On Saturday 15th March, the Orthodox Midlands Mission of the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate organised a study day in Stoke on Trent as The Orthodox Way of Prayer.
Thanks to the kind hospitality of the Revd. Darren McIndoe and his congregation at St Paul’s, Burslem, participants from many different backgrounds came together to study the Orthodox spirituality of prayer in an atmosphere of friendship and Christian fellowship.
The event began with Morning Prayer from the Coptic Daily Office, and then a series of short talks on various themes such as The Prayer of the Heart, Prayer with the Scriptures and Developing a Prayer Rule were interspersed with practical opportunities for prayer and discussion.
An excellent buffet lunch was provided by local supporters of the Orthodox Midlands Mission and there was a great deal of conversation over the shared food. The event concluded with the offering of the prayer of the Ninth Hour from the Coptic Daily Office.
The participants included priests and the faithful from Evangelical, Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox backgrounds. Father Peter Farrington was especially pleased to be able to meet Father Samuel Carter of the Antiochian Orthodox Church who attended the study day with some of his congregation.
The next event in Stoke will be an hierarchical Liturgy, the first British Orthodox liturgy of the Orthodox Midlands mission on Saturday, April 12th, celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim. A second liturgy is planned for Saturday, June 7th at which an adult baptism will take place, and a second study day is already been planned to build on the success of The Orthodox Way of Prayer.
On the evening of January 6th a festal Liturgy in honour of the Feast of Theophany was celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim, supported by Father Simon Smyth and Father Peter Farrington, the priest responsible for the Orthodox Mission of St Andrew at Clewer, Windsor, together with Subdeacon Daniel Malyon and Reader Trevor Maskery. The service took place in the beautiful and ancient Church of St Andrew, parts of which date back to the Norman Conquest and which is always filled with an atmosphere of prayer accumulated over the last one thousand years.
The Orthodox Mission of St Andrew has been growing for the last 12 months, and the congregation at this Liturgy was the most numerous so far. It was an especial pleasure to welcome the Bishop of Reading, Andrew Proud, in whose jurisdiction the Church of St Andrew is found, as well as both the Revd. Louise Brown, former priest in charge of St Andrew’s and whose hospitality allowed the mission community to begin worshipping at St Andrew’s, and the Revd. Rosie Webb, recently taking up her ministry at St Andrew’s as priest in charge. Other visitors also joined us, together with the regular members of the mission community of St Andrew.
The congregation gathers in the choir of medieval St Andrew’s, surrounded by graceful architecture in wood and stone, and the presence of many icons of the highest quality, created by Annie Shaw, a member of the mission community and a professional iconographer, only add to the creation of an atmosphere proper for our Orthodox liturgical worship. Indeed many of the prayers which were offered by the celebrant and congregation must have echoed within these walls for a millenia. On this occasion the congregation had so increased that it was necessary to spill out into the body of the church itself through the gates of the rood screen.
During the Liturgy His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim blessed water for the Theophany and anointed the congregation. That which remained was eagerly collected in bottles and received by the congregation. Father Peter Farrington addressed the gathered worshippers in a homily which called on those present to commit themselves to prayer, study of the Scriptures and fasting in 2014.
After the completion of the Liturgy the congregation gathered in the Lodge at the edge of the churchyard and shared in a light buffet which included biscuits made according to the Ukrainian tradition by one of the worshippers.
The Orthodox Mission of St Andrew is presently celebrating the Liturgy one Saturday each month, and Evening Prayer one Monday evening each month. The mission website is at http://www.orthodoxwindsor.co.uk
This is a warm invitation to two opportunities to worship with us in Windsor at our Orthodox Mission of St Andrew this week.
On Monday 11th March we are meeting to pray a service of Orthodox Evening Prayer in the English language. We begin our prayers at 6:30 pm at St Andrew’s Church of England, Mill Lane, Clewer, Windsor. Father Peter Farrington will lead the prayers from the Orthodox Daily Office of the Coptic Orthodox tradition in the English language. After the service of prayer there will be time for conversation and refreshments.
On Saturday 16th March, this coming Saturday, we are meeting to celebrate the Orthodox Liturgy in the English language for the first time at St Andrew’s, Mill Lane, Clewer, Windsor. Our morning of worship will begin at 9:30 am with the Raising of Incense, and the Liturgy itself will begin at 10:00 am. His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim will celebrate the Liturgy assisted by Father Peter Farrington. There will be an opportunity for conversation and refreshments after the Liturgy.
You are most warmly welcome to attend either or both of these services. If you know of others who may be interested in participating in our Orthodox worship then do please pass this message on to them.
On 5 May, during the regular monthly celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the British Orthodox London Mission of SS. George & Paul the Hermit at St. George-in-the-East, Shadwell, Abba Seraphim ordained Daniel Malyon as a Subdeacon. Daniel is a member of the BOC Portsmouth Parish but whilst teaching near St. Albans, has been serving as a Reader attached to the Secretariat staff, so has been serving with Abba Seraphim at Babingley, Charlton and Shadwell. A graduate in theology, he is currently studying for his Master’s degree in Orthodox Theology at the University of Winchester.
Assisting Abba Seraphim at the Liturgy were Fathers Simon Smyth and Peter Farrington as well as Deacon Theodore de Quincey. They were joined by two of Daniel’s fellow Readers from Portsmouth, James Kelly and Anthony-Paul Holland.
On Thursday, 19th April, Father Peter Farrington participated in the Evangelical-Orthodox Dialogue, sponsored by the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius. The meeting took place at the Fellowship house in Oxford, adjacent to the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity and the Annunciation.
Each meeting of the Dialogue consists of a presentation on a theme of interest by alternately an Evangelical and Orthodox speaker or participant, followed by questions and discussion, a shared buffet lunch, and closing with prayer. The meeting which took place last week was concerned with the subject of mission, and an evangelical speaker, Canon Mark Oxbrow, spoke about the Evangelical understanding and practice of mission. His interesting lecture was followed by a period of honest questions and answers which did not shy away from the difficult relationship between some Evangelical mission organisations and Orthodox communities.
Father Peter greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet with Eastern Orthodox clergy and laity, as well as Evangelicals who have a commitment to dialogue with Orthodox Christians. Almost the first person that he spoke with turned out to have a background in the Plymouth Brethren, as does Father Peter. Other participants included the former principal of the bible college that Father Peter attended when he was himself an Evangelical.
The meeting was entirely positive and worthwhile, and Father Peter is looking forward to the next meeting of the Dialogue in October when an Orthodox participant will speak about mission from the Orthodox perspective.