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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Western Rite Ship in London Encounters Rocks

From Fr. Hieromonk Michael (Mansbridge-Wood) of Australia, Jan. 16, 2010:

"Well, our celebrations in the cathedral lasted only a few Sundays. Now Archbishop Mark has demanded that our service should finish before the Eastern Rite service in the upper church starts at 10.00 (in order not to "undermine" their service!!). This would mean my getting up at 03.00, driving out my front gate before 04.00 and starting the service in London 100 miles away at 07.30 in order to finish before they start. Our opponents know very well that this is not going to happen. They know very well that London is a very large city indeed and that our congregation is eclectic and that they simply cannot get to the church in Chiswick by 07.30. So, no more services in the cathedral. However, services continue in Southbourne and next Tuesday, we will celebrate the Epiphany in the beautiful Resurrection Chapel in central Bournemouth..."

My response: I wonder if something can still be worked out. For example, could one omit Matins and Litany, and start the eucharistic service at 8:45, make a very short sermon, and finish just before 10:00? Many parishes start at 9:00 a.m.; 8:45 is not too far off from that. I just wonder if there is some possibility yet for a work-around. Are sounds from the service below leaking into the church above? I hope our London brethren and sistren will not lose heart. In many Russian cathedrals that have an all-Slavonic Liturgy at 10:00, there will be an 8:00 a.m. English-language Liturgy (I find 8:00 rather early!) Is there any London "parishioner" whose house could be used? In Austin we meet in a small mobile-home chapel difficult to find, not well heated and cooled, having no restroom, no narthex, no church sign, and yet we have grown tremendously in just a year and are looking to buy a place. But I do admit that having disadvantageous circumstances makes it more difficult to establish more than a minimal attendance.

Our prayers are with you all in England.


PC said...

As someone who wanted to come to the WRO service this is disappoining news.

However, disregarding the politics, Chiswick was the wrong place. Public transport in England on Sundays is not good and to attract the diverse people who are interested (and I believe there is potentially a considerable number of people who would be attracted over time) somewhere in Central London accessible easily coming in from radial routes.

What about the separate chapel at Ennismore Gardens - has Bishop Elisey been approached?

PC said...

I might add that it doesn't help when the clergy concerned don't respond to emails from persons interested in supporting them.

At the risk of impertinence I would also suggest that Fr. Michael's 'pitch' especially on 'Forward in Orthodox Faith' is not the best aimed, primarily, at disaffected Anglicans, criticising the Anglican Church yet asking the same to house the mission.

In England I would suggest that most potential converts to WRO left Anglicanism a long time ago and the largest potential 'markets' - forgive the crude references to commercialism - are amongst those who have long since given up the formal worship of the Almighty on Sundays and the growing number of RCs who are dismayed by the current RC pope and his attempts to 'turn the clock' back to the worst excesses of popery and centralisation.

Fr. Aidan said...

Since with email one never knows for sure whether someone received the communication (spam filters, mis-routes to the wrong folder, etc.), perhaps you might phone Fr. Michael with your communication.

He ought to hear about your Ennismore Gardens idea and know of your interest. May the Mother of God accompany you.

Our doors are open to those who are hurting. Still, one should become Orthodox for a thousand right reasons, rather than simply flee heterodoxy or try to perpetuate, inside Orthodoxy, the same church life one knew outside it. So, in that sense, I identify with your comment.