Around the Regions September 2018

If regions would send us information about their activities and events they can be included in a monthly “Around the Regions” post. Please contact info@ofsgb.org

National Elective Chapter
Later today (Friday, 14th September) our National Elective Chapter will begin at the High Leigh Conference Centre in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. The Chapter will last until Sunday afternoon, and a new National Executive will be elected by the delegates who will come from each region in the UK. Please pray for discernment so that the delegates choose wisely an executive to serve the order in this country for the period to 2021.

3rd European OFS and YouFra Congress
The 3rd European OFS and YouFra Congress took place in Kaunas, Lithuania between 20 to 26 August 2018. There was a substantial delegation from this country. I am told that it was an inspiring event, and I understand that a report will follow here shortly.

Southern Region: Wintershall
In August, Southern region held a celebration “Loving God’s Creation” at Wintershall, near Guildford, Surrey. The event was open to members from other regions, though none attended.
This is the summary of the day.

We have another opportunity to join the Southern region in November at the Park Place Pastoral Centre near Fareham, Hants for a weekend retreat “Be Still and Know”. Events such as these offer valuable opportunities for affirming, supporting and encouraging one another on our Franciscan journey, for an enriching inter-regional fraternal exchange of views and for exploring the Franciscan way forward in unity and friendship. They can be inspirational. See the diary entry for the Park Place Pastoral Centre retreat here.

Other Upcoming Events
The autumn Arkley Day of Recollection on Sunday 7th October will be led by Fr Jesmond Pawley ofm Conv. These Arkley Days of Recollection are generally well supported by members from the London and the East Anglian regions. They are open to all, and so may well interest members from other regions: the South East and Southern regions in particular. It would also be convenient for members of the Oxford fraternity. If you are interested please do notify Ursula Mott: details on the flyer to be found at the above link.

The Franciscan Action Network have been active in the USA for some years. They are now considering a launch in the UK, and have convened a meeting on Thursday 25th October in Bishopsgate, London, at the very interesting St Ethelburga’s Church. This should be of interest to those active in Presence of the World / JPIC, and those wishing to become more active.

Requiescant in Pace

Celia Brigstocke
We have been told that on Thursday 16th August 2018 Celia Brigstocke, niece to John Bradburne, and secretary of the John Bradburne Memorial Society, passed away at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. She had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a couple of months previously and after 72 hours of fighting she died with her family around her. She was the most caring mother of the three daughters, Tim, her husband has lost his best friend of fifty years and the seven grandchildren will miss their wonderful granny so much. The funeral was held on Monday 10th September 2018 at St Joseph Church, Milford, Surrey. Should any member or fraternity wish to make a donation to the work of the JBMS, please go here.

London Region: Maria Hilton & Kathleen Crowe
Both Maria Hilton (Stratford Fraternity), and Kathleen Crowe (Arkley Fraternity) have died recently. Maria’s funeral was held at St Francis, Stratford earlier this week, and the requiem for Kathleen is planned to take place at St Joseph’s Church, Highgate on Thursday 27th September. More details on both Maria and Kathleen will appear soon on our Requiescant in Pace page.

And Finally ….
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years”. The following action has been taken, and we believe that this website is now fully, or substantially, GDPR compliant. I understand that the new National Executive will appoint a Data Protection Officer, and that person will, no doubt, wish to review all this.

Privacy Policy
Our Privacy Policy may be found here. It surely needs to be refined. It will be updated as and when necessary.

Cookie Banner
The cookie banner is in place and should be fully GDPR compliant. It will be seen each time the website is accessed.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)
When transmitting data from our website, it is our responsibility to send it securely, or so James, our technical wizard, tells me. The site has always been https secure. However, James has implemented a code on the server to divert users to the https version on 99% of the site (we cannot control outside links to images etc). This should also help with SEO (especially Google) and site speed.

Email Subscriptions
We understand that we are not required to send an Opt-in email as our system has always had an Opt-in requirement on sign-up, and recorded the person doing so. James has altered the email content the users receive, giving the URL to the privacy policy of this site. This text now reads:

” Howdy. You recently followed this blog’s posts. This means you will receive each new post by email. To activate, click confirm below. If you believe this is an error, ignore this message and we’ll never bother you again. By confirming below I accept the terms and conditions found here: https://ofsgb.org/privacy-policy/

I consent ofsgb.org to use the information submitted to provide me with marketing communications and information relating to the business. Your data can be deleted at anytime by request and you can unsubscribe from any mailings immediately. ”

We will, no doubt, wish to refine this text rather more, and certainly to replace the standard WordPress “Howdy” with something rather more English. We progress?

Read More

Around the Regions March 2017


Here we highlight some national events, and initiatives from various regions.

The programme for the National Assembly to be held in Gibraltar in April is now available. We are delighted that every region is represented. There may still be places available should others wish to attend. It seems that the Extra Costs will now be only £40, and not £110 as originally expected. This is to help meet the costs of the Speaker and Spiritual Assistants and the catering for the weekend. We believe that the Gibraltar Fraternity will revitalise everyone who comes. We know they have devoted a huge amount of time and energy to make this unique experience uplifting and successful.

And in September Paula Pearce will lead a Living in Faith in Daily Life weekend retreat at Pantasaph Friary. Details may be found here.

Formation: We hope you are making good use of the excellent formation material that our national formation minister, John Power, has provided. John is also now working on material for Ongoing Formation.

South Wales and South West region have an interesting programme of events for 2017, and perhaps members from other regions might like to join them. Many from other regions will recall that in 2016 South Wales and South West offered the excellent “The Holy Year of Mercy and our Franciscan Response” weekend in Cardiff.

London Region have a Youfra initiative with an event in April: Working together to build Peace in our families, schools, colleges, universities, workplaces, our nation, our world…..and ourselves. See the hurt of the world and want to respond in the way of Peace, Joy, Hope, Love, Good….? There are many ways to be involved: pray for this initiative; publicise it; support one-off events; or join us in our year of monthly meetings/activities, growing together as we explore our Christian life in the Franciscan spirit.
Come and See: Friday 28th April 2017, 6.30pm-8pm Our Lady of the Rosary Church Hall, Brixton.
Get in touch and keep in touch: Facebook: Franciscan Youth UK
and on Twitter: @YouFraLondon
Email – YouFraLondon@aol.co.uk
If young people from other OFSGB regions want to make contact for resources etc, please get in touch.

The latest Southern Region newsletter “Viewpoint” is just in. There is much interesting material in the newsletters that the various regions provide.

East Anglian Region are drawing our attention to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales initiative referred to as the Holy Land Co-ordination.
After a recent visit the CBCEW say that “In 2017 we see a land of tension and division, walls and suspicion.” They invite us to “Take Action”, one suggestion being contact with our MP’s. David Gleave of East Anglian region says: “They have provided a pro-forma letter, so it is quite easy to share their message with your MP – all you have to do is provide your name and address.”
Since 1998, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has organised an annual meeting of the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land. Mandated by the Holy See, an international delegation of bishops meets in the region every January to act in solidarity with the Christian communities there and to share in the pastoral life of the local Church as it experiences extreme political and social-economic pressure.

And we have details of the East Anglian regional election last weekend: here, and also here.

Our North East Region are energetically drawing our attention to a charity ride in memory of the much loved Michael Almond, of the Leeds fraternity, who died last year.

South East Region have details of the funeral arrangements for Declan Walsh ofs, dearly missed Minister of the Croydon fraternity. The Requiem will take place on Friday 31 March 2017 at Our Lady of the Rosary, 2 St Barnabas Road, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 4NL at 10.00 hrs. Followed by burial at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Warlingham, and a reception at The Horseshoe Pub, Warlingham. The region are suggesting donations to the OFS Barton project instead of flowers.

A further update may follow with news from Scotland, the North West Region, and the Midland Region.

