I wrote previously about having moved to Pietermaritzburg last year to take responsibility for Saint Mark’s Orthodox Mission in Edendale, at the request of His Eminence Archbishop Sergios. This has been a slightly rocky journey and, while some of the challenges were expected, there have been others that were less expected. One of these was that we discovered that the old house at the mission was in a worse condition than anyone realized, but there have not been sufficient funds to adequately repair or secure it. Things finally reached crisis point when it was broken into a couple of weeks ago, making the necessary repairs an urgent matter.

We are presently working on finding funding to secure and maintain the property. We hope to soon get going with mission activities, including a food garden and children’s literacy activities, in addition to regular Liturgy, prayer, and catechetical activities. However, to do this effectively we also need to find ongoing support.

I am therefore appealing to any readers of this blog who may able and willing to partner with us to support the work of the mission. You can either do this by contributing to our urgent You Caring appeal for building repairs, or you can commit yourself to pledging a set amount each month by following the links at the bottom of this page. Of course, you can also do both if you are so moved!

Most of these links are on a new website that I have just set up. To keep in touch with the work of the mission, you can also subscribe to our periodical newsletter and/or like and follow our Facebook page.

Above all, please also continue to keep us in your prayers.

Such terrible times are coming, the world is so exhausted from its scabs and sores, it so cries out to Christianity in the secret depths of its soul, but at the same time it is so far removed from Christianity, that Christianity cannot and dare not show it a distorted, diminished, darkened image of itself. It should scorch the world with the flame of Christ’s love, it should go to the cross on behalf of the world. It should incarnate Christ Himself in it. Even if this cross, eternally raised anew, be foolishness for our new Greeks and a stumbling block for our new Jews, for us it will still be “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24).

We who are called to be poor in spirit, to be fools for Christ, who are called to persecution and abuse – we know that this is the only calling given to us by the persecuted, abused, disdained, and humiliated Christ. And we do not only believe in the promises of blessedness to come: now, at this very moment, in the midst of this cheerless and despairing world, we already taste this blessedness whenever, with God’s help and at God’s command, we deny ourselves, whenever we have the strength to offer our soul for our neighbors, whenever in love we do not seek our own ends.

Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series)186.