Looking back over the last couple of years 2020 and 2021 it seems that the youth and their families have in fact risen to the challenges and come out stronger and more committed.
Our Varangian Guard has really lived up to their name over the difficult months.
In June 2020, after several months of lockdown, we achieved an amazing global Zoom meeting, for which Eddie managed managed to put together a video (despite being stranded in New Zealand) with everyone contributing. The video was made up of photographs of words given to young members of our Community. No one knew what the sentence would be until we watched the video. Words were imaginatively created with books, oranges, balls, shoes, flowers etc. to read “You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” We were even able to include the Harris family now living in Australia and Llewellyn in Qatar.
We discussed the possibility of recording voices to read St Romanos’s Kontakion on “The Victory of the Cross” The younger children provided the refrain, “again to Paradise” while others read the dialogue between Satan and Hades or were narrators.
This was finally completed in time for the Veneration of the Holy Cross, last Lent.
Everyone became resourceful and sent each other clips via mobile phone including one of Presvytera Anna from Chester demonstrating making palm crosses and Anna Conomos telling children’s stories.
When youth clubs were able to start limited meetings in September 2020 Belle Vue told us that it was not possible to meet the requirements in their premises. However, St Giles Hall was ready with all the regulations in place and welcomed another Christian group using their facilities.
It has been a disruptive time for everyone but we have managed to meet on every occasion possible, whether at St Giles Hall, the Serbs’ hall in Telford or in our own Orchard.
The families have been amazingly resilient and persistent. They have turned up at church even to just light candles if they were not allowed to the services. In this way the parents have been able to support each other and the children have built up strong friendships. They have survived the Lockdowns and restrictions better than many.
We have come through with at many young people now regularly meeting in Shrewsbury and Telford. We have more helpers involved too. Fod Nickolaou and Luke Thomas have taken on catechetical workshops with groups.
Please pray for the work our Community does with the children an young people and the teachers and helpers.
Our Akolouthoi (high school age) are always looking for new experiences. If you have new skills or experiences or stories that you can offer please let Father Panteleimon know. Likewise, if you would like to offer support, funding, or assistance to the youth club please let Father Panteleimon know.