I noted with gratitude that Glory to God for All Things passed the milestone of 250,000 views today, all of these since beginning late last October. I am grateful for those who visit this site and pray that it is of some use to you in your day. Someone asked me today if I ever felt that the blog was like a parish. Yes and no. The cyberworld has its own sense of reality. I do have a great sense of community with many who read regularly and occasionally post notes. More than that, I feel a sense of responsibility for what I write – the same as I do for what I preach in a sermon. I know that I shall have to give an accounting for every idle world (including those on a blog).
I note that in the same time period, there have been over 3500 comments, most of which have adhered wonderfully to my admonition to be kind to one another.
The good folks at WordPress have, through their akismet program, blocked over 6,500 pieces of spam in the same period, and with the exception of about 2 days have kept this site virtually free of spam. If you could see the shameful things that constitute spam, you would be deeply grateful for this successful bit of software. I certainly am.
Again, I offer thanks to my readers and pray God’s mercy be with us all.
I keep on looking at the picture you have on the main page of your web site, the one of you standing infront of an old Church. That door, the columns, the windows all look familiar to me. A couple of years ago I spent about 4 months at St. John the Baptist Monastery in Essex and they have an 11th century church they purchased from the Anglicans. Do my eyes decieve me, or does that door, those columns, those windows belong to the All Saints chapel owned by the monastery?
May God bless.
Indeed, you are correct. I spent a week there last summer with my son and a friend and his son. I don’t I have ever been anywhere that I would compare with St. John the Baptist. That it is situated in England and in Essex are important as well, I think. I pray for the mercy to return someday.
I cannot express the gratitude that I have over finding your wonderful blog. Sometimes it speaks the very words I cannot express and many times it speaks to me in ways I have a tough time explaining. I have shared it with some of my co-workers, one who is Orthodox in a local Antiochian parish, and one who just became a catechuman with his wife, partly due to what you have shared. Thank you for being obedient to God’s calling and many years!
These are words of tremendous encouragement. How things touch us and reach the heart, I think, as a writer, is by staying close to what is simple, what I know to be most true. The longer I live and pray, the more convinced I am of how little I know, but the more convinced I am that the little I know is perhaps enough. The very smallest grain of the Kingdom of God is greater than the whole of the universe, is able to heal the whole of creation and to unite us to God. Stories, even very short ones as you have just shared, bear witness to the goodness of God and the importance of simply sharing what is the fullness of the Gospel (which is not hard or complicated, subtle or complex) but in its very simplicity fills everything. Thank you, more than you know, for your words of encouragement. By praying for one another we are saving our souls (by grace). May God keep the catechumens and grant all of you many years.
You’re right, father. There is no place like St. John’s. The time I spent there and then on susbeequent visits, for all intents and purposes, changed my life. The fathers and sisters their took me in, loved me and made me apart of their community. They showed me the peace and joy that comes from submiting to one another in Christ. Had I not met my wife when I did, I think I would have liked have spent the rest of my life there. No regrets, though, just the opportunity to try to duplicate and imitate the love I saw there. I hope the Lord grants your desire to return some day.
I have thanked you before, though with inadequate language. To thank you again seems to border on flattery, which is a sin. But we are given occasions, milestones in our lives, and in that context some things are appropriate.
Our virtual lives are no less real than our real lives (some might disagree), and I wish to honor your service to our Lord at this virtual milestone.
But what is a virtual token of honor? I realize I’m poor. So I give only the 2 mites that I have. So I offer this prayer.
Ancient of Days cast your eyes on your servant Father Stephen. Look after his steps as he seeks in earnest to glorify you. Grant him swift feet to do the work you have created for him to do. Take delight in his service and taste the fruit of his labors laid on your alter. Father God send your Holy Spirit and pour out a double portion upon this mortal man. Draw him into oneness with your Son so that he might testify that the Christ is come. Maranatha! Amen.
I forget how I came across your blog, about two months ago, but I am deeply thankful that I did.
I am an Anglican (Church of England) parish priest who am coming to the painful realisation that Anglicanism is a vessel which may be, in many ways, very beautiful and ingeniously wrought, but is quite empty of content. (As the few people in whom I have confided have generally agreed, the ecclesial experiment which is Anglicanism is in our generation finally and definitively failing.)
Even though I have had contact with Orthodoxy in the past (I knew Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia at Oxford, for example), I had long assumed that the only possible home if I were to leave the Church of England would be Rome. But a number of almost simultaneous eventualities, including the discovery of your blog, have reminded me (which I should not have forgotten in the first place) that Orthodoxy has claims which are to be taken with the utmost seriousness.
If you have any suggestions as to how one in my position might best proceed in seeking a way through the present uncertainty – books to read, specific matters for prayer and study, or anything else – I should be most grateful. (My present responsibilities sadly prevent me from attending the Divine Liturgy.) Sorry if that request is a bit too non-specific! In any case, may I ask your prayers for those (many) within the Anglican Communion who, like me, are looking for a way forward.
May the Lord bless you in all your work in his service.
Thank you for your kind comments – indeed there is much about Orthodoxy to be explored. The Late Archbishop Michael Ramsey once wrote (though I’ve misplaced the quote) that it was the vocation of Anglicanism to be reunited with Orthodoxy. That vision will not happen on an institutional level. But, I believe, that all that is/was good about Anglicanism is fulfilled in Orthodoxy and with a fullness that Anglicanism has never known.
If you are in England (just assuming) then I would recommend above all, a visit to St. John the Baptist Monastery in Essex (during the week would be as fine as anytime) just to meet, make acquaintance and find spiritual support and direction. The monks and nuns there are among the finest examples of living Orthodoxy I have encountered.
If you want to email me privately for more discussion, go to the link for St. Anne Orthodox Church. A link to my email address is on the front page there. May God keep you.
You might like these photos taken recently at St John The Baptist Monastery during a visit by Bishop Elisey of Bogorodsk.
I spent a weekend there myself at the beginning of Great Lent – it was a great place to be!