Sunday, June 29, 2008

Church Garden Party 2008

On Friday evening the second annual Great British Garden Party was held in Bucharest in the beautiful settings of Aleea Alexandru. After ten days of unbroken sunshine and despite warnings of imminent storms, the sun shone on both the righteous and the unrighteous and a very large number of friends of the Church of the Resurrection attended and helped to raise over 5000 euros to support the mission of the Anglican church in Romania.

Preparations over the previous days had been frenetic and we waited anxiously to see what would go wrong on the day! Fortunately, the only problem was one of interpretation with our very kind sponsors, Metro, who provided all of the food for the evening. Next year we will know to ask for the different ingredients of the salad seperately, rattr than just for "salad" (if you know some Romanian, you may be aware that the Romanian word for lettuce is salat), and that is exactly what we got-20 euros worth of salat, in various forms and varieties-but all lettuce! We survived, and every guest was invited to take home as much lettuce/salat as they could use at the end of the evening!

All of our guests enjoyed a wonderful barbecue grill, washed down with cold draft beer or a variety of Romanian wines. For dessert there was Dutch pancakes and cheese. For entertainment for the children there was face painting and balloons, and our funds were bolstered by an auctions of gifts as well as a mega raffle. By the time the final guests left the sun had well and truly set on a wonderful and successful evening. Thank you to everyone for their support for the eveeng in many different ways, and in particularto our Chaplain, Martin Jacques, for the enormous and largely anonymous work that he put in to ensure that the Party was so well organuised.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

and a very special dinner party

Following the evensong service; HM Ambassador to Bucharest, His Excellency Robin Barnett, and his wife Tesca hosted a dinner party in honour of Bishop David's visit to Bucharest. Present at the dinner, as well as representatives of the Church of the Resurrection, were guests from the Orthodox Church, Greek Catholic Church, and Armenian Church in Romania.

Over dinner, many stories were shared about life in Bucharest and in particular the life of the Christian churches in Bucharest over the last 40 years and through these conversations it emerged the the Archbishop of the Armenian Church in Romania has served in Bucharest for over 50 years, and so was here already when Bishop David was Chaplain at the Church of the Resurrection.

The food was wonderful and the company and conversation outstanding. All in all, a perfect way to conclude the visit of our former chaplain. Bishop David, we are waiting for you to return on your next visit!

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A very special evensong.................

On Thursday evening we held a very special evensong in the Church of the Resurrection with Bishop david Hope as our Visiting Preacher and President. Even though it was a working day and Bucharest traffic was its usual 6pm chaos a large congregation gathered and we were privileged to listen to an insprired homily from Bishop David on giving thanks for what we have in our lives through living our lives for God.

It was a strange feeling to understand that we were worshipping God in the very same church were Bishop David had presided as Resident Chaplain so many years ago.

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Queen's Birthday Party in Bucharest

On June 18th the Official Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated in Bucharest. One of the guests of honour was Bishop David Hope, who was from 1967-68 Chaplain of the Church of the Resurrection in Bucharest, and then later Archbishop of York. Now enjoying a very active retirement, Bishop Hope is now one of the Assistant Bishops in the Diocese in Europe and in this way maintains his links with and interest in the life of our church in Romania.

For three days we were honoured to have Bishop David with us in Bucharest and in this time he increased our understanding of what life was really like in Bucharest some 40 years ago.

On the Tuesday evening members of the church council were invited to share a barbecue with Bishop David in the delightful gardens of Dieter Stanzeleit and then on Wednesday the QBP was held in the wonderful location of the Museum of Contemporary Art that is located within the Palace of Parliament.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

After church barbecue at Peris

Last Sunday, immediately following our morning service, we continued the summer tradition of the Church of the Resurrection to drive out to the village of Peris, home of long standing church members Nancy and Eugen, for a totally informal barbecue.

The sun shone on the righteous (and the rain failed to fall on the ungodly!) so it was wonderful to relax in the sunshine, to enjoy the beauty of Nancy and Eugen's wonderful house and garden, and to share the rich variety of foods and drinks that everybody who attended had brought along.

Our enormous thanks to Nancy and Eugen for once again making their home available to us. It was a wonderful when God's goodness was clearly visible in everything from the songs of the birds to the delicious taste of the foods that we were privileged to eat.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another very special member of our congregation

Another very special member of our congregation is Andrew Littauer. Andrew is also from USA, although he has been spending the vast majority of his time in Romania since he arrived as a USAID volunteer many years. It seems that he enjoyed his time as a volunteer very much because he stayed on in Bucharest and has established a very successful business that is constantly expanding and now provides employment for a large number of Romanians.

Andrew is a long standing member of our Church Council and an active supporter of every aspect of our work and witness. All members of the congregation were understandably shocked and distressed last year when he heard that Andrew had been diagnosed as having a brain tumour that gave a very poor prognosos for the future.

