franciscan - May 1996
© The Society of Saint Francis, 1996
Sister Gina CSF, the Secretary to the Companions writes:
It was with some trepidation that I took over from Brother Philip Bartholomew as Secretary to the Companions of SSF, as my secretarial skills are rather limited! I grew up before the computer age and never even learned to type. However, I have a reasonably legible hand and, so far, I havenít found my duties too onerous.
I have been asked to say something about myself in this letter, so here goes. Some of you may remember from reading news previously in franciscan (which I am confident you all read, mark and inwardly digest) that I am fairly new to CSF: I was received into the Community in September 1994 after a two-year transition from another Anglican community, which I had joined way back in 1966.
Most of my past community ministry had been as a parish worker, but I had also been responsible for the communityís small home for the mentally disabled and for noviciate training at different times.
Now, after two very happy years at Newcastle-under-Lyme, where I did quite a bit of spiritual direction and some retreat-giving, I have been here in Stepney for nearly a year and a half. Ours is a house shared by two SSF brothers and two CSF sisters. Our outside involvements are many and varied, but our common life and worship is the dynamo that energises and the bedrock that undergirds all we do.
A couple of days a week, I work at the Royal London Hospital as a Chaplainís Assistant, and one day a week I am doing a counselling course at Tower Hamlets College. I am also a voluntary counsellor with the hospital Bereavement Counselling Service and take regular assemblies at a local primary school, where virtually all the pupils are Bangladeshi and Moslem. About once a month, I take the service at the local URC church which is currently without a minister. I am also responsible for our house accounts. All that, together with the not-so-trivial round of Eucharist, prayer and Offices and the common task of housework and cooking, just about keeps me out of mischief.
Life is not all work, however, and most Saturday mornings you will find me on the fiddle with ELLSO - the East London Late Startersí Orchestra. There are about fifty of us, ranging from complete beginners to quite accomplished musicians - and it is great fun!
Being a Christian is much like playing in ELLSO: we need to keep our eyes on the conductor and listen to each other.
We all have our part to play, whether it be plodding along on the open strings in the back row or singing out the
theme tune in the front desk. May you never underestimate the part you play in the Orchestra of Life and contribute
to its harmony with a joyful heart.
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