Read More

The Trump Travel Ban and the challenge of the UK Community Sponsorship Scheme

Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon.” (OFS Rule, Art. 19)

 
As you will know US President Donald Trump recently issued an Executive Order banning travel to the USA from seven Muslim-majority countries. Enforcement of this order has been suspended since a federal district judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order against it. That injunction was upheld by the ninth circuit court of appeals in a 9 February ruling.
Now, according to various news sources, such as Reuters and The Wall Street Journal, President Trump plans to rescind his executive order and replace it with a new one. “Rather than continuing this litigation, the President intends in the near future to rescind the Order and replace it with a new, substantially revised Executive Order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns,” the justice department writes in a brief to the ninth circuit court of appeals. A draft of President Donald Trump’s revised immigration ban targets the same seven countries listed in his original executive order (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya), and exempts travelers who already have a visa to travel to the U.S., even if they haven’t used it yet.
 
It is good to see the Franciscans of the United States have taken a stand on this issue in prayer for and solidarity with our refugee and immigrant brothers and sisters. The Franciscan Friars of the United States have issued this statement signed by the Provincials of the seven OFM provinces in the USA. And Carolyn Townes, the OFS National Animator for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) in the United States has said that “The U.S. Seculars will stand with and support our brother Friars as well as our Bishops.” She says: “Let us come together in prayer and solidarity for our refugee and immigrant brothers and sisters!” And she offers this “Prayer for Migrants” from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Merciful and loving Father,
We beseech you, open our hearts so that we may provide hospitality and refuge to migrants who are lonely, afraid, and far from their homes. Give us the courage to welcome every stranger as Christ in our midst, to invite them into our communities as a demonstration of Christ’s love for us. We pray that when we encounter the other, we see in her the face of your Son, when we meet a stranger, that we take his hand in welcome. Help us to live in solidarity with one another, to seek justice for those who are persecuted and comfort for those who are suffering. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  (The Prayer for Migrants, USCCB)

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website also has these reflections on Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration.
 
May we in the Secular Franciscan Order in Great Britain stand together with our sisters and brothers in the USA. And may we, as communities, respond to the challenge of the UK Community Sponsorship Scheme that Cardinal Vincent Nichols outlined to us when he spoke recently on the BBC Radio 4 Westminster Hour. The Cardinal spoke about President Trump’s executive order, and he also spoke in praise of the The UK Community Sponsorship Scheme, a UK government-backed initiative that enables community groups – including the Catholic Church, its agencies and charities – to take on the role of welcoming and supporting resettled refugees in the UK.

trump-catholicherald

In the interview, the Cardinal explained that safety ‘is not secured by fear, it is secured by improving relationships…by opening up things not shutting them down.’ He also expressed concern that the executive order ‘increases the risk faced by Christian communities in the Middle East because it implicitly backs a false notion that this conflict is between Christians and Muslims. It increases the image of Christianity as a Western phenomenon.’
Reflecting on political leaders’ duty of care, Cardinal Vincent emphasised that this is ‘a question of how you exercise that duty’. The Cardinal expressed his concern that the executive order would not help. ‘Safety can never be the overall and ultimate aim, because if we try and live safely by simplifying, identifying others as our enemies, then we live in an increasingly enclosed mentality and an enclosed environment and that is not the best way for people to live.’

Speaking then in praise and encouragement of the The UK Community Sponsorship Scheme he said ‘The challenge is not only to the government, but to the communities in this country who often speak about their generosity, to really take up this opportunity. Then, I would hope, that programme can be speeded up and expanded.’

Cardinal Vincent acknowledged the difficulty in making decisions regarding acceptance of more refugees, but emphasised that ‘the intention that we play a concerted effort to solve this dramatic crisis of our time is very important because otherwise it is the extreme voices that win, whether they’re the extreme terrorist voices or the populist voices. I don’t believe that any form of leadership is best exercised by using fear.’
The full BBC Radio 4 Westminster Hour interview is available to listen to here.

Do let us know of any initiatives drawn from the Community Sponsorship Scheme (or similar projects) that your fraternities, your regions or your parishes are engaging in or planning to engage in. An excellent Presence in the World project.

Read More