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franciscan - September 1996

© The Society of Saint Francis, 1996

Community Routes

New Minister Provincial CSF

Sister Joyce has been elected Minister of the First Order Sisters of the European Province. She took office immediately after the count of votes on 30 July.

Joyce joined the community in 1970 and has been in profession for 23 years. She has lived in several houses in this Province and in the American Province and was, until her election, General Secretary and Novice Guardian. She at present lives in the Brixton house and expects to remain there for the time being.

The election came about because Nan, who was coming to the end of her term of office, resigned so as to allow the new Minister to attend the triennial First Order Chapter at Hilfield at the end of August. Subsequent to that, Nan’s mother Betty became seriously ill in South Africa and Nan flew home to be with her. Your prayers are asked for Betty Stubbings and all her family.

Keble Calls

After recent discussions about how we might begin to bring Franciscan ideas to a younger audience, four brothers and sisters will be spending time in Keble College, Oxford, in the autumn. They hope to join in with College societies, share meals with the students and get an informal taste of university life, together with the framework of worship in the college chapel. The event will begin with an open Eucharist in the chapel at 5.30 pm on Sunday 27 October. Sister Pat will preach on Celebrating Francis and there will be drinks afterwards. We hope that our friends in the area will come and lend their support on this occasion.

Alternative Service

Tristam has been appointed a member of the Church of England Liturgical Commission for a period of five years. He first joined that august body in 1992, just before the publication of Celebrating Common Prayer, which he edited. The Commission will be bringing revisions of most of the contents of The Alternative Service Book 1980 to the General Synod in the coming five years, so this will be a busy period, and not all contributions made by the Commission to Synod are received with overwhelming gratitude. We wish him well.

Being Brothers

Brother Anselm writes:

Just for once, the weather helped. The two full days of the annual SSF Provincial General Chapter meeting at Hilfield of the life professed brothers were hot and sunny. For those who visited Vincent’s ‘secret garden’, there was a wealth of colour: magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas and more, to test the spelling and catch the eye. However, the purpose of it all was to get the brothers in one place - and here was another surprise: since last year the builders have once again been busy, this time with the refurbishment of the ‘recreation room’, on the other side of the courtyard to St Francis Chapel. The stage and the ceiling are no more, leaving a large, airy, light hall in which to meet.

The two days gave us opportunities for listening, discussing, being open with each other. Our agenda included the opening and closing of houses, the consideration of the provincial budget and pensions. Damian, our Minister, inspired us; Angelo, who gave the first Franciscan lecture, informed and stimulated us; with no outside facilitator, we shared the chair widely. We departed with hope for our Province of SSF, confident that we have found a way forward in strengthening bonds between us in our very dispersed way of life, yet wondering whether we have to learn how to share disagreements openly.

Well Protected

At the end of October, our Bishop Protector Philip Goodrich retires: primarily as Bishop of Worcester but also, more poignantly for SSF, as our Protector in this Province and as Protector General of the Society world-wide. Bishop Philip has been caring for the Glasshampton brothers since he became their diocesan bishop but he formally took over protecting us all in 1990.
It proved a wise appointment, and the relationship has been a good and fruitful one. He was meticulous in his being there for us when needed, whether it was presiding gloriously at ceremonies of life profession or sitting through dull meetings about community finance. His presence, together with that of Margaret his wife, will be much missed.

At the Pentecost meetings of Chapter, the First Order Brothers and Sisters elected the Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt as the new Provincial Bishop Protector, with effect from 1 November. His wife Lou is a member of the Third Order and they both have known SSF for many years. We look forward to receiving his ministry and protection!

PNG Volunteer?

Hugh, in Papua New Guinea, is looking for a suitable lay volunteer to assist, from early 1997, with the education programme at Haruro Friary. The expenses of getting there are usually raised by the volunteer, but SSF may be able to assist. Anyone who qualifies and who is interested should get in touch with Damian at Scunthorpe.

Pilgrims

Sister Moyra, who represents C/SSF with the Pilgrims of St Francis, writes:

The Pilgrims of Saint Francis are a group who appear regularly on the intercession list but who, on the whole, are not well known. They are an international, ecumenical movement which began over 25 years ago in this country. Being on pilgrimage is very much about life on the move, being open to the possibilities that brings. It's about building community with the group of pilgrims you happen to find yourself with on any pilgrim event and, in the spirit of St Francis, leading a simple lifestyle, carrying what possessions you need with you in your rucksack. A typical day's pilgrimage will include worship, discussion, cooking and eating together, singing, and a great deal of humour.

Divine Compassion

On Friday 14 June, the feast of the Divine Compassion of our Lord, the new parish of the Divine Compassion, Plaistow was inaugurated. Ken Leech preached, and spoke of his early days with SSF in Cable Street; Roger Sainsbury, the Bishop of Barking presided: he is an old friend of the community from his days at the Mayflower Centre in Canning Town. The new Team Rector, Carl Turner, organised a service to be beheld: with red, heart-shaped balloons festooning the church, a glorious range of music and musicians and, most important of all, the people of the parish completely involved, made for what Bishop Roger described as an ‘Acts of the Apostles’ occasion. Even the Secretary of the Liturgical Commission was invited (and turned up!), just to let him see how things are done so well in London’s East End.

Meanwhile, prior to this Service, a simple Act of Covenant was signed in the House chapel between SSF and Helping Hands, a caring charity brought into being by SSF in 1983. With so few brothers at Balaam Street, the premises are mainly used as a centre for this work.

A Question of Degree

Silas has successfully completed his degree in theology at Birmingham University, receiving not only First class honours, but also a distinction on every paper. He also won the senior prize for his dissertation. After such a stunning set of results, Silas now hopes to study for a doctorate.

Opportunity

Jackie writes about the work of Yeovil Opportunity Group, where she is a volunteer two mornings a week:

This charity aims to provide support for children with special needs and their families. Children from a few months old to school age spend time at the Centre one or more mornings a week, where the aim is to help them to have more confidence in themselves; to begin to play with others; learn to relate to other adults; develop existing skills and learn others; develop communication and language skills; have lots of fun with a wide variety of materials; and learn independence ready for school.

There is a large, bright and airy playroom with a wide variety of toys, books, specialised equipment and play materials. In smaller rooms the children can use a computer, and a variety of musical instruments; and there are specialised areas, for physiotherapy and speech therapy. My favourite is the sensory room, which has a water bed and lots of relaxing equipment. There is also an outside grassed play area, with swings, slides, cars, bikes and sand pit.

The first session is structured play, then outside to let off steam, before a singing session to prepare the children for home. There are permanent trained staff, but the group relies on many volunteers to give a ratio of 1 adult for 2 children. Other specialist staff visit on a regular basis.

It is an opportunity for all the children, who have delayed learning for some reason e.g. autism, cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome, or genetic problems. But is also a wonderful opportunity for me, to use present skills with children, learn new ones, and get lots of hugs.

RIP

Sister Elizabeth CSF writes:

Dorothy Elliston died on 21 June, aged ninety six. She came to CSF on March 19th 1924 aged twenty five. Employed as a maid, she never wanted to be a Sister, but eventually became a Tertiary Regular. Right up to the 1960’s she still wore a cord and scapular under her dress, and kept a stiff rule of life. At Dalston, she was the laundress, though she loved gardening, so the move to Compton ‘enlarged her borders’ considerably. Loving children, she taught in Sunday School at St Peter's, De Beauvoir Square in Dalston, and then in South Petherton. Determination, accompanied by a deep faith, kept her virtually independent until recently.”

Winnie Junge also died in the FMM sisters nursing home in Plaistow the following day; she first became a member of the congregation at St Philip’s Plaistow in 1908!
May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

Roundup

Moyra made her profession in life vows at Compton on 12 July ... four men are aspiring to join SSF and have been invited to test their vocation, beginning at Hilfield on October 1st.
Austin has been appointed Guardian of Glasshampton.
David Francis was ordained deacon on 29 June in St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh and will be attached to the parish of St Ninian Comely Bank in the city ... Alan expects to be ordained deacon at All Saints’ Church, Gosforth, on 29 September ... Hugo has received a positive recommendation for training for ordination to the priesthood and expects to begin such in the autumn, with the West Midlands Ministerial Training Course.
Roger Alexander is now working as the parish priest in Chipinge, a large town in Manicaland Diocese, Zimbabwe ... Rose and Beverley move to Newcastle-under-Lyme, Felicity and Rowan Clare move to Brixton and Chris moves to Stepney, all in September ... Fay returns to New Zealand in September after two years in the UK.
Angela and Jacqueline were both released from their membership of the First Order and have been secularised ... Bruce has withdrawn from the noviciate at Hilfield
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