Southern Region Celebration – Saturday 10th August 2019

Southern Region Celebration

Francis and Sultan Malik al-Kamil

on Saturday 10th August 2019

What can we learn from their meeting in 1219?

On Saturday 10th August 2019, the Southern Region held an event at Holly Barn on the Wintershall Estate to commemorate and celebrate the 800th meeting of St. Francis and Malik al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt, during the 5th Crusade.

The day was led by Kathy Maskens, National Vice-Minister, and was attended by 36 people, who braved extreme weather conditions to participate in this day of reflection in the heart of the beautiful Surrey countryside.

During the morning session, Kathy introduced and showed the film ‘The Sultan and the Saint’ and we discussed our immediate responses to the film before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon, we broke into small groups to discuss the what we could learn from that historic meeting for the world we live in today, a world still sadly riven with conflict and violence. There was then a plenary session followed by a closing ceremony which included readings and reflections from the faith traditions of Islam and Christianity. We were invited to reflect on what we had experienced during the day and make a personal commitment to do something that would take us further along the path of justice, peace and understanding of people of other faiths.

The following is a sample of feedback from our discussion groups at the plenary session about what was learned from the film for the world we live in today: –

• to listen, learn and treasure, and respect other faiths
• to find the goodness in people despite their sinfulness (failings)
• to look beyond the externals to the inner person where God dwells.
• to be open…..make the first move, speak out, listen, love, care and be prepared to suffer
• Francis and the Sultan had so much in common – their spirituality, humanity and compassion
• Christians and Muslims can live in peace – and they do
• people can so easily be dehumanised
• we were taught in school (Catholic) that the Crusades were a good thing
• Francis was influenced by the Muslim prayer life.
• the universality of God overarching both traditions, and Francis and the Sultan had great trust in God and each other
• even in the culture of war, both men were prepared to learn from each other, and took huge risks for the sake of peace
• the influence of mothers and respect for each other`s faith
• for us today – try to look at both sides of an argument – empathise with the other. Understanding mercy rather than judgement. It starts with us – to take responsibility for our choices and actions
• to meditate on the 99 names of God is a means of transformation
• the love and forgiveness that the Sultan showed to the Crusaders
• Francis and the Sultan were brothers

 

Kathy Maskens OFS discussing the meeting of St. Francis and Malik al-Kamil
Detail from closing ceremony showing the Holy Bible and Holy Koran on prayer matt

 

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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?

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Around the Regions July 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

Southern Region

Southern region are inviting members of other regions to two events (see pdf’s below): a celebration “Loving God’s Creation” to be held at Wintershall, near Guildford, Surrey on 11th August. The day will be led by Dr Martin and Rev Margot Hodson. Martin Hodson is a plant scientist and environmental biologist.  He is Principal Tutor of Christian Rural and Environmental Studies and has written numerous books, including several with his wife Margot (an Anglican Rector), for example `Cherishing the Earth` and `A Christian Guide to Environmental Issues.` For more information about them see their website.

Then, in November, the Ladywell fraternity is inviting members of other Franciscan fraternities and ALL those with a `Franciscan heart` to join them at Park Place Pastoral Centre near Fareham, Hants for a weekend retreat “Be Still and Know”.

Remembering that the South Wales and South West weekend event in Cardiff in 2016 on the theme of “The Holy Year of Mercy and our Franciscan Response” was attended by members from six of our nine regions, and by members of TSSF, it is hoped that we may again have a good response from our regions.

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.

Please also see the diary entries for the Wintershall event and for the Park Place Pastoral Centre retreat.

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East Anglian Region
Our brother, Donald Jones, who has been a loyal, joyful, happy member of Bedford Gospel-to-Life fraternity for over 40 years, died peacefully on 3rd July , having been attended by Canon John Koenig from St. Edwards, Kettering.

His funeral will take place at St. Edwards Church, 2 the Grove, Kettering, NN15 7QQ on WEDNESDAY 25TH JULY 2018.

