Search

Couple build garden church

PUBLISHED: 09:39 09 February 2009 | UPDATED: 07:58 01 August 2010

A DEACON of the Russian Orthodox Church and his wife who used to make a weekly 100-mile round trip to their nearest parish church have reduced their religious commute to just a few paces.

A DEACON of the Russian Orthodox Church and his wife who used to make a weekly 100-mile round trip to their nearest parish church have reduced their religious commute to just a few paces.

Father Andrew Bond and his wife Maria faced the long journey to and from Felixstowe for Sunday service every weekend after moving from west London to Mettingham 12 years ago.

But they have slashed their travelling time - and costs - by building their own church in the grounds of their home.

The couple came to the decision in November when the church in Felixstowe closed and the parish was transferred to Colchester.

Father Andrew said: "The 47 miles to Felixstowe was bad enough, but Colchester was out of the question.

"In essence this is a domestic chapel. It's here for personal convenience but we welcome anybody."

He added that outside the cities it was difficult to find an established Orthodox church, saying: "People who are scattered about in small towns and in the country seem to get forgotten about. They get more and more isolated and their children don't get taken to church so they grow up knowing almost nothing about it."

The church has been designed with a traditional layout, including a classical dome and a large, open space instead of pews. It is hoped it will be open by Easter and will be able to take up to 60 people. Father Andrew and a priest from Wells, Father Elias Jones, will share the services, which will be held every Sunday and on special occasions.

The ambitious deacon not only had to apply for planning permission from the Broads Authority, but also meet Waveney District Council's building regulations. But Father Andrew, who is English, and his wife, who is Russian by birth, are no strangers to building churches. They helped raise funds for a church to be built near their former home in Chiswick, and Mrs Bond's great-grandmother built a church for villagers in Russia following the death of her father, who had refused their request.

Father Andrew said he knew of people from Lowestoft, the Waveney Valley, and the surrounding areas, who would attend, and people from other branches of the faith, such as the Greek Orthodox Church, were interested in getting involved.

"We are finding people all the time," he said. "There are people who have some connection to the Orthodox Church all over the place, but they don't get to church very often because they don't know where to go.

"We need a base somewhere in order to reach out to people."

Although the couple are footing the bill for the building work themselves, they have already received donations for adornments and maintenance.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Beccles and Bungay Journal

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists