Peace, Justice and Interfaith


Peace and Justice

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.

The Three Vigillers      August 31st—Sept 1st

 On August 31st Jonathan (community member) and Hilary (short term volunteer) headed off to London to be part of a multi faith prayer vigil as part of Christian Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion.

Hilary writes:   The vigil happened both on the ground in London, Manchester and Cardiff, and online so that no-one needed to be excluded. The idea was to pray as parliament reconvened that our politicians would take seriously the presentation of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, act on the promises made when they declared climate emergency, and commit to a just, green recovery. The vigil began on Monday 31st August with a multi faith service, then the vigil moved to Downing Street where the first set of people prayed and meditated through the night. The following day the rebellion began in earnest, and Christian Climate Action were joined by Rowan Williams on one of the marches to Parliament Square. What he said can be found here. https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/4-september/news/uk/lord-williams-joins-extinction-rebellion-protests-in-london

Later that day a section 14 was put in place which meant that no one was allowed to stay in Parliament Square between 7pm and 8am. After participating in the Eucharist with Christian Climate Action, Hilary and Jonathan felt it was vital to stay and pray where they were and so as the police cleared the square they remained in prayer. They were joined by Rev’d Sue Parfitt and Mark, a photographer who assumed (as did Sue, Jonathan and Hilary) that he would shortly be photographing the arrest of three priests. The group were asked to leave, then threatened with arrest, but refused to move, being certain they were doing what God was asking of them in that moment. Sometime after midnight the police came to say that for now they were not going to arrest us, but that they would not promise that things would stay that way. Compline was said, extra layers were put on and prayer continued. Sue decided the she would go home, and our photographer decided that he would stay. It was a cold night with a few interesting visitors but the prayer continued. Just before dawn, Mark and Hilary made a short expedition to St Thomas’s hospital and returned with hot tea and croissants. As the sun rose three chilly vigillers ate the best breakfast ever and said morning prayer – slightly incredulous to have challenged the powers of state and won.

Contemplative prayer as non violent direct action is a powerful thing. This is not the whole story – people continued to pray for the next 10 days both at home and on the ground, because as ex- Archbishop Rowan said – we believe this can make a difference, and that it is a difference worth making.

Rev Hilary Bond, Schools worker and Pioneer Priest for the Parish of Wareham


Interfaith

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.


Prayer at the Breaking of the Bread

“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.
– Amen”


The Revd Donald Reeves