Order of Saint Francis
A Contemporary Expression of Franciscan Tradition within the Anglican Communion
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Peace and all good to you from the little brothers of the Order of Saint Francis (OSF)!
We are an active, Apostolic Christian religious order within the Anglican Communion, in communion with the See of Canterbury. Rather than living in an enclosed communal setting, OSF Brothers live independently in different parts of the world, with ministries based on the needs of their local communities. Members are baptized men who have been confirmed within the Anglican Communion who voluntarily commit to live by a set of professed vows for a term of years or for life.
The order was founded in 2003 by Br Nicholas Kis. We are now blessed to have over 25 vowed brothers serving Christ across the world.
OSF through the years
Br Chuck Hannan
Bishop Reddall gathers Anglican Religious members
On December 5 of this year, Bishop Jennifer Reddall of the Diocese of Arizona, met with 20 members representing seven different Episcopalian religious orders and communities serving in the Diocese. Represented were Franciscan friars from the Order of Saint Francis (OSF) and members of the TSSF Third Order, Benedictine canons, Dominican friars, Sisters from the Worker Sisters and Brothers of the Holy Spirit, a solitary from the Community of Solitude, and a Gregorian from the Brotherhood of St. Gregory.
Representing the Order of Saint Francis were Br. Chuck Hannan, OSF, and Br. Charles-Paul Sowinski, OSF.
Bishop Reddall said that she would like to see religious orders and communities being used in some type of evangelism function within the diocese and their respective congregations. The Bishop also envisions the creation within the diocese of a Ministry for Religious Life to foster and provide for growth and assistance of vowed religious communities and orders. This would be the first such Ministry in the Episcopal Church within the United States.
Here is what Bishop Reddall wrote about this meeting in the diocesan newsletter:
"The first time I discovered religious orders in the Episcopal Church was the fall of 1997. I had just arrived at the Episcopal Urban Intern Program in Los Angeles, and we had our opening retreat a Mount Calvary Monastery in Santa Barbara.
It was transformative. The routine of prayer, meals, and silence fed me in a way I didn't know I needed to be fed. There was abundant room for the Spirit to speak, and I was fascinated by the brothers. They wore habits out in the world, but in their homes they tended toward rumpled clothes and Birkenstocks. They all seemed very wise -- but had impish senses of humor.
The Episcopal Church -- and the wider Anglican Communion -- is blessed with many religious orders. There really are Episcopal nuns and friars and monks -- and oblates and associates and a number of other ways to engage in a vowed spiritual life. They are young and old, male and female, gay and straight, conservative and liberal -- rather like the Episcopal Church as a whole.
And not only are there religious orders in the Episcopal Church, there are members of religious communities here in Arizona in our own diocese! Last night, I met with many of the members of religious communities in Arizona -- about 20 of us (Franciscans, Benedictines, and Dominicans) gathered for sharing, prayer, and the chance to get to know one another more deeply and envision how we might more deeply and effectively encourage religious life in Arizona.
Some orders live in community, take strict vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Those orders often have associates or oblates who are connected to the community and follow a rule of life, but live out in the world. Some orders are dispersed, and include people who are single, partnered, and married. They sometimes have secular jobs, are clergy or lay, and connect to their communities via zoom, prayer, and occasional face-to-face retreats and convocations.
If you are a person of faith who is seeking a deeper relationship with God, and greater direction and accountability in your prayer, affiliating with a religious order may be a path God is calling you to follow. And if you are looking for a spiritual director, a quiet day leader, or a prayer partner, one of our local religious may be someone to turn to. We are developing a page on the diocesan website which will contain descriptions of each community and contact information for each."
