Chapel Life at Hilfield Friary

The chapel is very important to the Hilfield Community.  This beautiful space was once a barn and the simplicity of the space is a good expression of our spiritual values. Franciscans have been praying here for 100 years.

The Franciscan brothers commit to praying five different prayer services every day: Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Holy eucharist, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer.  Other community members join in as they wish.  The community uses the Society of St. Francis’ The Daily Office prayer book based on the Church of England Common Worship but with Franciscan prayers and devotions added.  The only service the whole community is expected to attend is the Sunday morning Holy Eucharist.

In addition to the prayer services, many community members gather early in the morning for a half hour of meditation.

We cherish this atmosphere of prayer and spirituality.  Our Christian and Franciscan tradition is referred to in our community discussions and discernment of decisions we need to make.  Our spirituality influences how we garden and farm, the way we shop and cook, the kind of welcome we offer to guests, and our ways of exercising leadership in the community.

The spirituality of the Hilfield Community is best summed up in our vision statement, that we are a rooted Christian family.  We are rooted in the land, following Christ after the example of St. Francis and live as a family.

The 13 Century Franciscan teacher and theologian St. Bonaventure elaborated Francis’ perspective with the insight that creation “explodes” into a thousand forms and sharing in the word made flesh.  He said when the Word (Logos) was spoken creation showed the glory of God and therefore every creature is a little “word”. 

Another Franciscan theologian, John Duns Scotus (14 Century), said that Sun, moon, stars, trees, animals all have life only in Christ, through Christ and with Christ. He said all creation is to be transformed into communion of love centered in Christ.

At Hilfield we are standing with many modern theologians in profound continuity with Franciscan thinking and teaching over the past 800 years. Caring for creation is caring for the marginalized of the world and all species.  Care for creation is proclaiming that love will always win.

For more information about the Anglican Brothers of the Society of St Francis and the Anglican Sisters of the Community of St Francis please visit:  www.franciscans.org.uk

This is the prayer St Francis said when he entered a church:

‘We adore you most holy Lord Jesus Christ, here, and in all your churches throughout the world, and we bless you because, by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.’

The Hilfield Community has Jesus Christ at its heart and, following the example of St Francis, the ‘little poor man’ of Assisi, who saw the love of God in those he met and in the world around him.  We seek to:

  • Live in simplicity, humility and peace with each other
  • Welcome others who come to visit us, especially the marginal and the stranger
  • Have care for and delight in our environment
  • Work for justice and peace in our world
  • Witness to the abundant generosity of God in our life together
  • Share the vision of living peacefully and sustainably in our world
  • Join in the song of all creation in praise and thanksgiving

Laudate Dominum, Laudate Dominum,
All of creation sing Alleluia
Laudate Dominum, Laudate Dominum,
All in the Friary sing Alleluia

1    Alleluia, Alleluia
Let moths and red admirals sing praise to the Lord
Alleluia, Alleluia
Let moths and red admirals sing praise to the Lord.

2   Alleluia, Alleluia
Let all of our garden sing praise to the Lord
Alleluia, Alleluia
Let apples and raspb’rries sing praise to the Lord.

3   Alleluia, Alleluia
Let spuds and tomatoes sing praise to the Lord
Alleluia, Alleluia
Let beans and zucchini sing praise to the Lord.

4   Alleluia, Alleluia
Let owls and house martins sing praise to the Lord
Alleluia, Alleluia
Let wrens and woodpeckers sing praise to the Lord.

5   Alleluia, Alleluia
Poll Dorsets and Shetlands sing praise to the Lord
Alleluia, Alleluia
Let cats, pigs and chickens sing praise to the Lord.

6   Alleluia, Alleluia
Let pyramid orchids sing praise to the Lord
Alleluia, Alleluia
Dormice in our hedgerows sign praise to the Lord.

7   Alleluia, Alleluia
Community members sing praise to the Lord
Alleluia, Alleluia
Let friends of the Friary sing praise to the Lord.

A variation on Laudate Dominum with apologies to The Taize community.  The verses can be sung over the chorus.

Hugh SSF 2020

The spirituality of St Francis that inspires our life in community is centred around devotion to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who ‘though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.’ Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians. If this is what God, the source and giver of all is like, then true richness of life is to be found in an ‘economy of gift’.  Also in forgiveness and non-possessiveness, and in simple hospitality towards each other and the stranger. 

Community life is a school for learning this wisdom. As with all beginners we often learn through getting it wrong!

At the Friary we try to value the mundane, ordinary things of life, and find a balance between manual work, social engagement, rest and recreation.

Everyone plays some part in the daily tasks of the Community such as work in the garden or on the land, cleaning and maintaining the buildings, baking bread and preparing meals, sharing in the administration and offering hospitality to guests and visitors.  All these things are related to the rhythm of daily prayer and worship in the Chapel, through which we are renewed in the life of Gospel and making for an integrated ecology which is spiritual, social and environmental.

The Society of St Francis, of which the Friary at Hilfield is a part, is an Anglican religious order and as such is grounded in the spirituality, practice and prayer of the Church of England.  However, the members of the Hilfield Community come from a number of different Christian communions and we value their particular contributions. There is a deeply ecumenical spirit about the life and, while we remain clearly within the Christian family, we are glad to engage with and learn from those of other religious, or non religious traditions who come to visit us.

Here are two prayers from Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, or letter, to the peoples of the earth on care for our common home.

A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

A Christian prayer in union with creation
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!

Hilfield Friary is part of the Society of St Francis, a worldwide Anglican

Religious Order.  Visit their website:  https://www.franciscans.org.uk/

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