Speaking Engagement

They call themselves Dr. Mary’s Circle. They are an American Baptist missionary group. They meet once a month from September to June. There is a wide range of ages, from mid-twenties to seventies. Their evening agenda is simple; there is a special program which lasts from 30 to 45 minutes, then there are refreshments and fellowship, and finally there is the meeting where they discuss and decide what missionary projects they will do or report out on what projects are on-going or completed. They are the Ladies Missionary Circle of my old church. And guess what? I’ve been asked to present a book report at their October 3rd meeting! I am so humbled and excited to have been asked!

The book I will be reporting on is Father Arseny . I thought this book would be good for a number of reasons. First of all, it is an excellent book! Secondly, it paints a very good picture of what Soviet Russia was like during the Communist era, especially the Soviet Prison Camps. The reader encounters the offensive prejudice against Christians and anyone that is deemed different by the establishment. I hope to use this as an opportunity to open eyes to the prejudice and treatment of Orthodox people and priests in Russia during that regime. As God allows, I hope to show that some of the same prejudice applies today by virtue of comments like, “I don’t need ritual to have faith”, etc., etc.

I plan on playing a CD of Lenten music from one of our local Orthodox parishes. I’m also thinking about making some overheads of pictures of priests and people from that era to give a visual while I speak.

In the stark gray lifelessness of a prison camp, God shines through Fr. Arseny and brings His Light showing that God’s Perfect Love trumps all.


9 thoughts on “Speaking Engagement

  1. I’ve been recommended Fr Arseny many times, and am yet to read it. I think it is another book I’m going to have to get.

    What a wonderful honour! My thoughts and prayers are with you: I’m sure it will go fantastically!

  2. I thought, wow, I haven’t even commented yet!

    But, I second all that Meg said, except I’ve somehow never managed to read “Father Arseny”. I’d like to, though.

    I look forward to hearing how it goes!

  3. Hi Philippa,

    I hope it’s okay that I’ve been reading (and enjoying) your blog for a while anonymously. So this is my first comment, I think.

    When I read this post, it reminded me of the Akathist of Thanksgiving. I wondered if you’ve heard of it? It was written by another prisoner during his time in a Soviet prison camp, Fr. Gregory Petroff (1942). Here’s a link to the text: http://www.saintignatiuschurch.org/akathistcd.html#Complete%20Text%20of

    It’s absolutely beautiful and humbling. There’s also a cd available done by the church who did the website. I thought it might be appropriate to play music written by another Soviet camp prisoner.

    Anyway, sorry to intrude. Blogging seems a really awkward way to meet people. I never know if I should comment or not. 😉

    And how should one close a comment?

    …Um, thanks? Have a great day!

  4. Good on ya, Philippa !
    Fr Arseny is a wonderful book and deserves to be more well known outside Orthodox circles.
    Quite what your Baptist ladies group will make of it though, I`m not sure 🙂

  5. ooopsss! Meg! I meant to type Meg and typed Mimi instead! Golly day…can you tell it’s early and I’ve not had a cup of tea to wake up? Sorry Meg. Thanks for your well wishes!

    I’ll go get my tea now!!!!!

  6. Thanks Laura and Mimi!

    Mimi, I think there are a couple reasons they asked me. One is they miss Phil and I very much and wish we would both go back. We were very heavily involved in the leadership and teaching of the church. Also Phil was the associate pastor there from 1985 to 1989! So we are quite well-known. They keep asking Phil to come back as pastor! Phil has not returned to worshipping there due to the upheaval that is going in the church. He is going to a different Baptist church in the area. Secondly, I’ve presented a book report before and they enjoyed it alot, thus they know what to expect. Thirdly, I’m not sure how many know I am Orthodox now. Perhaps there is an element of curiosity. I don’t know. It doesn’t much matter. I am looking forward to it. 🙂

  7. Good luck with your presentation, esp. since it will be in your old parish. Why did they ask you, knowing that you had become Orthodox?

    As for “Father Arseny” — it’s one of my favorites, one I return to again and again. In fact, I’m reading it now.

  8. What an honor! Congratulations.

    I need to check out that book…there’s just so many good ones out there!

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