My Visit to the Franciscan Friary

Nigel Roberts March 2022

On the first weekend of March I joined some of my fellow Christian Climate Action (CCA) members for an inspiring, relaxing and contemplative weekend retreat at Hilfield Friary, an intentional community in North Dorset. Here, a core of four Franciscan brothers and a wider community of members and volunteers young and old, single and married, live a simple and sustainable way of life together inspired by the example of St Francis of Assisi. Their aim is to grow in the knowledge of the love of God, to serve and nurture God’s creation, and to seek peace among people and with every part of the created order.

Each day the community come together for daily prayers in the simple chapel converted from a barn, and shared meals at the long common table in the refectory. There is also plenty of time and space to be quiet and alone. A sustainable ethos prevails throughout friary life: from the way they maintain and heat their buildings, how they source and prepare their food, the way they travel, to how they care for their land and animals. With the help of a grant they have installed enough solar panels to take them closer to their carbon neutral goal. They have achieved a 95% reduction in their carbon footprint, even with old hard-to-treat buildings. When they applied for an Eco Church Silver Award, their application was so impressive they were immediately upgraded to Gold!

The friary’s land is a haven for wildlife in a local area of heavy agriculture. On Saturday morning, as part of our CCA weekend of activities, we were taken on a guided tour of the land reflecting upon the life of St Francis and St Clare. There is a secret garden, a kitchen garden and a hermit’s wood which they are turning into a wet area, with wooden walkways, to counteract flooding in the local area. Many new trees have been planted the previous year with one dedicated to CCA. We were told the story of how St Francis saved two lambs from going to slaughter by giving his cloak as payment for them. Later, after conferring with a brother, he gave the lambs back to the shepherd who insured they would live a full nourished life. This is a reflection on how, if we are connected with nature, we can have a will to care for our environment.

Statue of St Francis
Eco Church Gold Award
Holding a banner at Hilfield Friary

We later produced a banner for future actions and watched a fascinating film about the history of Greenpeace and how they changed the world’s attitude to whaling and seal hunting. Some members of the community are also directly involved in climate action with CCA, so it was as much a joy for them to invite us as it was for us to be there for the weekend.

Using Your LOAF

During this season of Lent I would like to introduce the principles of LOAF which I learned many years ago from Green Christian. These principles are at the heart of every meal shared in the Hilfield Friary. The decisions we make about what kind of food we choose has far reaching effects influencing the way food is produced and animals are treated…

L = Locally Produced – helping community and neighbour

O = Organically grown – taking care of the Earth 

A = Animal friendly – avoiding abuse

F = Fairly Traded – creating social justice

Safeguarding Policy Statement

Our Vision

The vision statement of Saltash Baptist Church is “to evangelise our community and beyond, to encourage people to become more Christ-like through discipleship and we are committed to meeting the needs of those inside and outside our walls through ministry. We value fellowship and will come before the Lord in obedience to worship Him.”

  • In fulfilling this purpose the church 
  • Welcome children and adults at risk into the life of our community
  • Run activities for children and adults at risk
  • Make our premises available to organisations working with children and adults at risk

Our safeguarding responsibilities

The church recognises its responsibilities in safeguarding all children, young people and adults at risk, regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability.

As members of this church we commit ourselves to the nurturing, protection and safekeeping of all associated with the church and will pray for them regularly. In pursuit of this, we commit ourselves to this policy and to the development of sound procedures to ensure we implement our policy well.

1. Prevention and reporting of abuse

It is the duty of each church member to help prevent the abuse of children and adults at risk, and the duty of each church member to respond to concerns about the well-being of children and adults at risk. Any abuse disclosed, discovered or suspected will be reported in accordance with our procedures. The church will fully co-operate with any statutory investigation into any suspected abuse linked with the church.

2. Safe recruitment, support and supervision of workers

The church will exercise proper care in the selection and appointment of those working with children and adults at risk, whether paid or voluntary. All workers will be provided with appropriate training, support and supervision to promote the safekeeping of children and adults at risk.

3. Respecting children and young people

The church will adopt a code of behaviour for all who are appointed to work with children and young people so that all children and young people are shown the respect that is due to them.

4. Safe working practices

The church is committed to providing an environment that is as safe as possible for children and adults at risk and will adopt ways of working with them that promote their safety and well-being.

