Missions Now!

The missions belonging to the Western Rite within the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad have launched a society to raise funds for their growth and work. I am sure that any assistance that you are able to give would be gratefully received and will go towards the spreading of the holy and saving Faith, for the salvation of God's people.

The website for information and donations is here and the Facebook page is here.

Under Metropolitan Hilarion, the Western Rite has received a degree of support and encouragement unknown in the Church Abroad since the time of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco. It is truly uplifting to see his missionary vision once again restored to the Russian Orthodox Church, which was at the forefront of Western Rite missionary plans before, and even for some time after the revolution and difficult times that this brought.

May God bless their endeavours and bring all who seek Him into his holy Church.

5 responses:

ex_fide said...

It would really be an ideal time to start a Western-rite Mission in London and the South East.

Michael said...

All it takes is a handful of willing and dedicated people with the right spirit, my friend. There are currently missions in Bournemouth and South Molton in the Southwest, and that's how they started. A potential challenge is getting people to understand that there is real work to do in founding a mission. People who come from a larger, established parish may be accustomed to being spoonfed. This may not apply so much to the people who are involved in planning and orchestrating the worship, balanacing the books, seeing to the maintenance of the building, and such like, but to the rest, they simply go to church and are accustomed to everything just happening. They may take for granted that there will be a priest, a church building, good music, all of the appurtenances of worship readily available, and may have a shock when a romantic idea of being Orthodox gives way to the reality of actually being involved in founding a mission: finding somewhere to worship, doing without a priest for weeks at a time, possibly home-growing a priest in the long-term, leading 6 or 7 people in the music. It is all perfectly possible but just takes a bit of imagination and willing.

Trying to find somewhere to worship that is both suitable and affordable is perhaps least among the difficulties, (music may be easier or more difficult depending on the actual people). Private homes can be useful at first but can be off-putting to many English people. Anglican, especially Anglo-Catholic, churches have a history of offering hospitality to Orthodox congregations without their own buildings but the times they are able to offer may not be convenient if only the main church is available. If there are meeting rooms and other facilities, though, these may be available and easily converted each Sunday into a reasonable place of worship, in which case there's no reason to restrict the search to Anglican churches. My parish once worshipped in a Presbyterian church hall for a few months, which was more than adequate. They were incredibly generous to us, as many Protestant churches often are - removed from establishment, when approached for use of their facilities by other Christians, they often don't immediately think "rent" but rather "hospitality".

There is such a shortage of Roman Catholic priests in parts of the country that sometimes two or three parishes share a priest. This means that it often isn't difficult to find a Catholic church where the only Sunday mass is the vigil mass on Saturday evening. (I discovered this when a Catholic friend was coming to stay with me and I was looking for somewhere that he could go to church.) This means that the church is free on Sunday mornings. That might be another possibility.

It can be an exciting time, I imagine, and one with great spiritual benefits.

If you are serious that it might be a good time to start a mission in those areas, I would strongly suggest getting in touch with Hieromonk Michael (through that donations website), and giving him some details of the who and where of the people who might be interested. There may be interested parties who feel isolated and consider it nothing more than a romantic dream, perhaps not being aware of half a dozen other people within a few miles of them who are thinking the same thing. Just imagine what could come of that in a few years' time. :-)

Jon Marc said...

God grant this work to grow!

Handyman said...

I am wondering if anyone knows the present state of Father Aidan Keller of Texas? Last I heard (as of August (2010) he was living out of a suticase waiting to move into new church property in Austin, Texas.

Has his parish been restored then?

Anyone with information on this, please post a response on this blog.

Father Vladimir Raasch

Michael said...

Welcome, Father Vladimir.

The last time I spoke with Fr Aidan, he did indeed mention plans of a new living arrangement with a view to a more grounded monastic day to day life, but there wasn't a great deal of certainty about timescales and things. He did post to his blog a few weeks back that he would be incommunicado for a while, at least electronically. However, I have noticed that he has been posting to Orthodox websites within the past few days so it appears that he now has at least sporadic internet access and he may well be receiving e-mails now, although I imagine that he is very busy, juggling work, the practicalities of moving, and catching up on correspondence, which is why I haven't tried to get in touch with him.

I'm sure a comment expressing concern and assurance of prayers on his most recent blog post would be very much appreciated. (The blog is linked from my sidebar, in case you are unfamiliar with it.)


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