Patronal Festival Celebrations in Mettingham

I had the great pleasure over the past weekend of being the house guest of Reader Mark and his wife Elizabeth from the church of Our Ladye of Mettingham in East Anglia, (or the Far East as my hosts call it). I visited for the church's patronal festival on Saturday and I had a splendid time. It was one of only two churches in our diocese that I had not visited and it was a joy to spend time with my friends and get to make new ones.

The Liturgy itself was served by Fr Philip Steer of the Sourozh diocese, with Deacon Andrew Bond serving with him.

The joy of the occasion was tempered only by our knowledge that the foundress of the church, Matushka Mary Bond, is very unwell and was unable to attend the celebrations. She is currently receiving round-the-clock care but her illness is such that it was considered inappropriate to sing the Many Years for her. Instead, she was commemorated with the singing of a solemn Kyrie, eleison. Please remember Matsuhka Mary and Deacon Andrew in your prayers.

For those who missed it on the Orthodox grapevine about two years ago, this is the newest purpose-built Orthodox church in Great Britain and is really a beautiful gem of a building. It is not a large building but is more than adequate for its purposes and gives a firm Orthodox witness in the Waveney Valley area. The church is dedicated to the Mother of God under her title of "The Joy of All Who Sorrow" and represents a restoration of love for the Most Holy Mother of God in an area where she was once held in great devotion.

Original plans for the church were laid aside with the expectation that planning permission would not be granted. Only the revised plans were rejected as being too unimaginative, with the suggestion from the planning department being more or less identical to what was desired in the first place, which was an octagonal nave. The result of this combined with the high ceiling and wooden floor results in a really quite amazing acoustic worthy of the musical efforts of the singers there, and adding to an immensely prayerful atmosphere conducive to the worship of God by his people. I had the great privilege of serving in the altar for the Liturgy and it was effortless. There was no worry or panic about the practicalities. It simply happened and I was able to pray. They are are certainly doing something right there and I hope and pray that the mission continues to grow.

Some photographs I managed to take may be viewed here.

2 responses:

margaret said...

I am currently praying the Akathist to St Luke the Surgeon and Wonderworker nightly for my own Matushka who is very ill and I will gladly add Deaconessa Mary to the intention.

Michael said...

Thank you, Margaret.

She has given so much - they both have - and it has been a very difficult time for Deacon Andrew. We served Small Compline at the church on Friday evening and I was really very worried about him. Fortunately, he seemed to have got a little more sleep by Sunday morning. His devotion is without fault and there are parishioners offering practical help but in praying for Mary, please do keep her husban in your prayers as well, that he may not neglect to look after his own health.

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