National Elective Chapter 2015

The National Elective Chapter was held at the weekend at the Oblate Retreat Centre at Crewe.

The newly elected national executive is:

Minister: Paula Pearce ofs, Vice Minister: Andrea Hambleton ofs, Secretary: Pamela Thornton ofs, Treasurer: Michael Martin ofs, Formation: John Power ofs, Presence in the World: Debbie Bool ofs, Youth: Christine Frendo ofs, Additional Councillor: Roger Yelland ofs.

We will all, surely, wish to give thanks and gratitude to those who served as the national executive from 2012 to 2015:

Minister: Paula Pearce ofs, Vice Minister: Helen MacGilp ofs, Secretary: Salvina Bartholomeusz ofs, Treasurer: Roger Yelland ofs, Formation: John Power ofs, Presence in the World: Dorothy Harte ofs, Youth: Catherine Orobator ofs.

And we give thanks and express our gratitude to all members who work together to build ofsgb, to build rich fraternal bonds, to build our franciscan family: all members of the national council, those members not on the national executive or council but who work closely with us, all regional councils, all fraternity councils, and all fraternity members. Each of us is vitally important to ofsgb. Without your love, your commitment to fraternity, your support, your help and your guidance the national executive could do nothing.

May we seek to bring our Franciscan spirit into every situation we face and witness. May we all be life-giving resources, faithful to our Franciscan spirit, celebrating contemporary Franciscan life, as we work to build the Civilisation of Love (The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: published in 2004 by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the request of Pope John Paul II. See especially sections 204ff, and 575ff).

Further details and updates from the Chapter will follow.

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September 2015: Season of Caring for Creation

Dorothy Harte, our national Presence in the World minister offers us these reflections on a “Season of Caring for Creation” , that cover the five weeks leading up to the Feast of St Francis. The material comes from Carolyn D. Townes who is the JPIC animator for the OFS national fraternity in the USA.
Pope Francis says: “Our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.” In Laudato Si he calls us to an “integral ecology”, he invites us to revisit the integral connection between Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.

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On Using This Website

Please see first, and above all, Paula’s post yesterday: “Launch of the new Website”. Then read on:

NOTE: that all words that appear below in red are “clickable links” that take us directly to the relevant page of the website.

The nine principal pages are complete: see Home, Spirituality, Join Us, OFSGB, Formation, Mission, Youth, Prayer and Places. They are complete for now, but they will, no doubt, change over time.
Under these banner headings you will find many pages that have headings, but, as yet, no text. These pages will be completed as we go along. The site is unlikely to come to maturity for six months, or even longer. Return often to the site. Share in it’s development.

The Other “Banner” headings are: Updates and Gallery.
Updates : our “Blog” posts will appear here.
Subscribe: we hope that you will subscribe to receive notification of the posts by EMail (via the Sidebar: Subscribe via Email). It would be good if members of regional and fraternity councils could encourage other members to subscribe, and would mention the subscription facility to any new visitors that appear at meetings.
Comments: are welcomed from members on these posts: see, for example, the posts “Launch of new Website” and “Migrants and Refugees” both of which have several comments.
Categories (see Sidebar): Posts are “filed” by Category. If you wish to see all posts in a certain category please click on the title of the Category. Posts are also “Tagged” which enables them to be “picked up” more readily by internet search engines such as Google.
Archives (see Sidebar): Posts are also “filed” by Month. If you wish to see all posts in a certain month please click on the relevant month.

Gallery: we have made a start and uploaded some albums. Others will follow. Some initial photos have been added to a “Scotland” album. It would be good to develop an album for each region. We also have a Flickr account for albums (but nothing has been added to this yet).
Images may also appear in the “Home Page Slider”. Eventually we might have up to thirty or even forty images here. If you wish to view the Home Page Slider images conveniently in one place, please go to the Sidebar – from any principal page, scroll down to Categories and click on “Home Page Images”

The Prayer Requests facility: is fully functioning. It can be accessed from the Sidebar or from [Prayer / Prayer Requests]. Please also “click” to indicate that you are praying for the various other prayer requests that others have made.

Diary [ofsgb / Diary]: is working and regional diary entries are beginning to be posted.
Please see the notes that appear at the top of the diary page: “Hover” your mouse (or other pointing device) over an event to quickly see a summary of the event. For full details click on the event and you will be taken to a detailed event page (which may, in some cases, include a pdf document). You will find an alternative view of all events in date order by clicking “here” in the Diary page.

Using pdf’s: for example at Newsletters [ofsgb / Regions] , and at [Formation / Initial Formation / Enquirer]. You may read the pdf’s as displayed, using the scroll bar to the right hand side to scroll down the pages. Hover your pointing devise over the top right hand side of the pdf and two things will appear: a “Zoom In” to enable you to enlarge the type for easier reading; and a “Pop Out” which displays the pdf full size in another window.

New Newsletters: please send copies of new newsletters to rogerofs@gmail.com and they will be included on this website. We already have a good archive of newsletters which will be uploaded very soon.

Regional Information: would the regional website contacts please help us to keep up to date the regional information at [Join Us, Regions and Contacts] and at [ofsgb, Regions, London etc].

