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.