By The Reverend Clive Fairclough
Our unique celebrations centred around the themes of Her Majesty the Queen as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Head of State and Head of the world wide community Commonwealth. The commonwealth nations have close connections with the Anglican tradition. Centred around this theme of developing community, St. Andrewâs Church and Centre is keenly aware that the Christian life is about deepening relationships. We want our lives to reflect our common goal to grow in and through Jesus Christ in our relationships with God, ourselves, each other and creation. The opening of the Queenâs Garden embodies our relationship with creation.
The series of events started on Thursday 9 June with a fabulous Gala Concert featuring Judith Weir CBE, the Master of the Queenâs music, and some of her recent compositions in the beautiful setting of the church. It was a great privilege to have her among us just for a day.
Throughout the weekend, we enjoyed an exhibition of art based on the theme of the Queen which had the colour, vibrancy, variety and vitality provided by students from The English International School Moscow (EIS), The British International School Moscow (BIS) and International School Moscow (ISM). On Friday we celebrated the Quean as head of state by a unique showing of âThe Audience,â starring Helen Mirren. This film breaks the contract of silence and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. It was a sell out and sponsored by Cool Connections who set up a cinema in the church for two days.
On Sat 11June, St. Andrewâs welcomed Her Britannic Majestyâs Ambassador His Excellency, Dr Laurie Bristow and guests from many commonwealth embassies in oscow to witness the formal opening of our new Queen Elizabeth IIâs Garden. It was heralded by the embassies in Moscow Pipe Band and a display of Scottish country dancing. Our guests enjoyed a true English tea party of scones, cream and jam, cucumber sandwiches, chocolate brownies and traditional fruit cake.
The formal opening was followed by a huge street party celebrating our international heritage by enjoying many diverse national dishes and refreshments to share with friends from many of our Commonwealth nations. We partied all afternoon and evening with jugglers, balloon blowers, magicians, the Moscow Pipe Band playing âQueenâ and all the fun of a real street party. It concluded by a streaming, from Horse Guards Parade in London, of âTrooping the colourâ on a massive screen. It was as if our street party was actually in London with everybody else.
On Sunday, we celebrated sung Matins (Book of Common Prayer service of worship) which included the Russian premiere of Judith Weirâs anthem: âI love all beauteous things.â It echoed what was also happening in St. Paulâs Cathedral where this piece was performed for the first time on Friday in the presence of her Majesty. We also streamed our service live over âPeriscopeâ which attracted nearly a thousand viewers. That is a record attendance for St Andrewâs!
This unique event would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors who were Intermark Relocation, our overall sponsor for the street party, Marriott Courtyard Hotel for co-ordinating the tea, Peter Justesen who provided liquid refreshments, Cool Connections who screened the Trooping of the Colour, Moscow expat Life for promoting the event, Ahmad Tea for providing tea at the screening of the Audience, and Perekrestok for sponsoring the Moscow Pipe Band and finally Savills who gave us strong support by hosting a private Gala Concert in the British Ambassadorâs residence.