On Sunday, 7 May at St. Mary & St. Felix Church at Babingley, special prayers of thanksgiving were offered for the return to health of Deacon Mark Saunders, who was last at church on New Year’s Day, having suffered a period of poor health which had resulted in a long stay in various hospitals and rest homes. Deacon Mark drove himself to church and was warmly welcomed by the clergy and the congregation.
In his address, Abba Seraphim spoke of the various images of the Church: as a community and a family, but essentially as the Body of Christ and quoted the Apostle Paul, who said that if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it (I Corinthians XII: 26). During his physical absence Deacon Mark remained very much in the thoughts and prayers of the worshippers at Babingley, from which the Sacrament was carried to him; but equally from his sick bed he remained united in prayer with the worship at Babingley, as prayer transcends time and space and reaches out to God from our hearts. The church’s intercession for all manner and conditions of men encompasses the living and the departed, including the sick and those in various types of need. The respect and affection in which Deacon Mark is held meant that up and down the country and even abroad the prayers and good wishes of others were united with the worshippers at Babingley. Only that morning a message of greeting had been received from mainland China rejoicing in his return to church today.
As a practical man of action, whilst he may be frustrated by the restrictions which age and health now impose on him, his presence among us and his prayers are greatly cherished, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James V: 16).