It's a busy time. It seems that God is working his purposes out in many places where I am serving all at once. Most importantly over the next few days, on Saturday, 12th April, the very first British Orthodox Liturgy will take place in Stoke on Trent at St Paul's Church of England, Burslem. I have been in touch with a number of interested evangelical Christians in the area for some months, and in just a few days four will be made catechumens at the Liturgy, bringing the number of those preparing for baptism and chrismation into the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate to five.
On Thursday I will meet another catechumen in Tunbridge Wells for a long chat. And I'll speak to another on the telephone as part of their regular catechesis. There are plenty of new faces at the Orthodox Mission of St Andrew in Windsor and in the parish of St Alban in Chatham. The great concern is making sure that I keep in touch with every person as far as is possible and help them to grow in their knowledge and experience of our Orthodox Faith. Over the past week I have made much effort to advertise our meetings at the Orthodox Mission of St George and St Paul the Hermit and this has led to some new contacts which will bear fruit in the future as God wills.
This week I am preparing the homily for the Liturgy on Saturday. I have a great sense that God is about to pour out his Spirit on the fragile beginnings of a community in Stoke and therefore I am seeking to hear his word so that I can faithfully deliver it at the celebration of Lazarus Saturday.
What do we learn from Lazarus? Well I will print my homily later. But it is surely at least that...
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
What is this abundant life? It is surely participation in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Orthodox Church. This life is for people in Chatham, in the East End of London, in Windsor and in Stoke. Indeed the command of our Lord is for the people of Britain as much as for those of Egypt, Greece, Russia and every other place where Orthodoxy flourishes...
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
If the Lord wills I hope to travel to Stoke once a week to teach, and make disciples, and baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Much prayer is needed to fulfill God's purposes in these things and in all the other activities of the British Orthodox Church, and those other Orthodox who are seeking to bring the Orthodox Gospel to the people of Britain.