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franciscan - May 2001

© The Society of Saint Francis, 2001

Community Routes

Philip Goodrich TSSF, RIP

Brother Damian writes:

Bishop Philip Goodrich died unexpectedly on 22 January at the age of seventy-one. From 1990 to 1996, he had been the Bishop Protector of the three Orders in the European Province of SSF and, latterly, as Protector General of the whole Society of Saint Francis worldwide. He was halfway through his noviciate as a Franciscan Tertiary when he died. Bishop Philip not only served the Church with devotion and enthusiasm but his whole ministry was clearly marked with what I would humbly call Franciscan traits. Though living at Hartlebury Castle, the grand home of the Bishops of Worcester since the year 857, he and Margaret would be glad to entertain in their kitchen if the occasion could be interpreted as an extended family one, or would draw up easy chairs by the open fire away from the office desk if the discussion were purely pastoral.

Ministers, and others of course, have the need from time to time to share their concerns with the Bishop Protector, whose rôle has been described as ‘protecting SSF from the Church and the Church from SSF.’ After one such encounter, where I had expressed a concern to show some extra care for those brothers who had come from abroad and were living now in our Province, Bishop Philip immediately suggested ‘Hartlebury Days’, offering the facilities of his home as a place to meet and talk through any difficulties or tensions. Of course everyone enjoyed the privilege and it helped us greatly to relax with our agenda.

In 1993, on the retirement of Bishop Ken Mason, Bishop Philip was elected Protector General, a responsibility that offered, in practical terms, little more than an imposing title! However, he was eager to enquire whether he should visit SSF across the world, and was relieved to hear that such was not our expectation. It expressed, however, his willingness to give himself fully, to make himself available where needed and always to be ready to offer that thoughtful and balanced advice, grounded in an incarnational theology which so often marked his deeply human Christian response. He may have died a junior ‘member’ of SSF, as a Tertiary novice, but he had already given generously to us of the best of Christian qualities as a Father-in-God expressing Francis’s love, humility and joy every time he had occasion to meet with any of us. Thank you brother Philip, and Margaret, for all you have given to us. Respectfully, we pray that he may rest in peace; but his own words would have sounded more like, ‘Alleluia, On we go!’

Past future

Anselm spent six ‘blissful’ weeks at Saint Deiniol’s Residential Library, Hawarden as the first part of his sabbatical. He spent the time studying early precursors of franciscan magazine: the Flowerette newsletters, printed at Batcombe (now Hilfield). He was thus living in the past with the Brotherhood of Saint Francis of Assisi in the 1920s and 1930s – living in the past of SSF. He spent Christmas at Glasshampton, living with the future, in the persons of our postulants, and looks forward to living at Saint Clare’s House, Birmingham. He is not sure where that will be, as the whereabouts of the new location is in the hands of the local housing department!

End of an era

The Candlemas Chapter of CSF decided with deep regret to close the house at Newcastle-under-Lyme, from 31 July 2001, after twenty-seven years. The primary reason for the closure is that community staffing needs cannot be met from present resources. However, the Chapter also decided that Sister Teresa would remain in the area to continue her considerable ministry in the diocese and beyond.

Greystones Saint Francis will be sold. It is the hope of the community that another Religious community might be interested in buying it and details have been circulated to the leaders of both Anglican and Roman Catholic communities.
Sister Joyce, the CSF Minister Provincial, said: ‘We ask for prayers as we prepare to close the house, which is always a difficult time for us as well as for those who will feel our absence as a praying presence in their midst. In all this, we give thanks for all we have received in our time here and cannot but be immensely grateful to the late Miss Clare Heath who made it all possible.’

And Brother Damian writes:

After twenty years of an SSF presence in Holy Trinity House, Paddington, the former vicarage of Holy Trinity Church, the lease on the property from the Diocese of London expired at the beginning of this year. Due to financial stringencies, the Diocese felt unable to renew the lease. Thus SSF no longer maintain the Friary there. The four brothers previously resident are now temporarily dispersed and are living and working in different parts of London.

Compton Creativity

Helen Julian’s first book Living the Gospel: the spirituality of St Francis and St Clare will be published in June of this year by Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), at £5.99.

Beverley features in one of a set of educational videos entitled Arguments for the Existence of God. In an interview filmed at Compton Durville, she talks about the rôle of religious experience in her life. The set of five videos, plus a resource CD, is available from Dialogue Educational Videos, PO Box 86, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 2XJ, price £150, plus £7.50 p & p.

Websters SSF

The Franciscan Website has been up and running for three years and, as a serendipitous boost at a meeting of Religious Communities recently, the speaker used our Website to illustrate how good a website could be! If you have yet to sample its delights, know that it contains all of this magazine and its predecessors for the previous six years, the latest prayer list and up-to-date whereabouts of the brothers and sisters, ‘hyperlinks’ to Third Order and Companions pages and wider Franciscan links, the SSF Brochure and much, much more.

