Dear brothers and sisters,
It has been a joy to leave secular work behind and take on the role of full-time parish priest, and though my role only formally begins today, the week has already been busy.
Monday was a day spent talking with parishioners and enquirers, and yesterday saw a long but wonderful day spent in Chippenham and Melksham with some of our ‘Wessex parishioners’ and friends of the parish, with a house-blessing in the evening after a much-awaited introduction to Masha’s cats.
It was a blessing to be able to be in Wiltshire, given the loyalty of our Wessex parishioners and the distances they drive to come to church.
Special thanks are due to Marina for her wonderful and warm hospitality, with the blessing of her new home being a prayerful and joyous occasion.
With God’s help, I hope and pray that our faithful in Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset will soon have services closer to home.
After a day of admin, today, the rest of the week will see me in the Vale, Swansea and Cardiff. Elliot will be baptised in the River Ewenny next to Ogmore Castle early on Saturday afternoon, and I will post an exact time as soon as these have been fixed.
Looking ahead to Saturday tea-time, as announced at Liturgy, the Anglican parish has kindly invited members of the community to attend the turning on of St John’s Crescent Christmas lights at 17:00 on Saturday afternoon. Advent-friendly street-food will be provided, as well as mulled wine, and all are not only most welcome, but encouraged to join this event. This will give us a welcome opportunity to spend time with the local community, and share Orthodox Advent prayers with our neighbours.
For those of you who are free earlier in the afternoon, St John’s Christmas Fair will be running from 14:00 till 16:00.
Those requiring confessions at the weekend should email me by Friday lunchtime, and I will organise confessions during the evening festivities at St John’s. The course of the parish celebration is not entirely clear, but I will hear confessions once I am free after the turning on of the lights and meeting our community partners.
Again, I ask Cardiff parishioners to be considerate and respect the distances our parishioners from across the Severn are travelling and the fact that they can only confess on Sunday morning. Please make every effort possible to confess on Saturday, or arrange another day in the week.
On Sunday, we will celebrate the second day of the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Temple. The Hours and Liturgy will be at the normal time of 11:00.
We had originally hoped to have our first Advent prayer and reflection group this Friday, but as there will be a concert in St Mary Butetown (where we will meet) we will have our first gathering on Friday 10th December at 19:00.
Asking your prayers.
With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark