The British Orthodox Parish of Christ the Saviour at Winton, Bournemouth, celebrated the church’s Diamond Jubilee with a visit from Abba Seraphim combining services and events over the weekend of 2-3 July. Although the parish was founded 75 years ago, the church – formerly a stable and carpenter’s workshop – was not purchased and converted until 1951. The celebrations began at the Church with Midday prayer and an address by Father Gregory Tillett on “The Year of Jubilee” and Abba Seraphim spoke about some of the witness and contribution made by departed church members, especially the faithful women of the church. This was followed by a Reception and Buffet lunch in the Lounge of nearby St. Alban’s Church, Charminster. Among those attending were Fr. Robin Nash, parish priest of St. Albans and Father Marcus Brisley, parish priest of the Catholic Church of the Annunciation, Charminster. Also present were Councillor Beryl Baxter (Mayor of Bournemouth 2009-2010) and her husband, who live next to the Orthodox Church. Visiting BOC clergy included Fathers Sergius Scott and Seraphim Mina from London.
After lunch Fr. Gregory gave a talk, “The Mission to the Ninevites: Universal Orthodoxy in the West”, which was followed by a lively discussion. At 4.30 p.m. Abba Seraphim led a good number of clergy and people in prayers for past members and clergy of the church at the Wimborne Road Cemetery and flowers were placed on the graves of Archdeacon James Goddard, Flora Peckham, Father Stephen Hatherly and Martha Coppin. Evening Incense was raised at the Church and a Celebration Dinner was held at Bates Restaurant in Charminster.
On Sunday morning Abba Seraphim celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church and Fr. Simon preached the homily, weaving together the themes of the various lessons to emphasise the importance of fidelity. During the Liturgy Abba Seraphim ordained Readers Nicolae Popa, John Morgan and Edward Smyth as subdeacons, the first two to serve at Bournemouth, the third at Portsmouth and Bournemouth. Subdeacon Christopher Barnes was ordained as a deacon to serve the Babingley Parish and Father Gregory Tillett, who is attached to the Bournemouth Church when in the United Kingdom, was elevated to the order of hegoumenos.
Abba Seraphim visited the British Orthodox Church of Christ the Saviour on 13 February to ordain three new Readers for the Bournemouth and Portsmouth congregations. Despite the heavy and almost incessant rain throughout the day, the morning Liturgy was well attended and those present were delighted to witness Daniel Malyon, Anthony-Paul Holland and Roger-John Morgan receive the clerical tonsure and to be ordained as readers. Assisting Abba Seraphim were Fathers Simon Smyth and Seraphim Mina as well as Nicolae Popa and James-Antony Kelly, two long standing Readers.
Whilst presenting them to Abba Seraphim for ordination Father Simon read letters of support including one from Mina Riwes of Washington DC, who had attended British Orthodox services at Bournemouth and Portsmouth whilst he was working in Britain last year and another from Father Marcos A. Marcos of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Scarborough, Toronto, who had received Roger-John into the Orthodox Church in Canada, who wrote, “Indeed they are worthy to join in the sacramental celebrations of our holy Church. On Sunday I will announce this news to our congregation and we will be sharing your joys singing ‘Axios,Axios,Axios’ ”. Another message came from Negati & Safaa Banayoty, through whom Roger-John had come to know the British Orthodox Church in Bournemouth and who were later to be his godparents. Daniel and Anthony Paul will largely serve at Portsmouth and Roger-John at Bournemouth, but as the two congregations are both under Father Simon’s pastoral care, they will often support both churches.
In his address Abba Seraphim spoke of the importance of the minor orders and their place in the ministry of the church and highlighted St. Paul’s injunction that “it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful”(1 Corinthians IV: 1-2) as well as the Lord’s promise to those who are faithful over a few things, “I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew XXV: 21).
A happy time of fellowship followed after the service and a buffet lunch was shared by those present.