Formation: The Enquiry stage material has been included at [Formation / Initial Formation / Enquirer]. Further material will be added as it becomes available.

Mission: is our Presence in the World (JPIC) area.

Youth: a report will follow very soon from the OFSGB team who were at the 2nd European OFS-YouFra Congress in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina from 17th to 23rd August 2015. Some images from this event can be seen at [Gallery / Mostar 2015]. More images will be added.

Really Useful Links [Spirituality / Really Useful Links]: This page will include many Useful Franciscan links. It will (Deo Volente) be updated frequently. If you have links you think should be included here please send them to rogerofs@gmail.com.

Professions [ofsgb / The National Council / Professions]: Regular listings of newly professed members will appear here. Would fraternities please send information to your Regional Secretary, so that this may be passed on to the National Secretary, and so to the website.

Candidates [ofsgb / The National Council / Candidates]: Regular listings of our candidates will appear here. Would fraternities please send information to your Regional Secretary, so that this may be passed on to the National Secretary, and so to the website.

Requiescant in Pace [Prayer / Requiescant in Pace] : Here we acknowledge those members of the Secular Franciscan Order of Great Britain who have gone to their eternal reward. Would fraternities please send information to your Regional Secretary, so that this may be passed on to the National Secretary, and so to the website. Simple information is fine, but brief “obituary” style details would be good.

Type Size: you may adjust the size of the type on this site: see the three capital A’s at the top of the Sidebar.

Technology: The site has been optimised for use on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, and will be ongoingly optimised for internet search engines.

Feedback: Let us know what you think! Send me a mail at rogerofs@gmail.com, or get in touch with the website contact for your region. With your help and feedback we will keep working on improvements, on ways to make this site even better for us all.

May this website, as Paula says, “become a life-giving resource, faithful to the Franciscan spirit”, celebrating contemporary Franciscan life. May it be an effective working tool for us as we seek to bring our Franciscan spirit into every situation we face and witness. And may you all have a Blessed Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis.

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Launch of the new Website

A few thoughts from the National Minister on the occasion of the launch of the new website (13/09/2015).
The new website of the Secular Franciscan Order of Great Britain, OFSGB, is officially launched today. It is the fruit of much labour and toil and my deepest thanks go to so many members of our Order and the other behind the scenes helpers.
The initiative came from the National Council. Many individuals had taken on the task over the past years and their efforts are not forgotten. Our existing website needed a lot of change if it was going to reflect what the National Council was looking for. The underlying quest was for a user-friendly, public website that could display the different hues that make up OFSGB. We have a small dedicated team who have worked hard to set up this site but its success will depend on people updating, editing, reflecting and using the website.
By chance, not design, the launch is at the beginning of the week in which Franciscans celebrate the Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis, on 17th September. This mysterious event is recorded in the early Franciscan sources. In one of these, the first Life of St Francis that was written by Thomas of Celano shortly after the death of the saint, we read that after this episode, Francis, terribly ill throughout his body:
“Burned with a great desire to return to his earliest steps towards humility; rejoicing in hope because of his boundless love, he planned to call his body back to its original servitude, although it had now reached its limit….He used to say: ‘Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing.’” (Thomas of Celano, The Life of St Francis, 103). Celano goes on to say that he desired to serve lepers again and, at the same time, he sought to find time to spend alone with God.
We launch the new website as a new beginning, another way of serving the Lord God and we do this in a spirit of prayer and community.
The unique nature of our international secular Order and the all-embracing character of our founder, Francis of Assisi, mean that our Order accommodates diverse members, worldwide. At the heart I offer two challenging principles from our way of life:
1. Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the Gospel, going from Gospel to Life and Life to the Gospel.
2. Let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all they are and do.
The way of life guides and challenges members but it also unites members, wherever they are called to be in their everyday life. Members are immersed in every aspect of life, are scattered throughout the world and are seeking to bring their Franciscan spirit into every situation they face and witness. Prayer, awareness of the presence of God and trust in His love and grace give life and strength.
The website already witnesses to the variety of ways members take on and live out their mission. It is hoped that it will become a life-giving resource, faithful to the Franciscan spirit. We want visitors to the site to learn about contemporary Franciscan life and, for those who wish, to learn more about the Franciscan heritage we are built upon and want to carry forward.
The website is very much at its beginning and there is much material waiting for various members to have the time to add and edit. We hope there is much more out there to look forward to.
Paula ofs.

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Migrants and Refugees

Dorothy Harte, our national Presence in the World minister has emailed from Florence suggesting some key current Presence in the World links: Calaid and Seeking Sanctuary for any one wanting to help the Calais migrants, Cafod for the Syrian camps, as well as Franciscans international and Caritas Europa for them all. The UK migrants bishop Patrick Lynch is suggesting most of these too. The pope seems to be liasing with Cardinal Schönborn who is helping in Austria but there is no specific site for that yet.

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And many of you may have noticed on facebook that OFSGB is @ work for Syrian refugees! Our Gibraltar fraternity have been very busy this week collecting supplies and filling many boxes for these refugees.

Is your fraternity actively engaged in Presence in the World projects? Let us have your stories: add a comment to this post, or mail info@ofsgb.org

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