LADIES COMMITTEES CONFERENCE 2018

On 23rd of September, Sunday at 3pm onwards, the Conference of the Ladies Committees of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain  took place at the premises of St Barnabas' Church in Wood Green. Our Archbishop was present, Bishop Tropaiou as well as priests of local communities and of course many chairwomen and other members of the Ladies Committees all over the UK, some of them from Scotland and other distant places. 

Our Archibishop Gregorios took this initiative so that all the participants might present their work in the communities and share their experiences amongst them. Many chairwomen had the opportunity to talk. First amongst them was our chairwoman Mrs Loula Watson, who, taking first the blessing of our Archbishop, stepped on the podium and gave her speech as following, presenting to everybody the wonderful work that she and other members of our Ladies Committee do for our community of St Cosmas and Damian in Gospel Oak. 

His Eminence, Reverend Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain and Ireland

His GraceBishop Athanasios

Dear clergy,ladies and gentlemen.  

 

Thank you for inviting us to this conference, so we can meet face to face each other and exchange valuable information on our experiences and duties in our individual churches. I, Loulla Watson, baptised Kyriaki Sotira, am the Chair person of the Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee of St Costmas and St Damian in Gospel Oak, North London. 

You might be interested to know why this area is known as Gospel Oak. The now-lost great oak tree of Gospel Oak became famous as a preaching spot in the 17thcentury when parishioners from Hampstead and St Pancras gathered to hear regular Gospel readings and thus the name has survived.

  1. Our late President, Mr Andreas Avgoustis founded our church 51 years ago and supported it throughout his life. Sadly, he died on 30thMay 2018. God rest his soul.

  2. Our Ladies’ Auxiliary committee, under the direction of our priest, Archimandrite Dr Chrystostomos Tympas, has been always very active and of course had a busy year, working within the church and the community.

  3. As a committee, many of us bake the prosfora (artos/bread) for the preparation of Holy Communion by the priest.

  4. Despina, our banker, cooks the wheat and prepares the kolyvva (boiled white seeds) to be blessed at the memorial services.

  5. We do our utmost to be present at all services, including funerals. 

  6. We take great pride in ensuring that our church is always decorated with fresh flowers, with special attention to those for major festivals and Saints’ Days. In particular we assist our professional florist and her co-workers in decorating our Epitaphios (the furniture that represents the Christ’s tube); on Good Friday the smaller and lighter one is carried in reverent and prayerful procession in the church and around the block. 

  7. After our Sunday service we provide refreshments, tea and coffee, sandwiches and home-made cakes, in the hall where the congregation are able to socialise. Our priest joins us when his duties in church are finished and he is able to greet everyone and welcome any newcomers.

  8. We also prepare all the food for church events, particularly for our major Saints’ Days, that is on 1stJune and 1stNovember.

  9. We ensure that the church and hall are kept clean and tidy after each service.  On Tuesdays we gather together to give the church a more thorough clean, including the laundry.  Afterwards, over a cup of coffee, we update our work plans for the church. We may discuss the Saints of the week or have a bible study.

  10. We have renovated the pews to make them more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. This has already been documented in the book that father Chrysostom wrote last year to celebrate the 50thAnniversary of our church.

  11.  The deputy chair of the Auxiliary committee, Kyriakou, made new altar clothes and curtains for the hall of the Church at which the Sunday tea and other events take place. We also had tablecloths made.

  12. We look after the needs of our less able and unwell church members by giving lifts to and from church and visiting any in hospital or who are housebound.  

  13. A member of the congregation paid for a big icon-stand for our saints, Cosmas and Damian and the congregation and committee liked it so much that we decided to have made another stand for the icon of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

  14. We have created a garden at the side of the church to improve appearance of our surroundings, situated as we are in a busy residential area.

  15. Our annual subscriptions and any donations go to the Philoptohos Fund.

  16. Like all churches we donated money towards the fire disaster in Greece.

  17. We support Alkionides, an organisation which helps and accommodates patients who come here for treatment and their relatives.

  18. The Womens’ Auxiliary committee works hard for the benefit of our loved church and we look forward to hearing from others the work they do and any suggestions as to how we can do more.

  19. On behalf of our church, Saints Cosmas and Damian, I would like to thank His Eminence, the Most Reverend Archbishop Gregorios, for the excellent care he takes of all the Orthodox churches in Great Britain and Ireland.

Thank you.