Are you seeking a spirituality of joy?
Are you looking for a community with a contemplative heart that pursues justice, peace, and the loving care of creation?
The Third Order is a worldwide Anglican Franciscan Religious Order of men and women over the age of 18, lay and ordained, married and single, young and old, and of various ethnic and educational backgrounds. We commit ourselves to leading our lives according to a Rule of Life, while living in our own homes, working in the community and caring for our families.
The Aims of the Order are:
- To make our Lord Jesus Christ known and loved everywhere
- To spread the spirit of love and harmony
- To live simply
What is distinctive about its members?
Tertiaries, as members are known, desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom we serve through prayer, study and work, after the example of St Francis and St Clare. The keynotes of our lives are humility, love and joy. We are inspired by St. Francis’ challenge to the Church to follow closely Jesus’ earthly life, to proclaim the gospel and bring justice and peace.
The life of the Order is rooted in Eucharistic worship and personal prayer and we believe that we are called to serve within the Church and in the world, enriched and strengthened by periods of contemplation and retreat. We know of many holy men and women who are not members of a religious order. But for us, this is an important lifestyle and commitment that enables us to keep our most important promise — the one we made at our baptism.
Franciscans seek to worship and serve God in His creation and are therefore pledged to the service of others and to respect for all life. We aim at a simple lifestyle and at self-denial, living in solidarity with the poverty of the world and accepting its claim upon our stewardship.
Francis himself founded the Third Order for lay people who wished to live according to a Franciscan Rule of Life, without becoming members of the First Order. A Rule for the Third Order was approved by the Pope in 1221. Today within the Anglican Church there are three related Franciscan Orders which all started in the early years of the 20th Century.
The First Order consists of men and women who live in community under a Franciscan Rule based on the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
The Second Order (Community of St Clare) is composed of women who feel called by God to an enclosed life of contemplative prayer, coupled with work to be self-supporting.
The Third Order, Society of St. Francis consists of men and women, single or married, who do not live together in one house, but in their own houses and work at ordinary jobs. This is different from the two First Orders of St. Francis, which are made up of men only and women only who live together in a special house, and the Second Order which is made up of women only who live in a special house without ever leaving it, spending their lives in work and prayer.
Members of the Third Order, Society of St. Francis have a special relationship with each other involving giving each other emotional support, disciplining each other, encouraging each other, sharing each other’s lives and helping each other in achieving the Society’s special purposes which are to make Jesus known and loved, as Francis did, spread the knowledge of God and to live simply as an example to a rich world.
The Third Order, Society of St. Francis is based on the lives of the first order of monks that Francis formed and our members pay particular attention to the rules they followed and the ideals they had.
Another way in which the Tertiary Society is different from the First Order and Second Order is that though members of all three groups promise to live by a Rule of Life, in the First Order and the Second Order, the rule is made by the group, but in our society, members make their own Rules of Life individually with the help of our Counselors and Spiritual Directors and are permitted to change their Rule of Life as what is possible for them to do changes.
Francis of Assisi is one of the most cherished saints in the history of the church. But he lived and died eight centuries ago. What is so attractive about his way that people still want to follow it? Francis had a genius for seeing the face of Christ in everyone he met: bishop or leper, Christian or Muslim, friend or stranger. Francis faced some of the biggest questions of his day: How to respond to the growing gap between rich and poor? How to make peace between enemies? What is our relationship to the world God made? Where is God when we suffer? Because these are also the questions of our own day, Francis has much to say to us.
Francis took on the challenges of his time with humility, love, and joy. We in the Third Order today are companions on this same road. We invite you to explore this site and consider whether this way might be for you, too. In the name of Christ and in the words of St. Francis, we wish you peace and all good!
African province is made of:
- Southern Region consisting of Lesotho, South Africa, Eswatini and Namibia
- Eastern Region consisting of Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania
- Central Region consisting of Zimbabwe and Botswana
- Western Region consisting of Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Nigeria and Cameroon
- Northern Region consisting of Uganda and Kenya
Each region is headed by a professed Regional Guardian.
The Standing Committee of the Province consist of:
- Minister Provincial
- All Regional Guardians
- The Formator Guardian
- The Publication Officer
- The Archivist
- The Editor of the Province’s Newsletter
- Provincial Secretary