Dear brothers and sisters,
This is an invitation to the Oriental Orthodox Festival which will be taking place on Saturday May 8th, at the Coptic Centre, Shephalbury Manor Broadhall Way, Stevenage SG2 8RH from 10:30 am to 4 pm.
The Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches in the UK organises the Festival, and this year is grateful to His Grace Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church for offering the hospitality of the Coptic Centre at Stevenage.
The Festival includes a con-celebrated liturgy in which clergy of all of the member churches of the Oriental Orthodox community participate. A buffet lunch follows, made up of contributions brought by all of the participants at the festival, and the festival will conclude with a number of contributions from various Orthodox communities, which may include choirs performing hymns and songs from the various Orthodox traditions represented, and one or more short talks by some of the clergy.
The festival is an important opportunity for the various communities of the Oriental Orthodox communion in the UK to meet together to express our unity in the Orthodox Church, and to develop bonds of friendship and fellowship. It is important that as many clergy and people attend as possible to make the festival a success.
The festival will begin with a liturgy at 10:30 am which will conclude by 12:30 pm.
A shared lunch will follow.
After plenty of time for lunch and conversation it is hoped that a number of churches will provide contributions in the form of choral performances, and it is hoped that there will be one or two short talks.
The festival will conclude at 4pm.
Please advertise the festival among the clergy and people of your own Orthodox community. It would be helpful to have the festival added to the notices and news of your community over the next weeks. Please encourage your community members to attend the festival, where they will be able to worship with and meet members of all the other communities in our Oriental Orthodox communion.
It would be helpful if clergy could reply to this email indicating whether or not they will be leading a group to the festival. Please ensure that details of the festival are passed to other clergy and congregations in your Orthodox community.
If your churches have a choir then you are invited to perform a number of hymns or spiritual songs according to your own musical tradition. If your choir would like to perform for 10-15 minutes then please also reply to this email with details of the materials you would like to perform. If there are many choirs wishing to perform then the time for each choir may be shortened.
Please ensure that people and groups wishing to attend the festival are aware that they should bring a contribution of food for the shared meal. In the past this has been most enjoyable and the various Orthodox churches have brought their own traditional foods for others to share.
It would be most helpful if you could indicate if you will be attending, and how many people you expect to attend with you. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. I cannot guarantee to have the answer, but I will attempt to find out an answer for you.
Seeking your prayers
Father Peter Farrington
Secretary to the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches