Within a few
months it became clear that the ministry of the brothers was welcome in
wartime Cambridge - a large congregation attended the Sung Eucharist in the
church of St Edward, King and Martyr (kindly lent by its chaplain), and at
the house the Sunday afternoon gathering attracted upwards of fifty people.
In 1945, the
year which saw the end of the war, Denis became priest in charge of St
Bene't's - about 100 yards from St Edward's - and the next year, vicar.
However, his presence was needed at the friary in Dorset in 1948 and he was
replaced by Lothian whose name is linked with St Bene't's by generations of
those who loved and valued his ministry.
who should be mentioned in this brief survey are Barnabas, SSF's claim to
fame in the academic world, who taught for many years in the Divinity
Faculty before migrating to Manchester where he held the John Rylands chair;
Michael, that pied piper of the student world whose travels often took him
away but whose ordination followed studies at Westcott House and led
eventually to five years in Cornwall as Bishop of St Germans.
In 1985 he 'retired' to the Cambridge Friary to be
Minister General - but not to Lady Margaret Road, for in 1967 the lease on
that property expired, and the friars moved from premises big enough to be
shared with some homeless men to the cramped quarters of 15, Botolph Lane -
three bedsits, kitchen, common room, bathroom, and two tiny guest rooms.
Another brother who should be mentioned is Edgar, who became the first
chaplain of the Arthur Rank Hospice for the dying, and whose caring ministry
is frequently mentioned even 20 years after he left Cambridge.
Lothian died after only three years as vicar and was
succeeded by Brother Martin, who was vicar from 1971 until 1985, when he
moved to Scunthorpe, though he returned to Cambridge in 1997, and is now
priest-in-charge of St. Clement's church. Thomas Anthony became the parish
priest of St. Bene't's in 1985, and Anselm in 1992, followed by Samuel in
Since the Community began its work in Cambridge many
brothers have shared in the ministry for varying periods of time.
Individual brothers have made differing contributions, according to their
own abilities. Some have been involved in the University, both in pastoral
and academic roles. Some have been involved in the work of the Cambridge
Cyrenians amongst homeless people. In more recent times there has also been
involvement in the chaplaincy team working amongst asylum seekers at the
detention centre at Oakington. Many homeless people come to the Friary door
for tea and sandwiches, and others also with needs which the brothers try to
Central to all this work the brothers maintained the
regular round of prayer and praise, with the daily Eucharist and Evening
Prayer at St. Bene't's, and the other offices in the small chapel within the
Over the years the Cambridge Friary
has helped to make the Community known to large numbers of University
students and residents of the city. Several Tertiaries and Companions are
among the congregation of St. Bene't's, and it is hoped that the church will
continue its Franciscan ethos under new leadership.
The brothers wish to thank all who
have supported them and who have helped to make their life so abundantly
fruitful and happy.