Sisters also seemed to enjoy having us. One curious moment was at Mass, celebrated by a former SSF Novice. He admitted that it felt like a slightly strange moment for him, before reading to us from ‘The Rule for a new Brother’. The climax was of course the party on the last evening, before we tearfully departed from each other.

Going green (or red)

At Hilfield we are constantly seeking ways of lowering our carbon footprint by insulating buildings, sharing car journeys, using local transport, growing our own food, recycling etc. The months of September and October saw great upheaval at the Friary, with roads and paths fenced off, trenches, a metre and a half deep, dug between all the houses, and earth and stones piled up across the grass. When the rain began around St Francis’ Day in early October after a wonderfully dry Sept-ember, the place began to look like a re-creation of the Western Front! All this was undertaken in order to install a biomass heating and hot-water system for the Friary that is carbon neutral, burning wood-chips sourced from local woodlands.

It has been a huge communal effort. The trenches, in which are laid the large insulated pipes for supplying water from the boiler to the houses, have been dug by members of the Hilfield Community, together with local friends and visitors, under the direction of Jonathan Herbert, one of the members of the Hilfield Community. Everyone at the friary has played some part in the work. John Griffin, a local farmer, generously lent the Friary his mechanical digger. There were unexpected problems, and snags and crises such as when water and sewage lines were broken – at times it felt that the task would never be completed – but the goal was accomplished! The team employed to install the boiler, tanks, plumbing and electrics, were tremendously supportive and encouraging, and the firm which designed and supplied the system, was very helpful. Good friendships have been made through this work.

The system was commissioned at the end of October, and it means not just a saving on fuel costs, but, more importantly, a re-connection with the creation in which we live and of which we are a part, a further step towards sustainable living, and a deeper sense of gratitude for heat and hot water!

Installing the biomass boiler at San Damiano, Metheringham, was less of an undertaking, as there was only one house involved. The ‘coal hole’ was cleared of coal, wood, and gardening implements, but we were a little surprised by quite how much room the final product took up. In addition there is a very large pellet silo situated behind the garage. However, the house is now warm all day, at a manageable cost, and we have done away with the oil-fired boiler. A small shed has been put on the site of the old oil tank in which to keep the displaced contents of the coal hole.

We are assured that it is quite possible to have a biomass boiler installed in a house of more ‘ordinary’ proportions, as boilers come in a range of sizes, and ours is by no means the smallest.

Hope for the Future in times of climate crisis

Brothers from London and Community members from Hilfield joined in the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21 in London and Weymouth respectively, just two of the many marches around the world. It was two days before the U.N. Climate Summit in New York. Soon after churches participated in Christian Aid‘s ‘Hunger for Justice’ weekend, and others in One World Week, to show how the poor are the first to suffer from climate change.

December 2015 will see the next UN Climate summit in Paris – following the Copenhagen summit of 2009. Meanwhile Hilfield and Metheringham are leading the way in re-engineering the UK’s heating system from fossil fuels to renewable fuels, namely biomass. Of course, without a campaign of divestment from fossil fuels as well, this will just free up fossil fuel for others to burn – but now churches are beginning to discuss this too.

Our next General Election draws near. There is still time to let your MP and Parliamentary candidates know that preventing climate change is a vital electoral issue for you. The Bishop of Sheffield has launched the Hope for the Future campaign to encourage churches to hold a Climate Write In – a simple and effective way to let MPs know our concerns. Rather than getting just one or two letters, they get a stack (or one letter signed by a group) – much more difficult to dismiss. www.hftf.org.uk has all you need to know.

Round up

Archbishop Roger Herft retired as Bishop Protector of the Province of the Divine Compassion, and therefore also as Protector General of the three Orders. The Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, the Bishop of Los Angeles and Bishop Protector of the First Order Brothers in the Province of the Americas, has now taken on the role of Protector General.

In the European Province, Bishop Michael Perham’s term of office as Bishop Protector concluded on Advent Sunday 2014, and he has been succeeded by the Rt. Rev. Stephen Cottrell.

Please remember these bishops in your prayers. We are very grateful to them for their generosity in supporting us in these roles.

Helen Julian was licensed to the parishes of Edwinstowe, Perlethorpe and Clipstone at Edwinstowe, in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, on the morning of 12th October, when the parish also celebrated King Edwin’s Day. She received a very warm welcome from the parish, who have been very generous in assisting her with various aspects of moving there.

Micael Christoffer moved to Canterbury at the end of October, following a short period based in East London. Peter Southall began his postulancy at Alnmouth in September. Cristian Michael, David, Micael Christoffer and Robert were elected to First Profession at the Francistide Chapter and expect to make their professions at Alnmouth on 13th December.

David has been appointed as a Vocations Advisor, working with the Brothers’ Novice Guardian to promote vocations. f