Tuesday 26 August 2014

Orthodox Mission Report - August 26th

I am about to leave my home to drive up to Stoke on Trent. It's quite a long drive. Perhaps three and half hours there and the same back late tonight. It's raining heavily so I will have to drive more slowly and carefully than usual. Why do I bother to spend seven or eight hours travelling to a city far away? The answer is that it is because God is at work in that place, and in many other places around the UK. In Stoke I am supporting and pastoring the little Orthodox Community of St Chad as new opportunites for Orthodox service and outreach are developing, and every visit among them is an encouragement.

Our British Orthodox missionary ministry has little option but to begin in a small way in each place we are serving. In Stoke our work began with only one contact, a person who became the first British Orthodox catechumen there. Now there is a small group of baptised Orthodox, with catechumens and other enquirers. Just a few months ago we were able to celebrate the first British Orthodox Liturgy there, and this month we have been able to begin both an evening Prayer and Instruction meeting, and tonight our first Prayer and Bible Study meeting.

This Bible Study is especially important because it is being conducted as a joint Eastern/Oriental Orthodox event by the British Orthodox Community of St Chad, and the Antiochian Orthodox Community of St Michael. This desire to work together as far as is possible bears testimony to the common foundations of our Orthodox Faith, and to the work of the Holy Spirit in Stoke who is drawing ordinary British people to the Orthodox Church.

While God is at work in so many ways in Stoke it is a joy to travel there, however many miles it takes.

Elsewhere, preparations are continuing for the third presentation of The Orthodox Way of Prayer. This next event will take place on Saturday, 6th September at St Andrew's Church of England, Mill Lane, Clewer, Windsor. The Orthodox Community of St Andrew worships here, and I celebrate the Liturgy and the Raising of Incense several times a month. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will use this event to both increase awareness of our presence in the town, and to lead those who participate to a greater understanding of the Orthodox spiritual tradition. A fourth presentation is already planned for early November in Chatham, Kent as part of the mission of the British Orthodox community of St Alban.

This week I am visiting several enquirers to help them understand the Orthodox Faith and way of discipleship. One man has an interesting background of experience as pastor in a Protestant community. Another has been an Anglican priest. I am in regular correspondence with many others who are working through their own questions about Orthodoxy.

I shall be making plans to begin a first monthly service in Farnham shortly. The Orthodox Way of Prayer event held there in July was successful on many fronts and we have a welcome to return to Farnham from several other Christian communities.

Much of the rest of this year will be taken up in building up those communities I am already pastoring, as well as supporting enquirers in various places, and working with our bishop and other clergy in the mission in London.


Will you help support this ministry? These opportunities will only be properly used if funding is provided from supporters of this missionary work. If you cannot help then please consider sharing this request with those who can. God provides the opportunities and his people provide the resources.

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