Francis (Frank) Ritchie - Minister, Broadcaster, Church Planter
Coffee of choice - a piccolo or flat white
Describe yourself in three words - complicated, contemplative, pilgrim
Francis Ritchie's day starts and ends with silence. Oh and there is a bit of coffee thrown in the mix. Every day is different for this introvert, who is a minister, church planter, media chaplain, broadcaster, father and husband. While Francis, sometimes known as Frank, isn't an ordinary man, he delights in the ordinary. This is what the church he has planted here in Hamilton is all about. In a busy society, Commoners, a Wesleyan Methodist church, embodies simplicity and silence - slow spirituality.
"We named it Commoners because in our culture there is an expectation towards exceptionalism, the idea that we all have to be successful and amazing, and if we aren't showing that to the world then there is something wrong" he states. Commoners is about offering an un-hyped church environment, where there can be room for beauty in the ordinary, brokenness, and realness of faith and its ups and downs, along with much needed renewal and rest.
His hope is that in a busy culture, church doesn't add to the busyness. He aims to create an environment where church engagement would be a space to take a breath - reconnect with God and each other. Too often we can find being part of church culture simply adds to the busyness. Francis believes that In creating more busyness, church life runs the danger of crowding out the space in people's lives where they can engage with the world around them. He is passionate about setting a different tone through the way we interact with our communities - silence and coffee are the heart of his world.
His calling doesn't simply stretch to his local faith community, but to the media community as well. His work with Media Chaplaincy New Zealand involves lending an ear, as well as personal and professional guidance to those working in the industry. Within this role, his clerical collar has a key role, in fact he describes it as a significant part of himself. A reminder of what he's been called to.
Commoners worship gatherings happen every Sunday at 10.00am at the St Francis Community Church Hall, 92 Mansel Ave, Hillcrest.
Go along to experience the silence and simplicity for yourself.