franciscan - September 2004
© The Society of Saint Francis, 2004
Birmingham to Hilfield: a youth report
The Birmingham SSF house provides a youth resource for the local area by running seven youth groups for different ages. An extra group for 15-16 year old lads has met over the past 8 months to look at issues that can affect their lives. This has mainly been done through watching, and discussing over a meal, films that have particular issues in them. The group finished with the experience of a visit to Hilfield Friary in April. This is what Steve, one of the participants, had to say about it:
'The trip was one of the best I have been on mainly because being with all my friends we was all excited to be going away it would have been a nightmare if brother Alan and brother Des didn't go we was a bit of a handful sorry.
The friary was great all of us lads was in the same room and on the nights it was great fun we had our own little house in the middle of the whole friary area and loads of area to play football it was like heaven for us lads.
The second day we got to go paintball and quading everyone preferred the quad biking except for Tom who fell off in to the fence non the less paintball was a laugh everyone came out with bruises but it was all in the name of fun brother Alan and brother Des was scared to come and take the photos in case they got shot.
On the night we drove into the nearest town to go to the arcades and lads being lads all thought we could pull a couple of girls of course we failed non the less we all had a go if it wasn't for Sam playing bob the builder we might of got somewhere,
On the third day we all went swimming at a water world type place we nearly got kicked out 3 times but it wasn't our fault well that's what we told Alan anyway
There was nothing but slides and water shoots we spent about 4 hours there then all crept into the sauna not everyone could handle it after that we went to a burger bar for a meal not all of us was happy with the service and toilet supplies
On the last day it was mainly cleaning up after ourselves packing our bags and getting out of there I bet all the brothers were delighted peace at last
People on the trip were Sam, Tom, Anthony, Robert, Steven, Michael, Dan and Paul'
Music in Anglican Religious Communities
Early in May Martin Philip and Reginald attended a conference of Anglican religious concerned with music in their communities. It was held at Malling Abbey. There had been several conferences of this kind in the eighties. Last year they were revived on the initiative of Father Colin CSWG. Some of us had for long been associated with the Panel of Monastic Musicians, which is predominantly Roman Catholic, and it was felt that sometimes we needed to look at things more from an Anglican point of view. Seven communities were represented, and Mother Hilda, from an Orthodox community in Yorkshire, introduced us to the Byzantine tradition. Our brief this year was to share music for Marian feasts. Next year we hope to look at music for the Eucharist. Communities differ in ethos and particularly in the Daily Office they use, but we can help and encourage each other in many ways, and benefited from a lively choir practice led by Sister Rachel OHP.
Sixty white robed figures, men and women, drift into the chapel in ones and twos, make a deep bow, and settle in their places, sitting back on their heels, waiting for the office to begin. This was the impressive sight that greeted four of us - Samuel, Helen Julian, Beverley and Maximilian - in the chapel of the community of Bose, in northern Italy, in February. We were near the end of a ten day visit to Italy, meeting members of other communities.
We began in Rome, staying with the Catholic Atonement Friars. From there we visited a nearby OFM community in Frascati. As a house for those studying, it has brothers from a number of parts of the world. They made us very welcome and wanted to know more about our Anglican expression of the religious life.
The next day we spent time with the St Egidio Community. Its members maintain their own homes and jobs, but have a strong commitment to working with the needy, to daily prayerful scripture reading, and to worship together. We visited the centre where they feed more than 1000 people every day, and joined a congregation of several hundred, on a weekday, for evening prayer.
Heading north we stayed near Assisi for several days; it was a joy to reconnect with Franciscan roots, to visit familiar places or make new discoveries.
Finally we made our way to Bose, an ecumenical monastic community, thirty five years old, and growing rapidly. Their hospitality was warm and generous (especially when we got snowed in at the end of our visit and had to stay longer than planned!); their worship was simple and profound; and their personal spirituality deeply rooted in the scriptures and the monastic tradition of west and east.
We have come back with much to reflect on for the renewal of our own lives, and with the hope of continuing some of the links made.
