For the Beauty of the Earth – a weekend celebration of creation, with Brother Sam SSF
Sat 26 Jun - Sun 27 Jun
All Saints, Hethel, Norfolk, NR14 8HE
Two days to celebrate creation, to walk, eat, look, listen and dance, and to learn from senior Franciscan Brother Sam about St Francis, his spirituality of creation and its relevance today.
Many people will be aware that Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) was extraordinarily in tune with nature. There are many stories of him communicating with animals and birds and in 1979 he was named the Patron Saint of Ecology.
Today, the Society of Saint Francis (SSF) is a world-wide Anglican order of friars that follow and teach St Francis’s message. Brother Sam SSF has been the Minister Provincial of the European Province of the Society and his book Seeing Differently – Franciscans and Creation was published this year. We are delighted that he is coming to lead the weekend, along with two eminent local naturalists. The aim is a joyful, fun, instructive, active and challenging weekend celebrating God’s beautiful world.
The weekend starts on Saturday 26 June, 2021 at around 4.15am from Hethel Church with a short walk to watch the sun come up, where Brother Sam will lead us in The Canticle of the Creatures – the song of Brother Sun, written by St Francis in 1224.
It’s a bit too early to go home, so local ornithologist Mike Harvey will take us for a birdsong wander, returning to church for a delicious continental breakfast.
Throughout the weekend (10am to 5pm Saturday, 11am to 4.30pm Sunday) there will be an Exhibition of Beauty, to which everyone is invited to contribute! Have you taken photographs or painted a picture that illustrate the beauty of the Earth? Could you do a flower arrangement? Craft something beautiful (pottery, tapestry, needlework, woodwork, …)? Write or simply choose a poem? Make a delicious dish?
At 12.30pm, there is a chance for 12 people to have an excellent sit-down vegetarian (pre-booked) lunch with Brother Sam. This will be followed at 1.30pm by his keynote talk, which is open to all: Seeing Differently – the spiritual grounding of care for our common home.
At 3pm, Brother Sam will lead what he calls a Five Senses Walk, with an emphasis on experience rather than exercise with, of course, tea and cake back at church when we finish.
The PCC wanted this to be a genuine celebration of all things good about this life, so someone said, “What about a ceilidh on Saturday evening?” Yes! Is this a first for Hethel Church; we guess so and think it’s doable for 50 people, perhaps not all dancing at once. Skylarking – perfectly named for this event! – are a Suffolk ceilidh band who are up for leading us, starting at 7.00pm. The Peaky Pizzas van will be in attendance all evening.
On Sunday 27 June at 9am, Brother Sam will speak at Bracon Ash Church Holy Communion – itself a celebration of the other thing St Francis is best known for – his prayer “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace …”.
At 11am, there is another opportunity to join Brother Sam’s Five Senses Walk, with a soup and bread lunch available afterwards.
For many years, we have been privileged to have Dr Anne Edwards provide expertise and person power in managing Hethel churchyard as a wildflower meadow. She was awarded the BEM in 2015 for services to the environment – not least being the first person to identify Ash Dieback. Join Anne, funny and incredibly knowledgeable by turns, at 2.15pm for a local amble: Sightings.
Refreshments will be available in church: tea, coffee, soft drinks, scones, cake all day both days; soup and bread lunch on Sunday.
Finally, on Sunday at 4.30pm, Brother Sam SSF will lead us in a Short Service for a Summer Afternoon.
Our purpose in running this weekend is to promote creation care; a useful side benefit will be to raise some money after a difficult 2020. As part of the general plan to enhance the church building, the church council is hoping to refurbish the most interesting ledger (floor slab) and the metal plaques in the mausoleum. More ambitiously, can we raise enough in the next year or two to get the bell back in action and allow public access to the tower?