In the first half of 2001 a survey was carried out of all our Tertiaries asking us all for our views on the Manual due to be published around the end of that year. Thirty per cent of our membership replied and what we have here very much reflects the results of that consultation.
The majority opted for this ring-file format and size. Sadly, some of course will be disappointed by this and the new format will certainly require a different style of use, but there are also considerable advantages as well, not least the opportunity for Areas, Local Groups or individuals to clip in other material which they find useful. This can include our Personal Rule of Life, and plastic envelopes for this purpose can easily be obtained on the high street.
Many new prayers and hymns were suggested, but no single hymn or prayer was suggested by more than five people and nearly all by only one.
In the circumstances it has been decided to retain almost intact the Prayer section of the 1991 Manual with some slight rearrangement. The hymn section retains the three original specifically Franciscan hymns and adds another three.
The Rule of the Order, (as distinct from our Personal Rule of Life) consists of the Constitution, The Principles, the Vow of Profession and the annual Renewal of Pledge. It is to the Rule we should look when seeking to define our spirituality and from time to time it should be studied by us all. The Rule is now included in the Manual as a separate ‘booklet’ at the front, which may from time to time be extracted if so desired.
There is a considerable amount of other material also. The Principles appear a second time, to facilitate our Community Obedience. The Third Order Office has been revised. The Statutes, by which we order our life in the European Province, are also included. Additionally there are some newly included services for various occasions. All of this should prove its worth.
There is no more significant expression of our corporate life than our Manual. It is the bedrock of our spirituality and our prayers. Above all other things it helps our formation towards becoming what as Christians and Franciscans we should be.
May it be a rich blessing to us.
Provincial Chapter, 2001
Note added 2012
The CONTENTS page has been revised to show the dates of revision of the various parts of the Manual. It will be updated when necessary and the latest version shown on the TSSF web pages at http://tssf.org.uk
Some newer material has had layout and pagination, but not content, revised to try and achieve greater consistency.
It may be helpful to note the three sections that govern TSSF, first the SSF Constitution laying a framework for all three Orders, second the Rule of the Third Order which governs all the TSSF provinces worldwide and third the Statutes of the European Province of TSSF (Section F of the Manual).
Over the years, when pages are revised, they have been (and will be) laid out in accordance with RNIB guidelines for legibility.
CP, Provincial Communications Coordinator,