Fellowship news: resources for you

Fellowship activities have been affected like everyone else in this time of uncertainty. We have compiled a list of resources for your use: live streamed services, talks and sermons, other information and even events. Please take a look and we hope this will be helpful. It is not an exhaustive list so you can make suggestions for additions by emailing us.

We have limited stock remaining of our 2020 Calendar and Lectionary, now reduced to £4 per copy including postage. While you are at home, this might be a useful resource to keep up with daily readings, if you do not have other means. You can ask for a copy via the contact form on our calendar page.

We are also thinking about future Fellowship events. There will be no summer conference this year, and how we hold events over the next months and years may need to be different. For example, our popular annual Youth Festival was due to be the usual residential event at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex, the place where St Cedd built a monastery. The youth committee was able to change the format to an online conference, with more people able to participate than ever: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Australia, USA, Georgia, Romania, Russia and more. It may be that the Festival and other events continue to incorporate an online element, even when we can meet in person again.

God bless you and keep you in these testing times.

God permits tribulations and adversities to befall people – even the saintly – so that they may persist in humility. But if we harden out hearts against adversities and tribulations, he also hardens these tribulations against us. On the other hand, if we accept them in humility and with a contrite heart, God will mingle tribulation with mercy.

St Isaac the Syrian
Fresco of St John the Baptist, Optina Monastery, Russia

Study weekend on St Irenaeus of Lyons

We are delighted that Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe will lead the Fellowship’s next study weekend, organised and hosted by the Orthodox Parish of St Dunstan in Poole. Bishop Irenei has spoken at Fellowship events when he was previously in the UK, and we are very grateful that he has agreed to come and speak again.

Truth in the Face of Heresy: Spiritual Life in the Witness of St Irenaeus of Lyons

21-23 February 2020, with services at St Dunstan’s as well as the talks.

If you would like to come along and find out more about this wonderful saint of the Western Church, please complete the attached application form.  £50 per participant, but please contact us if you will need some financial help to attend.  Accommodation should be booked by participants separately, but Poole has many hotels and guesthouses to choose from.

Come and see!

2020 Study Weekend Application

Conference places available!

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There are still places available at our 40th anniversary conference, 19-21 July at The Hayes conference centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire:

40 things you didn’t know about Orthodoxy

Come along and hear our fantastic speakers on the founding and first 40 years of the Fellowship; the next 40 years for Orthodoxy in this country; 40 days with the Bible; living under the patronage of St John the Baptist; and finding God in the wilderness.

Places are still available, but contact us soon – link to the application form below.

OFSJB 2019 summer conference application form

£210 for non-member, £200 for members, £180 for unwaged or students. Let us know if a bursary would help you attend if you cannot afford the full amount.

Hope to see you there!

Events in 2019

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The Fellowship events in 2019 have begun with an excellent study weekend 1-3 February hosted by the welcoming Parish of St Demetrios in Edmonton, North London. [The photographs in this post are all from that event and we appreciate the parish allowing us to use them.] The study weekend was on the theme of “Truth, Love and Fellowship in the Epistles of Saint John“. We heard from Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, who introduced the epistles to us.  The main themes were taken up by different speakers: Dr Krastu Banev focussed on Fellowship; Fr Chrysostomos Tympas spoke about Truth; and Fr Kristian Akselberg spoke on Love. But our discussions were far wider and included baptism, the influence of the saints in our lives, prayer for others, how we should treat other Christians and non-Christians, art, how to love, and a whole host of other issues. It was a great start to our year! We thank Fr John Hookway and all the Parish for generously hosting the weekend.

And this was only the start! The Youth branch will be having their annual festival 24-27 May for 18-35 year olds on “Discovering Orthodoxy through our Saints“, held at the Othona community in Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex.

We would love for you to join us at our summer conference, 19-21 July at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire, where we will be discussing the intriguing topic of “40 things you didn’t know about Orthodoxy“. It is a special event, our 40th anniversary conference, so please come and help us celebrate, join in spiritual fellowship, and learn some new things about the faith! OFSJB 2019 summer conference application form

In September, we hope to have a meal in Oxford close to the feast of the Conception of St John the Baptist, at which all will be welcome. More details to come!

Don’t forget, the Women’s Ministries Initiative hold their own events such as study days, and the Mosaic Choir will be performing in various places at various times.  If you know of other events that we should include on our calendar, please let us know.

Come and see!

John Speak (1944-2018) – Memory Eternal!

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John pictured (front row centre) at the pilgrimage and study day in Ely

John was formerly Chairman of the Orthodox Fellowship of St John the Baptist. He was born in Wakefield and was a scientist, graduating at Oxford in Physics in 1966. He retired in 2004 after 27 years’ service at Stamford School in Lincolnshire. Colleagues have spoken warmly of John and his work, one saying it was a privilege to work with such an expert physicist.

John began his long association with 2, Canterbury Road at Oxford, living there when Donald Allchin married him to Marilyn in 1966 and the wedding reception was held in the garden. John and Marilyn had 3 children and 9 grandchildren, to whom he was devoted.

John encountered Nicholas Zernov and the Orthodox Church at Oxford, but it was not until 1988, when he felt able to travel for services, that he was received into the Church by Father Barnabas of New Mills, Wales.

John cared deeply for the Orthodox Fellowship of St John the Baptist. As chairman (2007-2013), he was extremely conscientious, an examiner of detail, who always acted with the utmost integrity. He was warmly appreciative of others, praising the time and expertise that so many members gave to the Fellowship. John spent many hours on the important revision of the Fellowship constitution approved in 2013, that included the important provision that a President should be appointed in the Fellowship from among the Bishops of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly. John supported all Fellowship activities including the Youth Festivals. He was delighted to see young members coming in to take over his work.

John was a member of the Rutland and Peterborough Theological Societies and a valued supporter of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge – in all three bodies, he was well known for asking penetrating theological questions.

John appeared to be recovering slowly from a stroke, but he was too weak for the medical team to operate on a leaking heart valve and infection. He knew he was dying, but was peaceful after Father Raphael Armour, priest from the parish of St Ephraim the Syrian in Cambridge, came and ministered to him. John in his weak physical condition, listened to recorded liturgies, making the sign of the cross, so was full of faith and in communion with the Church he loved at the end of his earthly pilgrimage.

John reposed on 21 August 2018. May his memory be eternal!

[This obituary has been written by Gladys Bland, Secretary of the Fellowship]

Forty Years of Fellowship!

1979 was the year that

  • Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister.
  • McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal
  • Sony launched the Walkman
  • Philips demonstrated their new “Compact Disk” or CD
  • Elton John was the first westerner to perform in the USSR
  • Mother Theresa won the Nobel Peace Prize
  • The Dukes of Hazard were topping the TV shows and
  • Dustin Hoffman & Meryl Streep starred in Kramer vs Kramer

It was also the year that the Fellowship of Saint John the Baptist was founded to bring together English speaking Orthodox in the UK.

Next year, 2019, the Fellowship Celebrates Forty Years!

As well as holding a fun, fortieth, family festival in the Summer- we’d also like to produce a special 40 years anniversary edition of Forerunner.

So if you have photos, memories or anecdotes of the Fellowship in the last 40, 30 or even 10 years, please share them with us!

Also, for those of us who weren’t even born 40 years ago – what is your vision for the next 40 years?

Drop us a line at ofsjb.web@gmail.com