Dear brothers and sisters,
Today saw the celebration of the forefeast of the Procession of the Life-Giving Cross and the All-Merciful Saviour, and our Liturgy for the feast will be celebrated in Nazareth House at 11:00 tomorrow morning.
Though a good number of parishioners are still away, it was good to welcome Deacon Mark, matushka Alla and Yuriy back from holidays in Turkey, where they enjoyed valuable time with mama and papa who travelled from Ukraine to meet them.
Having two deacons for Liturgy was a blessing, even if our kliros and servers are on skeleton staff! Thank you to all who contributed to our Liturgy, including baking and flowers!
We now look forward to being reunited with our pilgrims from the Holy Land and hearing the details of their blessed travels in the footsteps of the Lord, the Mother of God, the apostles and the saints. Welcome home, dear brothers and sisters!
After tomorrow’s first August feast of the Saviour with its honey blessing, we will celebrate Transfiguration in Cheltenham on Saturday, with the second day of the feast (and the blessing of fruit) in Cardiff on Sunday. As there will be only a few parishioners able to attend tomorrow’s Liturgy, we will also bless honey at our weekend Liturgies.
Next Wednesday, through the good offices of Mother Frances, I look forward to speaking to a group of pilgrims from Germany on the subject of reconciliation, and bidding farewell to Mother, who will be taking up the wonderful position of Warden of Lindisfarne in September. We wish her well, and are so grateful for the incredible kindness and support shown to our community when we were homeless and needful. She was endless in her generosity and we will remember her friendship with fondness and warmth.
This week’s confessions will be heard in Nazareth House on Thursday, so requests by noon on Wednesday, please. Ordinarily, study group would have met on Friday, but given Cheltenham Liturgy on Saturday, I fear this will be too much for me. Apologies!
Some of you are very much aware that, recently, Norman’s health has impacted upon his ability to not only serve, but also to undertake his duties as starosta. He has made no secret of his wish to take more of a ‘back seat’ role in parish life, to be able to enjoy his faith without the pressures of office, and to pass on the baton of wardenship sooner than initially expected.
With this in mind, I would like to call a General Parish Meeting for Sunday 17th September, the first Sunday of the new ecclesiastical year, so that we may elect a new starosta, for which position I ask for nominations. If the scenario requires, nominations for the position of senior-sister will also be requested.
Qualifications for office are the same as for voting: to have been a parishioner for a minimum of six months, to be a baptised parishioner of good standing (regular attendance, confession and communion, and not under a penance or ban from communion), to not formally be a member of another parish, and to be of or above the age of eighteen years.
We mentioned the 2nd September ‘March for Life’ in today’s announcements, having announced that Dr Clare Jackson of St Alban’s Parish – mum of Daniel (remembered by many as Brother Ambrose) – is organising a coach from Cardiff. Karen will be speaking to Dr Jackson and Daniel also messaged me during the day. Anyone interested should speak to Karen, who will hopefully find places for Orthodox parishioners on the St Alban’s bus. Our parish had an excellent number of attendees last year, and it would be good to see this expand.
Finally, remember that the Dormition Fast begins tomorrow, and be aware that it’s quite a strict fortnight. If you do not have a calendar, please make use of those online at Orthochristian and https://www.holytrinityorthodox.com/htc/orthodox-calendar/
We look forward to feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God on 15/28 August, with a Liturgy on that Bank Holiday morning.
May God bless you and give you all good strength for the Fast.
Asking your forgiveness for Christ’s sake.