 

Gibraltar: Anthem for the Third OFS – Youfra Congress in Kaunus, Lithuania.
Congratulations to Victor Francis and the Gibraltar fraternity. As some of you will know they have won the competition for the composition of the Anthem for the upcoming OFS – Youfra Congress in Lithuania from 20th to 26th August. Victor’s piece is called “Rivers of Living Water” and you can hear it here.

And Finally ….
The National Council photographed last month (June) at the new National Seat at Arkley….

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Around the Regions March / April 2018

Please send us your items for inclusion in “Around the Regions”. These could be posted monthly.

Follow these links for Spring newsletters from the East Anglian and Southern regions, and, “hot off the press” today, Midland Franciscan. Newsletters are also available from the South East Region. So plenty of reading material.
There are upcoming events at Arkley on Sunday 6th May, and at St Mary’s University, Twickenham on Saturday 12th May.

 

We celebrate a profession in the Oxford fraternity:

Saturday 17th March 2018
Eamonn McNamara, a member of the Oxford fraternity made his profession in the chapel at Greyfriars, Oxford. Eamonn is the one in a white shirt of this photo. A joyous addition to the Fraternity and to the Franciscan family.
We give thanks to the Father for the gift of this profession which enriches the whole community of the Secular Franciscan Order in Great Britain. May we be united with Eamonn in prayer as he continues his Franciscan journey. May the fraternal bonds of community always be our help.

* *

And we remember our sister Rosalie Temple, of the Cambridge  ‘Our Lady of the Poor’ fraternity. Here follows two reflections on her life: from Michael Simmonds of the Bedford Fraternity, and from Chris Whittam of the Cambridge fraternity.

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OBITUARY – SISTER ROSALIE TEMPLE
Following a number of admissions to hospital, and then discharge to her home in Lilford, near Oundle, where she had her friends Maureen and Ann take turns in caring for her, Sr. Rosalie Temple died in the early hours of Monday 12 March 2018. She had been visited by Trudie Warner, the vice-minister of the Cambridge Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order Sr. Rosalie belonged to, on the Saturday just before her unexpected death; she had been sitting out in a chair, talkative but also tired.
Sr. Rosalie was born on 23 June 1926, in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, so would have been 92 years old this June. She was the oldest of four siblings, with two younger sisters and a brother; later there were also a half-sister and half-brother in the family. She sometimes spoke about her childhood, but more often talked about events and concerns of later life. As a young adult she had a family of her own, with two sons to care for, and it was not until they were grown up and independent that she was able to ‘leave the world’ and pursue her religious vocation.
She came to Oundle in 1970, and was professed into the Gospel way of life in the Secular Franciscan Order in 1973. For many years she lived as a Franciscan hermit, as she described her vocation, and although this meant living a simple and prayerful life at her home in Lilford, she was also active in the local community, always responsive to those in need of help or assistance, and with a joyful witness to her faith to all she met. She was active too in helping those in need in Europe, taking part in aid missions to Romania, and helping in Bosnia – Herzegovina, and other places. She was involved in the Miracles Centre in Mostar, a charity for people injured by landmines after the conflict in that country. She was a frequent visitor to Medugorge, and enthusiastic about the apparitions of Our Lady, and the spiritual blessings gained from pilgrimage and being there.
Sr. Rosalie received spiritual direction from a number of priests, over the years, at Mount St. Bernard Abbey, Leicestershire. She came to Cambridge each month for the meetings of the Cambridge Fraternity, named ‘Our Lady of the Poor’ in 2011 after a unanimous vote accepted her suggestion of this name . Devoted to Our Lady, Sister Rosalie also revered St. Michael the Archangel, her house being named ‘St. Michael’. She engaged in spiritual warfare against “mickey mouse”, her term for the powers of evil; she was sought out by many for blessings and prayers for healing.
Dressed in her brown Franciscan habit and with a joyful and chuckling laugh Sr. Rosalie bore great witness to the love of God in her daily life. She would frequently smile and say “God bless you” in a unique and uplifting way.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen
Chris Whittam – Cambridge ‘Our Lady of the Poor’ Fraternity

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