One of the personal highlights of a recent journey to Italy, writes Helen Julian, was being able to spend time at San Damiano, the church below Assisi where Francis heard the crucifix telling him to 'go and rebuild my church', and where Clare, the first Franciscan woman, lived out her life, and died. The corner of the dormitory where she died is marked by a simple vase of flowers, and it was good simply to spend time sitting nearby, imagining myself back into that scene 750 years ago.
Poor Clares throughout the world, and all those influenced by Clare's life and spirituality, have been remembering this anniversary for the last year, since August 2003. Not mainly in public celebrations, but in seeking to build up the quality of their community life and relationships. This is a very fitting tribute to Clare. Her Rule, the first to be written by a woman for a women's community, was revolutionary in its day for its equality, for its desire to value the wisdom of all the members of the community, and for seeing the role of abbess as a servant of her sisters rather than a ruler over them.
Clare is a saint who has in many ways been rediscovered and re-evaluated in recent years. Perhaps this anniversary can be an impetus for those who already know her to take a fresh look, and those who haven't met her yet to make her acquaintance.
PIECR West Park, New York
The annual Permanent International Ecumenical Consultation of Religious (PIECR) took place this year at the monastery of the Order of the Holy Cross, West Park, New York USA, hosted by Fr Douglas Brown OHC. Joyce was one of the two delegates from the Conference of Leaders of Anglican Religious Communities in the United Kingdom, attending for the first time. There were eight participants: three Roman Catholics, from Rome and The Netherlands; three Anglicans, from UK and USA; one Coptic Orthodox from Egypt ; and one Lutheran (Methodist) from Germany. The present secretary of the Consultation is Fr Mark Francis CSV and this year's theme was 'The Consecrated Life in a Multicultural and Globalized World'.
The inspiration for the consultation dates back to about 1977 when Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, then president of the Men's Union of Superiors General and Br Michael SSF saw the need for ecumenical exchange and mutual assistance among male religious orders. After the first meeting which included both male and female religious it was agreed to broaden the membership to include other Christian denominations. In 1980 PIECR was formally constituted by the Union of Superiors General (RC men), the International Union of Superiors General (RC women) and the Advisory Council on the Relations of Bishops and Religious Communities in the Church of England. The Consultation has had wider representation in the past.
The Consultation had input from Douglas Brown on Religious Life in the Anglican Communion and from Br Don Bisson FMS on Learning Cultures in Religious Life both of which were informative and challenging. In addition to sharing in the worship of the local community and enjoying the warm hospitality and the view of the Hudson River from the refectory, on the Saturday the members went to New York City for a tour of the Episcopal Cathedral of St John the Divine and visited St Paul's Chapel and Ground Zero which was very moving.
James Anthony has returned to Rondo, Tanzania.
Andrew has returned after many years in Papua New Guinea and is now living at Glasshampton.
Roger Alexander has moved to Cambridge.
Raymond Christian, John, Lawrence and Mark Edmund are to move to Hilfield in the autumn.
Augustine Thomas is to move to Alnmouth and Oswin Paul to Birmingham.
Thomas Anthony is returning from Canada in August and is expected to go to St Petersburg in October for some months as temporary Anglican Chaplain.
Mark Edmund made his profession in First Vows on 17 July.
In America, Jean has been elected Minister Provincial of the Community of St Francis.
Kentigern John has been elected Guardian of the friary in Hamilton, New Zealand, and expects to move there in September, and Jason has begun a period of leave of absence.
Stuart has withdrawn from the Noviciate and Alistair has been released from Life Vows and membership of SSF.
Throughout 2005, the Community of St Francis
will celebrate the centenary of its founding.
A major event will be
CSF Centenary Eucharist
Saturday 26 February 2005
at Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge,
beginning at 12 noon.
Celebrant: Sister Catherine Joy CSF
Preacher: The Very Reverend Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark.
Refreshments will follow the service.
All Tertiaries and friends of the Community are warmly invited to this event.
More information will be available nearer the time.
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