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Community

The Carmelite Friars are part of an 800 year old tradition. Contemplation is at the heart of community life – a search for the face of God, an openness to the spirit. From this flows a desire to live as brothers and to strive to serve the needs of the people among whom we live. Our Rule encourages us to live as brothers, valuing silence, praying the scriptures and guided by the Spirit to read the signs of the time. 

Daily Eucharist is very much part of community life. Living committed to Christ, we try and serve the people through friendship, hospitality and a desire to live out the values Christ preached: justice, peace and mercy. Carmelites are ready to be available to help anyone who desires to experience the transcendent in their lives or who wish to share their experience of God.

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A Day in the Life

A Day in the life of a friar. One of the most asked questions here is what is the difference between monks and friars. Monks take the vow of stability, meaning that they always remain a member of the Monastery or Abbey that they joined. Whereas friars do not take this vow of stability, so in the Middle Ages it gave them the freedom to travel, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. So the people go to the monks but the friars go to the people.

Our day here is marked by prayer at different times. There is Morning Prayer, usually at 8am; with Midday Prayer after lunch. Evening Prayer is at 6.30pm followed by silent prayer. Night Prayer is usually said privately just before bed time. However, on Saturday nights we have Night Prayer in the Chapel, followed by the traditional Carmelite devotions to Our Lady.

We live in community and we have all our meals together. Breakfast is usually about 8.15 am. Lunch is at 1pm and supper is about 7pm. The timetable is slightly different on a Sunday. The work of the community differs due to individual commitments and talents. A member of the community is available every day for Mass, confessions, blessings and just to talk to our many pilgrims and guests. Another works with the youth and we have a partnership with the Southwark Diocese Youth Service. Another is chaplain to a year group in St. Simon Stock Secondary School. Members of the community are involved also in radio ministry, teaching, writing and retreats. When possible we do a number of supplies for local parishes when the local priests are away or sick. No two days are the same. 

The current Prior at the Friars is Father Francis Kemsley.

Friar feeding the ducks Father Francis feeding the ducks

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The Friars is open 365 days a year and entry is free.

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Map of the grounds

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