It was another busy day yesterday (Fri Feb 24) for Dr Ekaterina Genieva OBE, Director General of the State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow,(VGBIL), pictured right with former Moffat Academy student Robert Tildesley and Head of Languages Mr Breen. Dr Genieva is our Moffat Book Events partner in the September 14-17 2012 conference Russia: Lessons and Legacy to be held in Moffat St Andrew's church and the Moffat House hotel.
10.30 Visit to Moffat Bookshop. Agreement with Katherine Clemmens the proprietor that bi-lingual classics series in Russian and English published by Rudomino Press will be made available to the bookshop, which has a successful small Russian section. Books about Moffat by local historians will be sent to VGBIL in exchange. Photograph taken for Moffat News.
11.0am Visit to A.M Simpson, solicitors, Well St Moffat to inquire on behalf of Moffat Book Events if the vacant shop in Well St, formerly trading as a Christian bookshop, is available for MBE to let to be run by Katherine as the childrens' section of Moffat Books.
11.30 Visit to Moffat library to present a copy of Christianity for the Twenty-First Century to the library. Meeting with Mrs Janet McTeir, assistant librarian. Photograph taken of Dr Genieva with Mrs McTeir.
12.00 Meeting with Rev Adam Dillon, chairman of Moffat Book Events at Brodies. Adam was invited to sign an agreement in September to link St Andrew's, Moffat with the church at Semkhoz which marks the spot where Fr Alexander was murdered, and where Fr Alexander's nephew Fr Viktor Grigorenko is the priest (he will come to the conference in Sept).
A campaign of familiarisation with Fr Alexander/the conference will be undertaken both locally and further afield, thereby gathering the optimum audience for the conference, as follows:
For 9th March: information about the conference for a Church of Scotland round robin email circulation and announcement of a date for a briefing for ministers.
Adam now has a copy of 'Awake to Life', English translation of a cycle of sermons preached by Fr Alexander during Lent and at Easter, for use with his congregation
1,200 Church of Scotland ministers have the opportunity of annual paid study leave. Adam will seek pre-approval of the conference to qualify for the grant available for ministers to attend
Adam has good connections with Moffat Academy and will introduce Dr Ann Shukman and myself to Head Teacher Mrs Lesley Watson in order to discuss a programme of talks and a possible film show in the school assembly hall of the two animated films ('The Ugly Duckling' and 'Adagio') by Gari Bardin, sponsored by Vladimir Spivakov, about Fr Alexander.
Adam graduated from Princeton university in the USA and will therefore inform the Theological department there about the conference, in the hopes that they may fund attendance for some students to the conference.
Dr Genieva suggested that invitations be sent to the German partners in an annual prize in memory of Fr Alexander. Up to now the prize has been presented in Germany, but the idea now is to make it international. To ensure optimal attendance at the conference, it was suggested that concessions be available for students, unemployed and pensioners, and anyone with a DG10 postcode, also perhaps a home stay option offered for those unable to pay for accommodation but wishing to attend the conference.
2.30 Meeting in Dumfries with Adrian Turpin, director Wigtown Book Festival, Carolyn Yates, Literature Development Officer Dumfries and Galloway and Robin Bartlett formerly Dept of International Development. Various options and possibilities for a Russia-Scotland books/book events/ festival links were discussed and Adrian agreed to send Katya a one page memorandum of ideas to get started. Carolyn will send a collection of books by D&G authors to VGBIL. The possibility of 'professional tourism' by Russians interested in the history and culture of the region was also mentioned .
5.0pm Meeting with Rev Dr Ann Shukman at Elshieshields to review visit by Dr Genieva. Suitable secular-friendly titles of the conference for banners, website and posters were discussed, the favourite being Russia: Lessons and Legacy. The Russian title suggested by Katya is: Rossiya v poiskakh sebya' ('Russia in Search of Itself'). A list of invitees from Russia was drawn up.
It was agreed that Katya will prepare a budget for 15-panel exhibition and publication of 1,000 copies of an illustrated life of Fr Alexander to go with it – Ann will translate and write an introduction to the English edition.
It was suggested that MBE needs urgently to appoint a membership secretary to focus on building a contact list and regularly pro-actively circulating members with news of events .
It is hoped to publish the proceedings of the conference and a recording made if this does not contravene data protection legislation. A reissue is under consideration of Awake to Life the cycle of Easter sermons (published in English by Rob Dudley under his Bowerdean Press imprint). I have asked Rt Rev Stephen Platten, Bishop of Wakefield, if he might be willing to write an article about the conference for publication in the Church Times . Senior clerics of various Christian denominations in UK and Russia will be invited as a matter of courtesy . Carolyn Yates our D&G literature development officer will be invited to the next MBE conference organising committee meeting in Moffat MDCI office 2pm March 15, to advise and liaise generally, including on organisation in light of her experience with Wigtown Book Festival.
20.00 Meeting in Moffat with Elly Hurren who met Fr Alexander at Novaya Derevnya in 1990. Possibility was discussed of christening Olly Hurren born April 28 2011 at the conference service on Sunday Sept 16 of conference. I am to invite Edinburgh Woollen Mill to host an 'Ivanovo' corner at Moffat Mill outlet (Ivanovo is famous for fine textile production, region where Mikhail Men, son of Fr Alexander Men, is Governor).
Sat 6.0am Katya left Annandale Hotel, Moffat and is now safely back at home in Moscow.