Newsletter for the Week of the Paralytic

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings at the end of a joyful day which saw a few of us in Wessex make a pilgrimage to Shaftesbury, where we visited the site of the former abbey, where the relics of King Edward the Martyr were enshrined until the desecration of the great religious house and its dissolution at the reformation. Mercifully, through the grace and mercy of God, the Royal-Martyr’s relics were found during the excavation of the abbey by John Wilson-Claridge in 1931, and enshrined in the former ROCOR Monastery of St Edward, at Brookwood, in 1984.

The abbey ruins, surrounded by green lawns and herb and flower-filled borders are an oasis of tranquility, and we were overjoyed to be able to offer prayers to St Edward-the-Martyr close to the place where his relics were found, and the site of his medieval shrine. Having been greeted with warmth and friendly enthusiasm, we were invited to arrange and “after hours” pilgrimage, and look forward to returning and solemnly offering prayers in a holy place of as once great renown. Many thanks to the wonderful staff. 

In the evening, we enjoyed our end of month gathering on Porphyrios’s narrow boat, chanting compline with the canon to St Edward chanted after the supplicatory canon to the Mother of God. We enjoyed an evening of conversation and fellowship, with a lovely supper ending a blessed and grace-filled day.

Holy Right-Believing King, Edward the Martyr, pray to God for us!

Despite half-term, our Liturgy was well attended, even though the kliros and sanctuary were reduced to a minimum. We are grateful to all who contributed to our celebration, particularly for all who facilitated such a quick packing away and rearrangement of furniture. This was very much appreciated and we need this to continue.

As I will only be returning to Wales tomorrow, there will be no celebration of vespers in Cardiff in the afternoon. After a day preparing for our meeting,I will be in Cardiff on Thursday, and will celebrate the ninth hour and vespers in St Alban’s church at 14:30. Confessions will be arranged around the service. If required, I will hear evening confessions in Nazareth House. Please email me by 18:00 on Wednesday and be clear if you cannot confess until the evening.

Sunday will see our General parish meeting, with the elections of our new starosta and senior sister.

Deacon Mark and I have been struck by the lack of realisation of the responsibilities and tasks assumed by the starosta, and feel that parishioners should be made aware of serious duties that can be time consuming and sometimes require considerable input.

  • Maintaining the church building and property: This may include overseeing cleaning and repairs, as well as ensuring the security of the church.
  • Financial oversight: Church wardens/starostas assist the treasurer in managing the church’s budget, collect donations, and ensure financial accountability.
  • Supporting the clergy: They may assist the clergy with administrative tasks, .
  • Coordinating volunteers: Church wardens/starostas play a key role in recruiting and coordinating volunteers for various tasks required in delivering services and maintaining an efficient parish life.
  • Liaison with the community: They may serve as a point of contact for community partners to promote the parish, represent the parish at community events. Liaising with local churches to arrange and schedule their use for services as needed
  • Liaison with the congregation: They may serve as a point of contact for parishioners and address their concerns.
  • Church Council: The Church wardens/starosta will occupy a seat on the parish council and vote on parish matters outside of the AGM
  • Traditions and Protocols: As the clergy are unable to stop/interrupt services the Church warden/starosta will assist in ensuring those in attendance adhere to church traditions and protocols during services.
  • Contact and welcoming: The Church warden/starosta will be a contact for general queries which do not require the clergy, eg service times, events etc. They should also welcome visitors and newcomers to the parish.
  • Legal and Administrative duties: They may be involved in tasks like creating reports, attending meetings, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.
  • Smooth Running: They will have oversight of the items which require regular ordering to ensure that services and specific feasts run smoothly. Eg. ordering wine, candles, palm crosses, candle guards etc
  • Attendance: The Churchwarden/starosta should be present at the majority of services to ensure consistency and stability in their role

Both Branka and Menna were nominated by various individuals to both positions, with Menna accepting the nomination for starosta, and Branka accepting that of senior sister. Another sister declined candidature for the position of senior sister, having been nominated by various individuals, but kindly offered support and guidance, and her considerable practical knowledge and expertise.

As such, the meeting will be asked to approve  these sisters and ratify their assumption of positions of office. Regular baptised and communicant members of our parish,  who will be absent next weekend, but wish to communicate  their approval are asked to message our treasurer, Olga Azzopardi via WhatsApp, or request her email details from me or Father Deacon Mark (rather than our disclosing it here!).

May we have any items for the agenda by Wednesday, please.

Due to the pressures of time, may we keep refreshments on Sunday to tea/coffee and biscuits/baked goods., allowing people to break their fast and replenish their energy reserves before the service?

As we look forward to Deacon Mark’s ordination of Wednesday 17th July, we would like to remind those who have requested places on the bus to give their deposit of £10 to Olga McKellar, and to do so as soon as possible. We have been much encouraged by the numbers hoping to travel from South Wales, the west of England, and perhaps even from Poole. This will be a great blessing, and will see much of the parish travel to the cathedral for this momentous occasion in the life of our community.

We hope that those who are away for various half-term breaks have a restful and relaxing time, praying for our travellers heading for France, the Lake District, Scotland and wherever else the week may have taken them.

May God bless you.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Posted in Newsletter, Parish News.