Time for a Break

My parish priest goes away tomorrow and will be away for three weeks. Our parishioners are spread somewhat far and wide so it is often easier to pray together at home if there is no Liturgy. Last year, a handful of us met for the Hours and Typika on the Sundays when Fr Paul was away and it was quite lovely. However, this year, this will be difficult.

What this means for me, however, is that I get three weeks where I don't have to compile services for a deadline, work out rules of occurrence, typeset music, or journey forty miles and back twice over the course of a weekend. I actually enjoy most of those things but it can be a little tiring at times and it's just good to have a break.

So, what shall I do? Well...

This coming Sunday I shall perhaps visit my local Ukrainian parish of St Volodymyr, a mere half hour's walk from home. I also plan to go there the following Sunday so, if possible, I would like to visit somewhere that I previously haven't been to but I'm not sure how possible that will be. I have served at St Volodymyr's on two occasions in the past and they are always incredibly welcoming. The sense of community is heart-warming, the music is splendid, and the Liturgy is straight-down-the-line by the book - so much so that, despite the priest who was there last time I visited not speaking English and my complete lack of Ukrainian, we were able to serve together in harmony, with no fuss or confusion. Just the ticket.

The following Saturday will be the annual pan-Orthodox pilgrimage to St Bertram's tomb and spring in Ilam, Derbyshire, which is always a good time of prayer and fellowship with people not otherwise often seen. I plan to take a friend to that, and then go to the Ukrainians again the next day.

Then, the Sunday after that, Fr Evgeny, from the Pokrov parish in Manchester will be back from his holidays and I hope to serve at the Liturgy there. I first met him about two years ago at our cathedral when he was a deacon on loan from Ennismore Gardens, and instantly warmed to him. I had read that he had been ordained to the priesthood earlier this year and was delighted the last time I visited the parish and entered the altar to find that the new priest who is serving the parish was none other than Fr Evgeny. After the Liturgy, I assisted at what was perhaps the most challenging baptism I have ever witnessed - three children of about two years of age, all aware of their surroundings and all offering protest in their own way, plus one young lady, likely in her twenties, who made not a peep. It was all great fun and very rewarding. Next time, though, I think I'll check in advance whether there will be a baptism. I still intend to help but I'd just like to be prepared.

So that is what I have to look forward to for the next three Sundays: services for which I have to do nothing but turn up - no planning; no thumbing through books of rubrics; no arduous and panic-filled journey as coaches run late, railways have maintenance work being performed, and taxis don't turn up - leisurely bliss!

Yet I'll not be entirely at a loose end as far as church goes, as I still have things to keep me off the streets. Our catechumen will be baptised shortly after we return to our normal cycle of services, so I have the excitement of a baptismal Liturgy to compile. In addition to some other private, non-parish-related projects, I am also working on a series of Taking Part in the Liturgy leaflets for church, touching on various aspects of the people's participation which could be encouraged or at least better explained now that we have an actual church and sufficient room for fuller ceremonial and devotions. I'm quite looking forward to the next few weeks.

More soon, no doubt.

6 responses:

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Enjoy the change, Michael !

I hope the pilgrimage goes well and that you are blessed with good weather. Don't forget to take your camera.... !!

GretchenJoanna said...

You have a busy three weeks ahead of you, and I pray you are refreshed by the change of activity. Thank God.

Michael said...

Thank you, both!

I'm sorry, Elizabeth. I forgot my camera for the DIY. The curtain is now in place and works a treat. Someone actually asked me on Sunday whether it was operated by some sort of electronic device, which shows that it's now less distracting than me pushing past Fr Paul to pull the curtain cross. All I do is pull the cord. C'est magique! I'll try to remember it for the pilgrimage.

GretchenJoanna, hello again. :-) Good to see you. Thank you for your prayers. This isn't so much busyness for me as it is being able to do something I enjoy and find relaxing. I miss visiting different parishes and love seeing how things come out in the wash in different places. I've worked out that I can get to a Serbian parish fairly quickly and inexpensively so I think I'll go there on Sunday, then to the Ukrainain parish the next, then the Russian one after that. I think we in Britain can learn so much from Slavic hospitality. It really is on a whole other level.

GretchenJoanna said...

Michael, would that we all were "busy" as you are, making good use of any extra leisure time, about the Lord's work as usual, relaxed and happy in Him. I just realized that busyness has a bad connotation...or maybe it was just the wrong word for me to use. Just today I was reminded to be grateful that I have so many good ideas and activities to engage me, rather than to complain about being too busy. God help me to enjoy it all in His presence.

Miss Tilney said...

I see the paw of Lady Perpetua in this excellently devised scheme to keep you occupied. There is nothing worse, and I am sure Lady Perpetua agrees with me, than clergy loitering in the streets. One always feels obliged to telephone the Bishop and report it.

Ian Climacus said...

Sounds like an exciting 3 weeks; and the pilgrimage sounds particularly interesting to me -- being in a land with no pilgrimage sites.

And I too was challenged to look how I spend my time, and my beliefs about my busy-ness; thank you.

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