Recently given the first Ecochurch Gold Award for local, organic, animalfriendly, fairtrade food policy, woodchip biomass heating to the whole friary/ electricity – pv electricity (10%), Ecotricity (90%), carsharing with electric cars, land/woodland management, community living.
Franciscan brothers first arrived here in 1921 to establish a home of refuge and rehabilitation for the large number of displaced men who were then tramping the roads of rural England. At the Friary they found a welcome as brothers, the restoration of their dignity through shared work, and the opportunity of rehabilitation and training. From this small beginning has grown the Society of St Francis, an Anglican order of men and women inspired by the example of Francis of Assisi; SSF now has communities throughout the world.
Today at Hilfield Friary there continue to live the Franciscan brothers of SSF, but they are now joined by other men and women – young and old, married and single – who together constitute the Hilfield Friary Community. This Community shares in a rhythm of daily prayer, helps to look after the Friary land and buildings, and offers hospitality to guests and visitors. People of all backgrounds are welcome here – Christians, those of other faiths and of none – for rest, retreat, and renewal of life. The emergency provision for ‘wayfarers’ ended in 2004, but the Friary still provides a place of acceptance and supported living for those who are in particular need.