Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

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Community Routes

Religious Life and Renewal:

On 28th March, Benedict and Damian SSF, Joyce and Sue CSF, Sr Damien OSC and several members of the Third Order gathered at Lambeth Palace. They were part of a group of 125 members of Religious Communities, most of them Anglican, meeting at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Sixty seven different Communities were represented.

The day conference had three aims: to give members of religious communities around the country an opportunity to interact with Archbishop Justin’s vision for the renewal of Religious Life; to receive affirmation and build vision together; and to seek to reinvigorate and reimagine connections between religious communities and the church’s structures.

Participants were drawn from established, often more traditional religious communities, the newer communities, and some yet to be formed. The group also included bishops, and Division of Ministries staff from Church House Westminster. The day included Morning and Midday Prayer, small groups which offered an opportunity to meet new people and learn from each other, and two very inspiring and challenging keynote addresses.

Archbishop Justin, a Benedictine oblate, shared his vision for Prayer and the Renewal of Religious life, one of three core priorities for his ministry. The second speaker Fr Etienne Vetö, is a member of the Chemin Neuf (New Way) Community. This international Roman Catholic community with members from other traditions, was founded in the 1970s, currently has 2000 members in 30 countries, and is the Resident Community at Lambeth Palace: an Anglican couple, a Roman Catholic priest, and a Lutheran sister.

During the final act of worship, a Contemplative Eucharist, Archbishop Justin made two very practical suggestions to members of Religious Communities. Firstly, to encourage contact with other communities in our various regions, to share friendship and fellowship with an openness to wherever the Spirit may lead. Secondly to give some thought as to how we can help people – outsiders – to understand who and what we are.

The Archbishop’s imaginative and inspiring support challenges us to take the vision forward in prayer and action.


Blessing of CSF House in Korea

page 10 Blessing of house in Korea

In May, Sue made her annual pastoral visit as their Minister to Frances and Jemma in Korea, and Gina went too, as part of her sabbatical, following her retirement from prison chaplaincy. In March the Korean sisters moved from their flat in central Gumi, to their new Korean style house in the village of Il-Seon-Ri. They are still in the Gumi area, but now with river and mountain views, and space to offer hospitality and encourage new vocations.

The new house has a simple beauty and is very well planned and convenient, with the materials used reflecting a concern for the environment. It is built in the traditional style round three sides of a rectangle, with a large veranda round the inner walls. The front door opens into the spacious main living room, with an open plan kitchen. A door leads to the right hand wing which is the sisters’ living area with bedrooms and a workroom/community room. The left hand wing holds two guest rooms and a spacious chapel. Each wing has a toilet and shower.

On 16th May Bishop Onesimus of Busan, who is Deputy Bishop Protector for CSF in Korea, conducted the Blessing Service, and over 100 guests joined the sisters for the celebration. SSF Brothers Stephen, Lawrence and Cyril, from Gangchon Friary in Korea attended, and also Brother Alfred BoonKong who had just arrived from Australia for a three month visit to Gangchon. Members of Frances’ and Jemma’s families, and long-term friends and supporters, were also present. After the service everyone joined in a festive lunch which Jemma’s sister Martha, Frances and Jemma had prepared in the kitchen of their new home.

JPIC Links conference

page 10 Franciscans at JPIC

About 40 people gathered at High Leigh Conference Centre over a weekend in May for the 2014 JPIC Links conference, including Vaughan, Hugh and Maureen and also four TSSF members. Sr Nellie McLaughlin, a Mercy sister, spoke on the topic ‘The evolving story of the universe’. She described this ‘story’ as being a spirituality that informs our actions, to do with an emerging world view which sees all things as part of a unified whole, where anything I do with positive energy enhances other beings, and anything I do with negative energy has a negative impact on other beings.

Nellie presented several slide shows to convey these concepts, one of which described the beginnings of the universe and its development over the millennia, to the present day. We marvelled at big scale events, and details of adaptability, and at the recognition that we are formed of the same matter as the stars that first caused our planet to be born. It used to be thought that the earth was a self-healing, self-cleansing organism, but now we recognise that so much damage has been done to it that that is no longer the situation. We were encouraged to see nature as of value in itself, not simply of value in the ways it serves the needs of humankind. Nellie pointed out that poets and mystics over the centuries have recognised this, but still we treat the earth appallingly.

Three strands were suggested as a possibility for a new global ethic:

Diversity – no two beings are the same; the universe does not repeat itself. Each being, whether animate or inanimate, has something of value to offer.

Interiority – each person and animal and thing has a right to be; they are not objects nor a commodity; each is to be respected by others. We must not think dualistically, i.e. that things in the world exist solely for the benefit of humans. Although we cannot live without the sun, air, water, etc. they, too, need to be respected.

Communion/inter-connectedness – all is one; all is holy; all is interdependent. There is no such thing as isolation. Regarding religion, none of us has the whole truth; we each have a little of the truth; together, we have more of the truth.

One of the actions that comes out of such a stance as that described above, is conservation of resources and recycling as much as possible. We talked briefly about ways of raising awareness of the fragility of our earth in our church communities by celebrations, and by promoting behaviours that reduce our impact on the earth in the areas of food consumption, energy use and generation, transport, and agriculture.

‘Imagining Faith’

From 24th-27th March, Sue, Benedict and Giles served as chaplains for the clergy of Oxford Diocese who filled The Hayes Conference Centre at Swanwick for their first Clergy Conference for twenty-two years. The chaplains re-arranged the Chapel to create spaces and focuses for quiet prayer, and also led Night Prayer there, as well as making ourselves available for individual conversations both formally and informally during the course of the conference. We also had a stall stocked with information about Anglican Religious Life, and the Franciscan tradition in particular.

The worship was inspiring, inclusive and sensitively led, and we were privileged to have excellent speakers on the theme: ‘Imagining Faith’. Rev’d Dr Graham Tomlin, Principal of St Paul’s Theological Centre, and Dean of St Mellitus College, led us in Bible Study. Keynote addresses were delivered by Rev’d Professor Graham Ward, Regius Professor of Theology at Oxford University, Rev’d Dr Sam Wells, Rector of St. Martin in the Fields, and the Bishop of Oxford. For many the highlight was Bishop Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, who was with us throughout She gave wise and inspiring input and presided at the Eucharist on one occasion, which gave us a glimpse of things to come!

There was a very positive, friendly atmosphere with our ministry as Chaplains being well used, and our presence greatly appreciated.

Metheringham labyrinth

In partnership with the Diocese of Lincoln, the sisters at Metheringham have been enabled to put a 7-page 11 labyrinthcircuit Chartres style labyrinth in their garden. Maureen was among the group that spent a number of days, over several months, marking it out and digging in the concrete blocks. Those who know the labyrinth in Norwich Cathedral may find some similarity of design. The Bishop of Lincoln came and presided at a Eucharist in the house on 28 May, after which we all went out and stood around the outer edge of the labyrinth while he prayed a blessing on it. After a shared supper, a number of our visitors walked the labyrinth, using it as a tool for reflection and prayer. The labyrinth is open for anyone to come and walk, but it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Round up

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Helen Julian’s Ordination to the Priesthood

Sue attended the National Celebration marking twenty years of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood in the Church of England at St Paul’s Cathedral on the 3rd of May. She was ordained priest in 1994, as were Elizabeth and Hilary, who were unable to be at the celebration.

Helen Julian was ordained priest on 22nd June. She will move from Freeland to the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham to continue her curacy.

Malcolm moves to Cambridge during September (from Newcastle) to begin work as a Chaplain at Westcott House. Christopher Martin moves from Leeds to join him and to explore other ministries in the city.

All the current novices are moving during September: Cristian Michael from Glasshampton to Alnmouth; Robert from East London to Newcastle; James Douglas and Michael Jacob to Newcastle, respectively, from Alnmouth and Hilfield where Michael Jacob spent the summer months; David from Newcastle to Leeds; and Micael Christoffer from Newcastle to East London. Two men have been accepted as aspirants and will begin their postulancy at Alnmouth in September. f