Br John Ryan
Bereavement A Journey to A New Way of Living
Br. John Ryan is a member of the Diocesan Mental Health Task Force. This year at the convention the theme was "Bereavement A Journey to A New Way of Living". There was an open forum sponsored by the task force in which Br. John took the lead for the interactive discussion by the participants. He staffed the workshop table for two days along with other members of the Task Force providing information on resources in the Diocese and the region for persons dealing with loss or separation . Additionally providing a listening place for folks who had stories of bereavement and grief they wanted to share. Br. John is a Bereavement Counselor and an active member of THE AMERICAN ACADEMEY OF BEREAVEMENT. Br. Paul Dahlke spent a day with Br. John and the Task Force talking and listening to folks share their stories. It was a successful and rewarding endeavor being a Franciscan presence with the Convention participants.
Br John and Br Paul
Br Alan Spurgeon
Have you heard the saying 'Preach the gospel at all times. And if necessary, use words.'? It is typically attributed to St Francis but did you know scholars can not find a reference to it in any writing? It is more likely that this saying comes from the Rule of 1224 under 'Of Preachers',
"…Nevertheless, let all the brothers preach by their works.”.
Then in the Little Flowers of Saint Francis we find, "But as for me, I desire this privilege from the Lord, that never may I have any privilege from man, except to do reverence to all, and to convert the world by obedience to the Holy Rule rather by example than by word."
To a Franciscan this is a core of our being. We take action, we roll up our sleeves and get into the mess of life and be the face of God to those that are in need. Here is another passage attributed to Saint Francis where he talks about action..
“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way. Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart. The deeds you do may be the only sermon some will hear today” - St Francis
Today when tragedy strikes social media is filled with "Praying for ___", but we have to do more than just pray, we have to take action. God placed us here to be the ones that take action. We are not idle spectators watching a Tv show. Pope Francis recently said we have to, "unite prayer with action." The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Michael Curry describes in the "Way of Love" that we, "Go: Move beyond one’s comfort to witness to the love of God with words and actions."
It is part of the core of a Franciscan that she or he will come to the defense of the weak, the oppressed, the lonely, the sick and dying, the homeless, and the hungry. We fight to protect God's creation and all that inhabit it. We also act as a compass to the body of the baptized, through our actions, how to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
1 John 3:18 (NIV)
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
James 2:14-17 (NIV)
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
May the Holy Spirit and God of Love continue to move you to action,
Br Sam Kincaide
Once a week Brother Sam goes to his favorite coffee shop, puts up his sign sips his coffee and patiently waits. Some days no one will show and on other days he will get several that stop in to talk. He buys them a coffee and as he puts it, "I just sit there and listen." He even has a few regulars that come in. He did make sure to ask the owner of the shop if he could do this and they thought it was a great idea.
Br Alan Spurgeon
Don't let a food pantry go empty. If anything we should make sure they are overflowing.
You see them around town. They are usually found on church properties along a sidewalk or street. I'm talking about these little free food pantries that are springing up. Yes, almost every town or city has a food bank but sometimes that is not enough. People may be unable to get to a food bank because they work 3 jobs just to be able to pay rent so their children are not homeless. Some don't have a way to get to the food bank because it is miles across town. These little food pantries help those in tough situations.
I ask that every time you go to the grocery store pickup and set aside in your car a bag with the following long shelf life items..
box of Mac-n-cheese
bag of 5 ramen packets
box of juice packets
box of pop-tarts
a few cans of soup, stew, or ravioli (get the ones with the pop-top)
4 pack of apple sauce cups or jello
instant rice such as broccoli and cheese or mexican rice
4 pack of toilet paper
small jar of peanut butter
Don't forget to include items that are easy to chew. Some of the people using the pantry may have painful teeth or gums because they can not afford to go to a dentist. Seniors may be using the pantry and might not be able to afford dentures.
You could even pick up a small teddy bear or box of crayons in case there are kids going without presents on their birthday.
Did you know that you can get each one of the items above for $1 each at The Dollar store! The list above would only cost you $14. Spend just $10 to $20 and leave the bag in your car. Then when you pass one of these food pantries stop and put your items in. You will be giving a needy individual or family the ability to eat for a day or two until their next paycheck, food stamps, or social security check comes in.
With everyone doing just a little bit we can make a huge difference.