Indian Orthodox Church Annual Family Conference - Printable Version
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Indian Orthodox Church Annual Family Conference - Simon - 26-08-2008
Sheila (my wife) and Fr Simon (myself) spent a wonderful Friday evening and Saturday at the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church Annual Family Conference in London Colney this past weekend. We had been invited by Fr Abraham Thomas to help lead different groups and, in my case, to give a talk on the opening evening.
The children and youth loved Sheila's group and couldn't wait to do more learning with her. My own talk suffered slightly from me losing my voice (yes, I know some might count this a blessing!) but was well received nonetheless.
There were talks of extraordinary power and spirituality by the Indian Orthodox priests. There was the most wonderful singing both in Malayalam and in English. There was football which I joined in (well, I stood there in my black robe and kicked the ball the couple of times it came my way... well, I am 54 and not a teenager like many of them! And, biased as I no doubt am as a Scotland fan, I put myself up there with most of the England stars) and there was rounders which Sheila joined in... and there was worship, and lots of it. And there was the Saturday evening concert between evening prayer and compline... Old Testament stories told through dance, singing, stories and so much more.
As Sheila says, she just felt so much at home and how she loved the singing. And all I know is that I felt blessed to give a tiny bit back to one of the Churches of the Oriental Orthodox family... for this family of Churches has given me a spiritual home and whenever I can give anything back I am thrilled to be able to do so. My only regret was that we could not be with them on Sunday as well as we had to leave at the crack of dawn so as to be in Bournemouth to celebrate the British Orthodox Sunday Liturgy there.
There is such a wonderful richness and variety to being an Oriental Orthodox Christian.
- Rick Henry - 27-08-2008
Dear Father Simon,
That does sound like it was a great day--especially the talks by the Indian Orthodox Priests! Singing, dancing, and even football. And, about you standing there and kicking the football when it came your way hock: . . . I thought you were supposed to pick it up and run with it and try to make a touchdown? I'll be your team wasn't very happy with you that day. Maybe soccer would be more your game? :wink:
- Simon - 28-08-2008
Football? Soccer? I think it may have been Winston Churchill who described the British and the Americans as two peoples joined by a ccommon language but I think it was George Bernard Shaw who described us as two peoples divided by a common language!!! But football or soccer or whatever... I found the weekend wonderful, spiritual and holy. It was a delight. But something for me to remember was from the talk by one of the priests on the Saturday night, as part of the preparation for holy communion Sunday morning, to the effect that yes the fellowship and worship were wonderful that weekend but what change would be effected in our lives, what were we each going to do differently, what were we going to change as a result? Orthodoxy as ever and always to me I find no soft option but ever challenging and demanding - but then what else should I expect from Christ? What else should I expect from Love?