The British Orthodox community of St Alban’s in Chatham was pleased to be able to welcome Abba Seraphim on Sunday, 12th December, to celebrate the liturgy and be the guest of honour at a buffet lunch. The community was especially pleased because a new heated carpet had been installed during the week and this was the first opportunity to experience the difference it made.
Abba Seraphim celebrated the liturgy supported by Father Peter Farrington, Subdeacon Michael Kennedy, and Reader Seraphim Boorman. Even though the weather was still cold, the heated carpet meant that everyone inside the church remained warm and was able to concentrate on the service. During his homily Abba Seraphim reminded the congregation that the new carpet had been made possible by a bequest from Annice Bourke, the widow of Father Philip Bourke, whose memorial plaque has an honoured place in St Alban’s Church. He then spoke about the different senses in which we should consider this season of Advent. That there is the Advent of our Lord in the world by His Incarnation, the Advent of the Lord in our hearts as we welcome Him as Saviour and Master, and the Second Advent of the Lord when He will come to bring all things to their conclusion.
The congregation enjoyed a substantial buffet of fasting foods provided by members of the Church. It was a blessing to welcome a number of visitors and friends, and to be able to have a time of fellowship and conversation together. The warmer weather over the previous few days meant that any remaining snow in the Chatham area, and there had been a lot, had all disappeared and so made it possible for eighteen of us to gather together. We look forward to being able to welcome Abba Seraphim back again during 2011.