Francis was overwhelmed with the love of God in Jesus Christ and he sought to share it will all he met.
Sharing the Good News
“…They must remember that, in this task of showing Christ to others the witness of life is more eloquent than that of words. Franciscans must, therefore, seek rather to be living lives through which Christ can manifest himself than to preach much in public. Nevertheless, there will be some amongst them called more particularly to the ministry of the Word, and all must be ready at all times to give an answer for the faith that is in them, and particularly to guide all who are sincerely seeking after truth…” (Principles Day 22)
As Franciscans we seek to live our lives in such a way that they speak of our love of God and our reverence for our world and our fellow human beings. Many Brothers and Sisters are called upon to preach, to teach, to give seminars and to lead Quiet Days, to share the transformative hope found in Jesus Christ.
“…It is right that [the] employments [of the Brothers and Sisters] should vary according to the particular ability which God has given them, as that some should, with the approval of their Minister, give themselves in large measure to prayer and contemplation, others to the pursuit of learning and the writing of books and others mainly to the ministry of active service. Yet must room be found in the lives of all for at least some measure of each of these three employments…” (Principles Day 13)
Throughout the history of the Community many Sisters and Brothers have written on Franciscan and other matters. Here is a selection of books written by Brothers and Sisters over the years:
Colin Wilfrid SSF & Joyce CSF: The Daily Office SSF
Clark Berge SSF:
The Vows Book: Anglican Teaching on the Vows of Obedience, Poverty and Chastity
Running to Resurrection: A soul-making chronicle
Helen Julian CSF:
Living the Gospel – The Spirituality of St Francis and St Clare
The Lindisfarne Icon – St Cuthbert and the 21st Century
Franciscan Footprints: Following Christ in the ways of Francis and Clare
Nicholas Alan SSF, Samuel SSF and Simon Cocksedge TSSF:
Seeing Differently: Franciscans and Creation
Ramon SSF: Franciscan Spirituality – Following Saint Francis Today
Tristram SSF: A Sense of the Divine – A Franciscan Reader for the year
Studying & Sharing the Word
As can be seen from his own writings, Francis knew the scriptures intimately and held a deep respect for the Bible as it reveals to us the Word of God. At the same time, he knew that words by themselves can be just a dead letter unless they lead to change of heart and appropriate action.
Reading and praying the scriptures are central to our daily life. Although academic study is not necessary for every brother or sister, we are all called to reflect with both mind and body on the word of God in scripture, in creation and in human affairs today.
Online Ministry and Witness is becoming increasingly important, particularly in response to the Covid pandemic. Our Brothers and Sisters maintain a presence on Facebook, and also regularly contribute to the Anglican Religious Life account on Twitter.
Like many other groups and organisations, we have adapted much of our work to be online-friendly. We hold many of our meetings on Zoom, reducing the need to travel and enabling us to use our funds in other ways.
We also help to run prayer and discussion groups online, including a weekly Scriptural Rosary session.
Many of our Brothers and Sisters also offer Spiritual Accompaniment and Direction, and much of this is now being done on Zoom or similar Apps.
We also recognise the importance of meeting in person in addition to the benefits of online ministry, mindful that many people aren’t able to access the internet. Our aim is to provide a healthy balance of both forms of service.
St Francis was deeply committed to the ministry of the Church and especially to Parish ministry; he wanted his Brothers to work collaboratively with their local Bishops and clergy. 21st Century Franciscan Sisters and Brothers attempt to follow this example not only by preaching, teaching and offering Spiritual Accompaniment but also by visiting various Church ‘Festivals’ over the spectrum of the Anglican Tradition. Brothers and Sisters regularly visit: New Wine, On Fire, Greenbelt and the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage.
Youth and Family Camps
Every summer, Hilfield Friary in Dorset holds a Family Camp (usually early August) and a Youth Camp (mid August). The Family Camp involves a week of sharing the life of the friary with adults and children (new young families are always most welcome). Details on this year’s camp can be found here.
The Youth Camp is a week for groups or individuals aged 13 to 17, sharing and growing in the Christian life. More information on the camp planned for 2021 can be found here.