Order of Saint Francis

A Contemporary Expression of Franciscan Tradition within the Anglican Communion

2013 Southern Mini-Retreat

Five Brothers gathered together in April for a mini-retreat at Richmond Hill in Richmond, Virginia, to share in God's presence, and in the communion of brotherly fellowship. Richmond Hill, the site of a former convent of cloistered Sisters of the Visitation established on top of Church Hill, is Richmond's highest point and is now an ecumenical retreat center. The retreat center is operated by a community of individuals who work and live at the center and pray for the city with a regular prayer cycle of Morning, Noon, and Evening prayer. While all of the groups had plenty of time for their own activities, all of the groups were required to share in the community's cycle of prayer three times a day and break bread in the sharing of meals with each other. At meal times, the community residents purposely spread out among the tables and encourage the groups to mingle why they eat. This was a very interesting dynamic for our retreat and allowed us to share our Brotherhood's way of life with not only other Christian denominations, but also with fifteen or so Aspirants to Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church, most of whom did not know that the Church had religious orders and communities at all. Since the residents only do prayers three times a day, the brothers held Compline together in the chapel. On Sunday morning after Morning Prayer, the brothers walked to St. John's Episcopal Church to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. St. John?s is the site of the Second Virginia Convention in 1776 where Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Richard Henry Lee and other important figures in the American Revolution listened as Patrick Henry gave his now-famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. In our time together, the brothers shared with each other their own experiences in their relationships, communities, ministries, and parishes. They discussed their challenges and successes of how others perceive us as Friars, and most importantly how God has blessed each one of us in our own ministries. Praise be to God! (by Br. Les Roberts)
  
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