Preaching Vocations

15 July this year, in the Anglican Provinces of Canterbury and York at least, is Vocations Sunday. If your parish is within reach of one of our houses, why not invite a brother or sister to preach or speak about the religious vocation on that day? The C/SSF Vocations Team is running a day, Exploring Franciscan Life, for those aged twenty-one to forty, in London on 23 June. Further details can be had from Christine James at Compton Durville.


Francis the prophet

At a day conference at the Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury, on 16 June 2001, the third and final volume of the Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, subtitled The Prophet, will be launched. The first two volumes were subtitled, respectively, The Saint and The Founder. The speakers will be the co-editors of the book, Regis Armstrong OFM Cap., J A Wayne Hellmann OFM Conv. and William J Short OFM.

A Right Stewardship

Brother Christopher writes:

For the first time in eight years, all of the First and Second Order Bursars met together in the Old Parsonage, Freeland for the Bursars Conference. It was quite a squeeze to get us all in, since there were eighteen of us.

Jonathan and Elizabeth steered the meeting with help from other bursars. Elizabeth confirmed the importance of a trusting, non-judgmental attitude as Bursar. Joyce and Damian were both present at different times. Damian spoke to us of the legal requirement for transparent accounting that lets others know exactly how house accounts are managed at any point in time. Jeremy Kirk, the insurance broker for SSF, kindly gave up his Saturday morning to discuss our Insurance Policies and the potentially-thorny issue of Public Liability. Christine James encouraged us to make regular, straightforward reports of the house accounts to members of the house. It is not solely the bursars who are accountable for the money of the house and such feedback enables all sisters and brothers to be responsible for the income, spending, and savings of the community.

Hilary addressed the issue of Gift Aid and the Inland Revenue. The new scheme for reclaiming tax on charitable giving replaces the former covenants system. There is now no legal minimum limit to a donation and any form of donation (though not subscription) by one person is covered by the new scheme.

We were put through our paces with an on-the-spot Petty Cash exercise. Robert Coombes highlighted the joys and pitfalls of trying to get the petty cash to balance. Another exercise dealt with reconciling monthly bank statements. Moyra led us through the process of how to compile the end-of-year house budget report.

Anselm presided efficiently over a packed dining room and gave us full opportunity to clean up any mess we might have made on the Old Parsonage carpet. There was also time to visit the Oxfordshire Yeoman, but did anyone get receipts?

Youth Camp 25

For the past twenty-five years, Hilfield Youth Camp has been providing a unique experience of Christian community to young people aged between fourteen and twenty-five. Anyone who has attended the camps in any capacity in the past is warmly invited to come to Hilfield for our twenty-fifth birthday party on Saturday 18 August, to begin with the eucharist at noon, at which Philip Bartholomew will preside. The same day will also see the official launch of the long-awaited Friends of Hilfield Youth Camp; it is hoped that this will provide a focus of prayerful, practical and financial support for the present camp, as well as providing continuity for former campers.

We know from the feedback we get that HYC makes a significant difference to a great number of people (not least the many brothers and sisters who have put so much into it over the years!). The camp has, inevitably, changed in many ways since its original inception. However, now – as twenty-five years ago – we hold to our original aim; to provide young people with an opportunity to explore their faith in a framework of Franciscan spirituality, not just for ten days in August but throughout their lives.

Go, repair my Church ...

Nathanael began a two-year extended mission to a small town in Anglesey: Llanerch-y-medd in the autumn of last year. His brief was to help the Diocese to decide whether the old parish church, closed after falling into disrepair, might be renovated and re-opened for public worship.
The combination of Nathanael’s systematic pastoral visits and an incident of a falling stone from the Church structure in front of a passer-by has resulted in the decision to repair and re-open the Church for the local people with immediate effect!

Round up

Christine Julian OSC expects to make her profession in life vows at Freeland on 20 April; Beverley has also been elected to life profession: she hopes to make her vows on 11 May at Compton Durville.
On 25 January at Glasshampton, the following were admitted as novices: Mark Burrows, taking the name Mark Edmund; Richard Adamberry, taking the name Richard, and Colin Penman, taking the name Dominic.
The following have been elected as Guardian of their Friary: Alan Michael at Birmingham; Angelo at Gladstone Park; Amos at Barrowfield; Benedict at Glasshampton; Martin at Cambridge; Paschal at Alnmouth; Philip Bartholomew at Hilfield.
Samuel was instituted as Vicar of Saint Bene’t’s Cambridge on 9 March by Bishop Anthony of Ely.
Anselm has moved to Saint Clare’s House Birmingham ... Christine James moves to Brixton in May ... Hugh has been transferred to the European Province and is now resident at Hilfield ... Patricia Clare has moved from Abergavenny to another hermitage near Tregaron ... Rose moved to San Francisco at the end of March, initially for six months.
John Francis has been granted Leave of Absence.
David Alban has withdrawn from the noviciate.
David and Matthew have been released from their profession in First Vows.
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