I'm sorry things have been quiet here lately. I haven't really been following any of the blogs I usually like to visit and I haven't got round to putting any thought into some decent posts for my own. Even the recent book review isn't new but has been saved to drafts for a few weeks as I didn't want to post it until the current edition of Orthodox News had been posted out.
The simple truth is that I'm busy. Holy Week and Pascha are fast approaching and I have to prepare all of the services, including music and such like. Also, because this is the first year my parish is worshipping in an actual church rather than a private home, we are offering a fuller provision as far as the services go, so there is more to learn, and more to get ready. It's all very exciting and I very much appreciate having this sense of worthwhile purpose but it just keeps me busy. I also realise that, now that we are operating more publicly and people are beginning to come to us who were not part of the tight-knit group who met in the house, and who are perhaps new to Orthodoxy, service booklets would be very beneficial for some of our regular services in addition to these seasonal ones.
We have four weddings coming up as well, the first being on St Thomas Sunday, so straight after Pascha. I think it is wonderful that our church is being used in this way and that we can open our doors to people who are ready to take this important step in their lives. Weddings in the past have always been informal affairs for us, usually with the bride or bridegroom being a parishioner, with a few people in our house chapel. There haven't been a great many - perhaps one every couple of years - so we have never had service wedding booklets and we have always just found some music from somewhere as and when needed. Now that they seem to be happening more frequently, I have compiled, (and in part composed), a collection of music for weddings, and a choir book, and service booklets will be needed as well.
This past year has seen a series of "firsts" for us. I don't think any of us really anticipated just how much of an impact moving into a new church would have on us, how we worship, how we function, how others relate to us, or indeed how much work would be involved. We are learning, and slowly adapting.
Aside from parish life, I am in the middle of deadlines at the moment for a periodical, the editorial team of which I was recently invited to join. I have been assigned my first issue. This is all very new to me and I just hope I can meet people's expectations. I must admit to a certain amount of fumbling in the dark, but hopefully a conversation this weekend should help.
This weekend is the diocesan service of Holy Unction at the cathedral, which I first experienced last year. It was incredibly moving and reminded me of the excitement and awe that I felt when I first visitied an Orthodox church. It will be a full weekend, however. I plan to set off from home in the wee hours of Saturday morning to get to the Liturgy at the cathedral for 9 o' clock, (I'm sure it was 10 o' clock last year, which seems more reasonable). Then the Unction service will be at about 3 o' clock in the afternoon, followed closely by the vigil. I plan to stay in London overnight and go to the cathedral again on Sunday for the Liturgy, before setting off for home in the afternoon. Then I shall come home and sleep for a very long time.
I hope to be able to post more soon, perhaps with a little news next week.
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