The Annual Lecture & Service at St. Felix, Babingley, which traditionally conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which was scheduled for Saturday, 19, January, has had to be cancelled as a result of the sudden cold spell, bringing with it heavy snow and serious disruption on the roads. Nicolas Crampton, founder of Eastern Christian Links, was due to speak on “Nicaea Revisited.” Abba Seraphim said that this was the first occasion in 12 years that the annual lecture had not been held. He stated that the lecture would be re-scheduled for a later date, but he would arrange this for a time when it would not be a hostage to the weather. “We have just installed new heaters at St Felix, so we could have managed with the low outside temperatures, but I am anxious not to put people at risk of accidents or being unable to return home safely and I do agree with the advice not to make unnecessary journeys if they can be avoided.” For the same reason, there will be no Sunday service at St. Felix on 20 January.
The severe weather which has caused a great deal of chaos in the United Kingdom over the past few weeks resulted in services being cancelled at the Babingley, Chatham and Charlton churches last weekend, 19 December. Even after the snow had stopped falling, the icy roads and wintry conditions made it dangerous to travel and public transport was largely brought to a standstill. One of Father Peter Farrington’s daughters, returning home from Spain for Christmas, found her flight diverted from Gatwick to Luton. As it landed passengers were instructed to brace themselves for an emergency-style landing. Her journey home through the snow took over six hours.
Babingley, being near the Norfolk coast, has suffered heavy snow and sub zero temperatures with Deacon Mark reporting that near him they reached -1o C, although Fr. Anthony Clements in Dumfries reported overnight temperatures there had plummetted to -17 C. At Cusworth, however, the annual Christmas Carol service was well attended with the congregation wrapped up to wiuthstand the cold. On the previous Sunday Father David Seeds baptised and chrismated two new adult members into the Church. Father Simon Smyth also reported that the main roads were clear between Portsmouth and Bournemouth and services there were uninterrupted and the new underfloor heating made quite a difference. Abba Seraphim expressed regret at the cancellation of services but said he was concerned that church members should be safe and that their welfare was paramount. By God’s grace he had not heard of any accidents to church members either when driving or through the icy conditions on the streets although he admitted that he himself had fallen over on the ice just outside the Church Secretariat, though without serious injury !