He is Risen Indeed!
The following are the guidelines agreed for establishing a British Orthodox mission. They are brief and hopefully not over demanding and allow for local prayer, worship and teaching and yet also require, 4 times each year, a pilgrimage to a British Orthodox Church.
Proposed British Orthodox Missions
General mission arrangements:
Regular Sunday(?) worship is to be one of the Hours from Glory to God (Agbia or Hours). (Teaching to be via cassettes, DVDs, books, discussion, etc ? with possible occasional visits from others).
The physical resources for such a service of prayer: a venue, Glory to God (Agbia or Hours) books, 3 icons (Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Mother of God and the saint under whose patronage the mission is dedicated), 3 candles (one in front of each icon). Suggested additional resource: a second icon of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, tin containing sand and short votive candles for people to light as they venerate this icon.
Initially the British Orthodox Church will help with funding the mission (when such funding is actually available which isn?t always guaranteed at any given moment!) but the mission must, from its very beginning, work towards later self-funding. (The possibility of meeting in someone?s home initially may be one way of providing a venue and keeping costs down. It might also allow a slightly less formal ethos or atmosphere).
The aim of the committed members must be to attend a British Orthodox Liturgy for a minimum four times each year (approximately quarterly), including Holy Pascha ? the Paschal pilgrimage should aim to include Holy Thursday evening and Good Friday. These quarterly Liturgies are to be attended as a group, not merely by individuals (either in one or two cars depending on numbers or by minibus). They are a Liturgical pilgrimage for the members of the mission together. This quarterly Liturgical attendance and annual Paschal attendance is considered essential for grounding the mission within the Orthodox Liturgical cycle and as part of bringing the people into Orthodoxy.
Support and responsibilities:
The local co-ordinator is to be responsible for the practical running of the mission, the one running the mission on the ground with such back-up as may be available from clergy.
A priest is to have pastoral responsibility for the mission. This pastoral responsibility shall include being spiritual father to the co-ordinator and praying for the mission. It shall also include ?being there? for the co-ordinator via ?phone and email. Should a priest become available to visit either for Evening Incense and/or Morning Incense and Divine Liturgy this should be seen as an ?extra? in addition to the four quarterly Liturgical pilgrimages and not instead of these).
This could be read as a ?hard? response but it?s no good pretending that British Orthodox Church life is going to be easy, especially in the early stages, for new missions as we simply don?t have sufficient clergy resources available to make things less difficult. It may well be for all we know that future clergy may come out of these missions but at this time we don?t have the clergy manpower and it?s no good pretending otherwise. It seems better to approach things realistically and honestly.