Thursday, 3 September 2015

Step outside....

Stoke on Trent has a population of about 250,000. The North Staffordshire region of which it is a part has a population of about 460,000.

How do we begin to reach 1% of that population in a meaningful manner? 1% of 250,000 is just 2,500 people.

There is a lot of useful census information available for the UK.

In the area of 2 miles around the Church of St Paul, where we meet, there are:

i. 1400 pensioners living on their own.
ii. 1191 lone parents with children

What does the Orthodox Gospel have to say to them?

There are 29,000 people within 2 miles of our little Coptic Orthodox community. There are 12,500 households of varying composition. Within just a mile of our Coptic Orthodox community there are about 7,500 people.

Of course we will seek to reach people with the abundant life that is in Christ in the Orthodox Church by every means and across the whole area, but to a great extent, we begin reaching this first 1% by opening the door of the place where we meet and stepping outside.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

What is mission?

I started writing something on mission, but it was becoming something much longer than I wanted to publish here just at the moment. I shall try again, reflecting only on what I mean and understand by mission.

Others may use this word and other associated words in a variety of ways. I am not suggesting that they are wrong to do so, nor am I criticising any other model. But I do want to clearly explain and describe what I mean, especially as I have been given the responsibility of caring for and developing three mission communities in the UK by His Holiness Pope Tawadros, under the oversight of His Grace Bishop Angaelos.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Indian Orthodox Family Conference

I was very pleased to have been invited to participate in the annual Indian Orthodox family conference, which took place this year at Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, near Stafford. I had been given permission to attend by H.E. Metropolitan Seraphim, and then by H.G. Bishop Angaelos, and this was a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends such as Father George Joy, of the Hemel Hempstead congregation, and to receive the blessing of H.E. Mor Thimothios, the bishop of the Indian Orthodox Church in the UK with responsibility for much of Europe and Africa as well.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Status Update - A New Beginning

Today I was blessed to have a warm and fruitful meeting with His Grace Bishop Angaelos at the Coptic Centre, Stevenage. During the meeting I was able to discuss His Holiness' intention for my future service within the Coptic Orthodox Church.

I am very pleased that it has been decided that I will serve as a priest of the Patriarchal Diocese of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and that I will report to His Grace Bishop Angaelos, who will have the care and supervision of my ministry.

It has been agreed with Metropolitan Seraphim that I will continue to develop the three missions in Swindon, Windsor and Stoke, and these will now be English language mission communities within the Patriarchal Diocese.

Over the next few days I hope to begin to plan the renewed schedule of services and activities in these places, and will continue to be in regular contact with His Grace Bishop Angaelos so that he can advice and direct this missionary ministry within the Coptic Orthodox Church.

I hope to have other things to report in due course. But this is certainly a new beginning for myself, and for the mission communities I have been serving. Please continue to pray for me, for my family, and for all those entrusted to my care.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

A New Life of St Mark for Youth - The Last Blessing - Part 1

This is the first chapter of a Life of St Mark which I am writing with the youth in mind. I hope to be able to describe the lives of our great saints in language which is accessible to many and which communicates the rich history of our Church in a memorable manner.

I am still waiting patiently for my service to the Church to be defined by His Holiness, and for permission to serve the spiritual children God has placed in my care, and to discover how the Church might choose to provide for the needs of my family while I commit myself to the Gospel. This time of obedient  anticipation has been a blessing since I have been able to spend much time in study and in writing, and I offer this first chapter of this Life of St Mark as the fruit of some of that effort. Please remember me in your prayers and support. Your encouragement sustains me.


I had taken my brother on an errand down to the harbour. I think we had been sent by my mother to fetch some fish for the family meal that day. It was a long time ago and I am remembering as best I can. We had run all the way down to where the fishermen landed their catches, on the furthest quays. Far enough away from the great palaces of the rich and noble that the harvest of the sea did not disturb their refined sensibilities. Far enough away from the fortress on the sea wall that the little boats were no obstruction to the passage of the galleys that would often be seen transporting troops and imperial officials.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Spending the precious gift of time wisely?

Every day that God gives us has 24 hours in it, 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. How we use those precious moments should matter to us. They matter to God. There is a real sense in which he created the whole world, and entered into it himself as Jesus Christ, and suffered, died and rose again, so that you might enjoy the gift of this day.

If we were training for an elite athletics competition our coach would have determined how we were to spend each minute. There would be time for relaxation of course, because the human mind and body needs to relax to be able to operate at peak efficiency. But there would be no wasted time. An athlete training for an Olympic race has only one chance to get it right. And St Paul tells us that were are training to compete in an altogether more significant race, truly the race of our life.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Overcoming Loneliness - the Video

I hope that this video recording of the Overcoming Loneliness homily I published here a little while ago will be of use to a few people.

Loneliness is one of the great interior burdens that so many are carrying in the 21st century, often unable to share their feelings with others. Our age of technological wonder has not solved the most basic and serious of our inner hurts and pains.

Perhaps these few thoughts will help someone.