Sunday, May 31, 2009

Service of Blessing for Logan Dimitri

On 31 May, Pentecost Sunday, as part of our Sunday worship we included a service of blessing for Logan Dimitri, son of one of our regular congregants, Scott Heaslet and his wife Daniela. Scott's parents had travelled from Texas for the baptism of their first grandson last week in Ochrid, as well as the Anglican service of blessing.

The blessing coincided with the visit of our Priest in Charge, Fr Robin Fox, from Belgrade. Father Robin presided and preached at the service.

The service was another challenge of concentration and perseverence as our Roman Catholic hosts had a major service of confirmation in the main church immediately beside the side chapel where we worship. However, we survived, and by the end of the service we numbered 16-including of course the newest member of our church family, baby Logan Dimitri!

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekend in Halkidiki

Not too far from Skopje is the beautiful area of Greece popularly known as the three fingers of Halkidiki. Each finger is a peninsula, equally beautiful and with plenty of places to stay, and enjoy the sea, sun, and sand.

Last weekend we visited the second finger and stayed in a wonderful family run villa close to Nikiti. It is only a four hour drive from Skopje but the contrast was incredible. It was wonderful to wake up to the sound of the cockerel crowing (took me back to growing up on our farm in England!). Then the birds took over the dawn chorus-it was nature at its most beautiful.

Our days were simple, catching the sun and swimming in the bay that was literally 30 metres from our apartment. The water was clear and warm, and hardly a wave in sight. Lunch each day was a hghlight-our local taverna had an incredible view overlooking the bay and the fish and salads were so fresh and delicious, it was like living a dream.

On Monday it was time to return to Skopje-back to life, back to reality, but much refreshed after a weekend in peace and tranquility!

Next time the first finger..............................
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunday worship in Sofia

On Sunday 17th May we held the mnothly service in Sofia. Following the departure for England of our Chaplain Martin Jacques we are currently starting an interregnum, where we are determined that the pattern of worship will not be affected.

It was a wonderful privilege to be back in Sofia particularly as the congregation there now has the use of a Roman Catholic chapel for their services. This was my first visit for almost three years and as I had expected almost all of the faces were new, although it was wonderful to renew acquaintances with one or two old and dear friends.

Martin had told me that my welcome would be warm and he did not exagerate. We had a wonderful congregation, eventually reaching almost thirty people, and the service was rounded off with great fellowship both in the immediate coffee time immediately afterwards and then in the second coffee break on the terrace of a nearby cafe.

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All in a day's work.......!

In that wonderful British classic "Open All Hours" Ronnie "Arkwright" Barker used to often round off the episode with a comment along the lines of -it's been a funny old day!

That comment came to mind last Sunday (10th May)-it was a wonderful and certainly action packed day. It started early with the Skopje Marathon at 9am. The early start was very well timed because even at such an early hour the sun was really powerful. A group of colleagues from the EU Mission, led by our Ambassador Erwan Fouere took part in the 5km run along with many hundreds of other fun runners. By the end of the 5km many of us were wondering where the fun part was!

After a long hot shower and a much appreciated breakfast it was time to head for church for our 1200 service. Getting there proved an enormous challenge as most of the access roads were still closed off because of the Marathon and even then our problems were not over. Our hosts, in the Roman Catholic cathedral ,were holding a major service to celebrate the election of a new Bishop and their service went on and on and on and on. In the end we made a very quiet start in the side chapel and gradually spread our wings and lifted our singing voices when their service finally ended.

The day was rounded off in spectacular style with a barbecue in our garden, very kindly provided by the family that owns our house. The house was wonderful, the food tasted great, and after the morning run a glass of beer tasted like nectar!

All in all, a wonderful, if funny old day. And yet another day when God's gifts were powerfully displayed-wonderful weather, great fellowship shared with family and friends, the chance to worship Him, delicious food and drinks. Praise be to Him!

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Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1st in Macedonia

As with most countries in Europe, May 1st is a holiday in Macedonia. Although the weather was not so good, we joined many other citizens of Skopje in heading the beautiful Matka canyon.

Matka is a wonderful combination of the works of man combined with the gifts of God. A beautiful valley has been even further enriched by the building of a hydro electical dam that has created both beautiful scenery and a really interesting path for walking.

Unfortunately the day that started cold very soon had rain as an added bonus, proving once again that man can plan holidays and places to visit, but only God decides what will be the weather!

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