While Andrew received treatment and very extensive surgery in America his friends in Bucharest maintained a vigil of prayer and support. Those prayers have been answered because all the medical odds Andrew has made a full recovery and is now back in Bucharest, looking better than ever and is once again to be seen, week in and week out in his favourite position at the back of the Church of the Resurrection.

Welcome back home Andrew! We thank God for sharing you with us!
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Pat and Lionel leave our Sofia congregation

For many years our congregation in Sofia has been enriched by the presence and support of Pat and Lional Sainsbury. Pat has also been deeply involved in the International Womens Group in Sofia, whilst Lionel has used his skills as a mining engineer to try to ensure that the extension to the Sofia metro will work both safely and efficiently.

Lionel has been a faithful servant of the Church of the Resurrection in Sofia, ensuring the continuity of the congregation there and providing essential support to a succession of chaplains, including providing bed and breakfast on occasions!

Now Lionel and Pat move to a new life challenge back home in their beloved north east of England, and as a token of their love other members of the congregation presented them with a beautiful icon at the end of their last service in Sofia last Sunday.

Pat has written a poem, partly describing her emotions and feelings for Sofia. It is beautiful, and I hope that she does not mind it appearing in this blog! Here it is:

S is for sadness at the parting of ways
But also for serenity of more leisurely days.

O is for Oberishte, the chapel at Number 5,
And the onus on a faithful few to keep our small church alive.

F is for friends made here over the past six years.
Faith that we’ll keep in touch banishes tears

I is for the inspiration of the IWC,
Whose initiatives show how dazzling international efforts can be.

A is for appreciation of the privilege it has been
To live here in Bulgaria. May it realise its dream.

Happy retirement Lionel and Pat-and haste ye back to Sofia!
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A very special member of our congregation

Our congreagation comes from many different countries and many different church backgrounds. However, we have always had within our congregation a solid base of ex-patriate American citizens, many of them from the Episcopalian church. One of these is Irvin Dyer, father of Grace Victoria, who was baptised in the Church of the Resurrection last Saturday.

Irvin, and his father also before his untimely death, have been stalwart members of our church since the 1990s, and Grace is the fourth of Irvin's children to be baptised in the Church of the Resurrection.

Irvin is a tireless supporter of the church and is also deeply involved in the wider community in Bucharest and Romania. He is a personal counsellor on a totally voluntary basis to General Pavel Abrahams, President of the Romanian Anti Drugs Agency, and his efforts relating to the worldwide fight against drugs was recognised in January of this year when he received a personal citation from the United States Government. This was read on the floor of the House and is now included in the official records of the US Congress.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Grace Victoria is baptised!

On Saturday morning in the Church of the Resurrection Grace Victoria Dyer was baptised as a member of the Church of the Resurrection in Bucharest. This was a very special service with the combined participation of priests from the Romanian Orthodox Church and our own Church of England. This confirmed the long tradition of mutual recognition of our faiths beliefs and traditions and our close co-operation both in Romania and elsewhere.

The church was beautifully decorated and baby Grace believed perfectly throughout the service.

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Sunday service in Westminster Abbey

Sunday morning presented a wonderful opportunity to attend Sung Matins in Westminster Abbey. The service was well attended by a very cosmopolitan group from all over the world, and most if not all were enchanted and enthralled by the quality of the singing in the wonderful atmosphere of our national treasure.

The service was both refreshing and thought provoking, with a sermon given by the Resident Dean who turned out to be also an Assistant Bishop in our own Diocese in Europe!

On the following morning, I went back again to visit the Abbey to spend time again in the haunting beauty of where centuries of tradition are combined with a profound sense of prayer and contemplation. The queues of people waiting to visit the Abbey were extensive, proof again of its enduring appeal.

PS the photographs of the inside of the Abbey almost got the Blog into deep trouble with a seriously devoted usher!

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The Blog in London

Last weekend we visited London, it was a first visit for a long time and it was interesting to see how much had changed-including Heathrow Airport. Our British Airways flight landed in Terminal 5, which on that day at least was working seamlessly; although it did leave you with the feeling of being a midget in a house built for giants! One interesting reality was the number of Romanians who were arriving in heathrow with very little if any idea (and in one case money!) of how to connect either their ongoing flight (in one case via Terminal 3 and in another case from Gatwick) or with the evening bus journey to Street in Somerset. All was well that ended well!

The gardens in suburban Chelsea were as beautiful as ever, and in central London it was amazing to see how the London Eye has integrated into the mix of attractions that are "must sees" for visitors from all over the world. House Guards Parade and Trafalgar Square were as beautiful as ever-although as if nothing compared to Westminster Abbey........................

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