The OFS, or Secular Franciscan Order, consists of Catholic men and women inspired in their faith lives by St. Francis of Assisi. The annual OFS Southern Region celebration described here took place in August at Holy Barn, in the Wintershall Estate, and was attended by some members of the Guildford Parish, as well as representatives of four local charities.
OFS Southern Region Franciscan Celebration
held on Saturday August 12th 2017 at Holly Barn, Wintershall Estate, Bramley, Surrey
For the third successive year, the OFS Southern Region held their ‘Franciscan Celebration’ at Holly Barn. The theme this year was ‘Called to Be Presence in the World’ and around sixty people gathered here for the day including our National Minister, Paula Pearce, together with members of the OFS, FMDM, TSSF and visitors with a ‘Franciscan heart’.
Betsy Hart, Regional Minister, welcomed everyone and then introduced the Theme of the Day. The main speaker was Rob Hardie, OFS East Anglia. He began his talk with the message that God has His own plan for each and every one of us. Many suggestions had been made to Rob by fellow Secular Franciscan on how they might show their ‘Presence in the World’.
How do WE show our Presence in the world? This question is for us to discern........
Rob gave a practical demonstration of a simple water purifier pump. It was amazing to see that with the tea and coffee dregs collected + rubbish and dirty water, that this simple pump was able to filter out all this filth and rubbish and release clean drinking water. The pump costs £32.00 currently and the only requirement is that it needs to be cleaned out regularly to prevent clogging.
Additionally we had representatives from four charities, who gave a brief overview of their work.
The Number Five Project - a direct access, short-term emergency night shelter accommodation with support, for homeless men and women over the age of 18 years, who live in or around Guildford.
Street Angels, Guildford - these are volunteers who go out into the town late on a Friday and Saturday night. They help people, whoever they are and whatever their situation, by listening, caring, offering practical help, or by referring people to other specialist agencies who can help them.
Mary’s Meals - is a global movement of people, the vast majority of whom are unpaid volunteers, who simply won't accept that a child should go hungry in this world of plenty. Every school day they are feeding more than one million children a daily meal in their place of education across fourteen countries.
CAFOD - is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It fights poverty and injustice in the world, wherever the need is greatest. Its priority is to equip people, regardless of religion or culture, with skills and opportunities to live with dignity, support their families, and give something back to their communities.
There was also information and literature on two other charities who were unable to be with us.
Les Amis - this is a Godalming-based charity, set up by a member of the Ladywell Fraternity in 2007, to serve the poor and needy, especially women in Burkina Faso, Africa.
St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London - they sent copies of their latest newsletter where one could read about how they have helped for over ninety years, in many differing ways, the homeless and vulnerable people around the United Kingdom.
There was an interesting discussion in the afternoon led by Edward Cuerden, Regional Vice Minister, and the day ended with a special Liturgy arranged by Maggie Larkin, accompanied by five members of her church choir.