St Francis of Assisi had an especial love and concern for those who were poor, seeing Christ in them; he himself renounced all possessions and lived without property. From its foundation as a Franciscan friary in 1921, Hilfield has been a place of welcome to those on the margins; for many years this was a place of refuge and rehabilitation for men who were ‘on the road’. The night shelter closed in 2004 but we still have a concern for those in need – particularly at this time those who are refugees, campaigning for a better welcome for them in this country and sometimes being able to offer hospitality. The Franciscan greeting, ‘Peace and all good’, expresses our desire to work for peace and reconciliation and for a more just society in our world today.
There’s a long tradition among Franciscans, going back to the time of St Francis himself, of respectful relationship and dialogue with people of other faiths. In a world in which tensions between religions are growing we seek to continue this tradition by offering hospitality to people of different faiths to explore areas of common ground and by looking for possibilities of common action over issues of peace, justice and the integrity of creation. We believe that such co-operation in no way compromises our Christian life and commitment, but rather it can be a witness to Jesus’ proclamation of the coming Kingdom of God.
“We break this bread for those who love God and seek the truth,
For those who worship in the many ways of Hinduism,
For those who follow the path of the Buddha,
For our brothers and sisters of Islam,
For the Jewish people from whom we come,
And pray that one day we may become one
We break this bread for the great green earth,
For the forests, fields and seas, for the species of plant and animal life that we are destroying,
And pray that one day, God’s original blessing will be restored
We break this bread for those who have no bread,
For the hungry, the homeless,
And all who are refugees,
And pray that one day this world may be a home to all.
And we break this bread for the broken parts of ourselves,
For our broken relationships and for the wounded child in each one of us,
And pray that one day we may find the wholeness that is of Christ.
The Revd Donald Reeves