Monday, December 3, 2007

Back in church

One of the early entries in this journal had to do with our being prayed for and anointed by the rector of our parish, Fr. Sergei Ovsiannikov, the Sunday before the transplant operation. Since that Sunday -- the 28th of October, five weeks ago -- we’ve not been able to attend the liturgy, though in various ways the parish has come to us: a special prayer service in the church the day of the operations, communion brought to us twice, visits at both hospital and home from parishioners, plus cards and notes beyond counting.

At last yesterday we were able to return to church. The welcome was remarkable, including from people in the parish whom we had never had occasion to speak with in the past (keep in mind that in recent years ours has become a large parish, with several hundred people present each Sunday). One of the women who speaks only Russian embraced us and, with many joyful exclamations, spoke to each of us at length. We understood hardly a word, but felt showered in love. One of the Eritrean woman who speaks very little Dutch did the same in her native language.

There was another event to celebrate -- the news of the birth on Wednesday of a daughter, Maria, to Tanya and Deacon Hildo Bos. After more than a decade of hoping for a child, they had begun exploring the possibilities of adoption when Tanya realized she was pregnant.

After the coffee hour, our friend of many years, Fr. Stephen Headley, rector of the Orthodox parish in Vezeley, France, gave a lecture on the late Metropolitan Anthony, longtime leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Britain and one of the prime movers in the foundation of our parish nearly thirty years ago. (Photos are in the parish set on our Flickr site.)

A long day in Amsterdam ended with a housewarming celebration at Wendy’s new apartment.

It was nearly eight at night when at last we were back in Alkmaar.

(Photo: During the coffee hour after the liturgy, Jim in conversation with Marina van der Kamp, Nancy with Ann Headley. Photo by Vlad Dobrovinski. Double-click to enlarge.)

No comments: