The Province of the Americas, one of five provinces of the Third Order, Society of St. Francis, a religious order in the world-wide Anglican Communion, is meeting June 20-25 to celebrate its Centennial.
The Anglican Franciscan movement began in the U.S., England and India early in the twentieth century. The Third Order in the American Province was founded in 1917. It maintains close familial ties with First and Second Order sisters and brothers. It has its own provincial and worldwide governments, constitution, novice training programs and statutes. There are about 3,100 Anglican Third Order Franciscans worldwide. About 600 live in the Province of the Americas, which includes North, South and Central America, Hawaii, and the West Indies.
The members of the province are gathering for their Centennial Convocation June 20-25 at St. Anne Retreat Center near Cincinnati in Melbourne, KY. In 1917 the first novices began under the direction of the Rev. Claude Crookston, familiarly known as Fr. Joseph at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cincinnati. The order consists of men and women, both married and single, lay and ordained, who follow a Franciscan Rule of Life, and live out the three aims of the Order – To make our Lord known and loved everywhere, To spread the spirit of love and harmony, and To live simply – in the secular world. Third Order Franciscans engage in a wide variety of ministries reflecting Franciscan values, including social action, economic justice, human rights, reconciliation, care for creation, prayer, and contributions in writing and publications on these topics.
The theme of the Centennial Convocation is Rebuild My Church, 21st Century Version. The five day provincial convocation includes a celebration of the past 100 years, recognition of the work and service of the present members, and a discernment process of small group discussion for planning for the future. Representatives from three of the four other provinces will be present .
The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Murray Bodo, OFM, author of many books on St. Francis of Assisi and Franciscan spirituality. Of special note is the showing of a soon to be released movie, The Sultan and the Saint, with interfaith discussion. This documentary explores the significant connection made during the 5th Crusade between St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan Malik al-Kamil in an attempt to bring peace. There will also be several workshop presentations on some of the significant ministries in which Third Order members are engaged, as well as daily Eucharists celebrated according to the liturgies of various parts of the province.
For more information about the Third Order, Society of St. Francis, go to tssf.org.