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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A visiting concert in the Church of the Resurrection

Here are some photos from a concert held at the Church of the Resurrection last Saturday by the Bucharest Christian Academy ensemble. They gave a lovely concert titled "Music through the ages" to a packed church. At the start of the year they had never sang together but this international collection of young people gave a thoroughly professional performance and had just cut their own CD a week before they sang in our church. They received a standing ovation at the end.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday School.............and cakes..............and more

One of the many encouraging signs of the presence of God in our worship at the Church of the Resurrection is our ever growing Sunday School, which is capably and enthusiastically led by Frans and Hankey, a family from the Netherlands who are currently living in Romania. They bring with them an immediate class as they have four beautiful daughters who brighten our worship every week with their sunny smiles and their wonderful range of clothes!

At the end of each service the Sunday School shares with us their work of the morning and it is always a much looked forward to part of our worship.

On the first Sunday of every month we hold a produce sale at the end of the service, and today it was possible to get a wonderful photograph of Frans and Hankey's youngest daughter eating a much deserved cake after her morning study in the Sunday School!
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Visitors from the USA

This Sunday we had a full house at the Church of the Resurrection, as we welcomed over 30 visitors from an Episcopal church in Connecticut, USA, as well as their families and friends who are living and working all over Europe.

It was a pleasure to have them with us as they begin a week long visit to Romania, visiting churches and monasteries all over the country.

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News from Sofia


Having already had their civil ceremony, Gino and Mira from our Sofia congregation tied the knot for the second time on Saturday, in the Greek Catholic Church in Sofia. A lovely service was given in Bulgarian by a priest who also spoke Italian, having trained in Rome. Gino's father is Italian, his mother is British (hence the Anglican connection) and they met in Switzerland, so a plethora of languages was in evidence and a few children added to the song!

Gino and Mira are now off on their honeymoon to the Sinai desert to spend time with the Bedouins and gaze up at the night sky. We wish them a long and happy marriage!

Photo 1 - someone caught the bouquet!

Photo 2 - the happy couple.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

May Day in Bucharest-running for life!

May Day in Romania is a national holiday, and there are lots of different activities organised all over the country to take advantage of the free time.

One of the leading schools in Romania is the American International School of Bucharest (AISB). For the last 8 years AISB has organised an annual fun run linked to the charity Terry Fox Run for Life. Terry Fox was a Canadian who contracted cancer and even though he lost a leg as part of his treatment he started to run all around Canada to raise awareness of cancer and to raise funds for the fight against this vicious killer.

Sadly, he died before he completed the challenge, but his spirit lives on and all over the world the spirit of running for life is maintained. In the first seven years of holding the runs in Bucharest, AISB raised over $70, 000 for cancer research and this will be further augmented when the funds are all gathered in for the 2008 Run.

This year the sun shone on the righteous (and even on the unrighteous) and literally hundreds of people from very young children right through to rather old bloggers ran the five plus kilometres to ensure that Terry Fox although no longer with us in person, remains firmly with us in spirit. Before we ran there was a superb mass warm up organised by the World Class Fitness Academy of Bucharest and then the torture started!

Unbelievably, the Blog ended the run in fourth position. However, the results were immaterial, the only important result is that as well as having a fun day in the fresh air it was possible to raise lots of money to continue the fight against cancer.

Terry Fox-Rest in Peace!

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