This will be the first in a series of occasional weekday/Saturday liturgies and other services which are intended as an opportunity for those who are not able to come out on Thursday evenings to worship with us. More regular services will follow (sometime after the month of June, during which I will be filling in for Fr. Lawrence at St. Herman's), leading to the eventual celebration of Sunday Liturgies, as God provides and in His time. This has all been in the works since even before St John's began meeting in August of last year, so it is a great blessing to see the vision of a daughter mission of St. Herman's in Vancouver coming more and more to fruition, especially in this, our first liturgy! Many thanks to all who have been praying for and supporting us.
Special thanks are due to Fr. Lawrence for all his guidance and assistance in this endeavour. It has been and continues to be a great blessing to be able to work so closely with my spiritual father, through whom the mission field of the Lower Mainland has been so throughly and so ably prepared for the reception of the faith in all its fullness!
For the sake of clarity, it is worth mentioning again what has been mentioned before. While His Grace, Bishop SERAPHIM has blessed St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Mission as an outreach of St. Herman's in Vancouver, and even specifically enjoined St. Herman's to continue supporting it, there has never been any expectation that the members of St. Herman's who live in Vancouver will necessarily leave St. Herman's to begin attending St. John's. This is one of the reasons St. John's has begun as a hybrid: both a mission to Vancouver and a ministry to the members of St. Herman's in Vancouver. Mission is primarily about new growth, and, while there needs to be a faithful core around which new growth can coalesce, mission work is a difficult and dangerous business that is not for everyone to undertake! His Grace put it well in his letter blessing the dual work of Fr. Christopher and myself in the city of Vancouver:
The physical placement of any community, anywhere in BC, is in no way to be considered something 'territorial', or limited by spatial boundaries. In the Orthodox Church everywhere, the faithful go where they feel their heart is called to be, or where, for them, there is greater peace. Always and everywhere, it is true that people will pass one temple in order to go to another. The placement of that temple is according to God's blessing. Who goes to each is also according to that blessing.May God continue to "bless us, every one", as He calls us to ever-greater labour, responsibility, self-sacrifice, and love for our own salvation and for the sake of His Kingdom!