5. A safer community

The church is committed to the prevention of bullying. The church will seek to ensure that the behaviour of any individuals who may pose a risk to children, young people and adults at risk in the community of the church is managed appropriately.

Safeguarding contact points within our church

The church has appointed the following individuals to form part of the church safeguarding team:

Jeff Howden, Designated Person for Safeguarding (DPS)

Jeff will advise the church on any matters related to the safeguarding of children and adults at risk and take the appropriate action when abuse is disclosed, discovered or suspected. 

Email address: safeguarding@saltashbaptist.co.uk 

Amy O’Meakin, Deputy Designated Person for Safeguarding (DDPS)

Amy will assist the Designated Person for Safeguarding (DPS) in helping the church on any matters related to the safeguarding of children and adults at risk and take the appropriate action when abuse is disclosed, discovered or suspected. 

Email address: youth@saltashbaptist.co.uk 

Rebecca Bright, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Verifier and Safeguarding administrator

She will assist the Designated Person for Safeguarding (DPS) with the DBS verification and the general safeguarding administration.  

Email address: safeguarding@saltashbaptist.co.uk 

Michelle Heighway, Safeguarding Trustee

She will raise the profile of safeguarding within the church and oversee and monitor the implementation of the safeguarding policy and procedures on behalf of the church trustees. 

Email address: heighway.michelle@gmail.com  

Our church minister is also an important part of the Church Safeguarding Team. Where possible, the Church Safeguarding Team will work together if and when issues arise. However, each person has a responsibility to report allegations of abuse as soon as they are raised.

Further definitions of these roles can be found in the BUGB publications ‘Safe to Grow’ (2011) & ‘Safe to Belong’ (2015).

Putting our policy into practice

  • A copy of the safeguarding policy statement will be displayed permanently on the church noticeboard and church office and is available here on our church website.
  • Each worker with children and/or adults at risk will be given a full copy of the safeguarding policy and procedures and will be asked to sign to confirm that they will follow them. 
  • Each worker with children and/or adults at risk will be given a full copy of the safeguarding policy and procedures and will be asked to sign to confirm that they will follow them. 
  • A full copy of the policy and procedures will be made available on request to any member of, or other person associated with the church. 
  • A copy of the safeguarding policy statement will be displayed permanently on the church noticeboard and church office and is available here on our church website.
  • Each worker with children and/or adults at risk will be given a full copy of the safeguarding policy and procedures and will be asked to sign to confirm that they will follow them. 
  • Each worker with children and/or adults at risk will be given a full copy of the safeguarding policy and procedures and will be asked to sign to confirm that they will follow them. 
  • A full copy of the policy and procedures will be made available on request to any member of, or other person associated with the church. 
  • The policy and procedures will be monitored and reviewed annually, and any necessary revisions adopted into the policy and implemented through our procedures. 
  • The policy statement will be read annually at the church AGM, together with a report on the outcome of the annual safeguarding review

Click here to download a copy of our Safeguarding policy and procedures document

Data Protection Policy

Under Data Protection legislation the church Charity Trustees of Saltash Baptist Church are the Data Controllers and the Church Secretary acts as our Data Protection Officer. We are collecting this information to enable the church to keep in touch with you and provide pastoral support as appropriate.

Data Protection legislation allows us to process this information as we regard it as being in the church’s legitimate interest. Your name and contact details will be entered into our church database which is held on the church office computer and cloud system which is password protected and accessed only by the Ministers, Church Secretary and Church Administrator. Your contact details will be removed from the database once you are no longer a member of the church – unless you ask to remain as one of our “church friends”. We would like to include your name and contact details in our Church Directory which will be accessible through ChurchSuite . If you are happy for your details to be included please indicate where asked to do so. You can ask for your details to be removed at any time.

To enable us to provide adequate pastoral support to you and your family, one of the Ministers may record information which may be regarded as sensitive. This information will be stored (in password protected documents) on the church computer and Cloud System but the password will only be known by the Ministers. This information will NOT be disclosed to anyone else without your consent. You have the right to ask to see any information we hold about you (including the pastoral support information) by submitting a ‘Subject Access Request’ to the Church Secretary. You also have the right to ask for information which you believe to be incorrect to be rectified. If you are concerned about the way your information is being handled please speak to our Data Protection Officer. If you are still unhappy you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office.

LAST REVIEW DATE 2019