His Grace Blesses the Opening of the Doors 0f St. John Chrysostom Parish, Ft. Wayne
On the 31st year anniversary of the establishment of St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in Fort Wayne, IN, we were blessed to have Bishop MARK of Toledo with us to open the doors of our new church. This new church was the fulfillment of a commitment that the families of St. John Chrysostom Church made in 1979, when Sub-deacon (now Archimandrite) Michael Evans was sent to help coordinate the people into a Mission of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.
Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the efforts of Sdn. Michael, Fr. Joseph Rahall (then pastor of St. George – Indianapolis), and several founding families, the parish of St. John Chrysostom was opened in a small building purchased from a local Presbyterian church. From the beginning, this building was referred to as our “temporary church." Our parishioners, with their own hands, tore down walls and repaired others; they replaced flooring, and duct work and electrical lines, but the building continued to fall short of the needs of the parish. Still, after almost 26 years, this temporary church seemed more permanent than ever.
In 2005, Fr. Anthony Michaels was assigned to St. John Chrysostom Church, with the charge to heal the people. And that is what he did. And as he brought people back into the church, and back to one another, we asked “Is now the time?” Indeed, Fr. Anthony and the parish rose up to answer that question.
Now is the time….. to move forward!
Now is the time….. to put our faith into action!
Now is the time….. to put Christ first in our lives!
Now is the time….. to provide for our children!
Now is the time….. to work together for the glory of God and His Church!
Our priority was to build a temple that would allow for the growth of the parish, be accessible to the more senior and physically challenged members of our community, maintain dedicated space for the Christian education of our youth, and provide a place for our people to fellowship together.
In the spring of 2008, building permits were approved and ground was broken on a new church complex on the northern edge of Fort Wayne. In August of that year, Bishop MARK laid the cornerstone and cross in the foundation of the church and blessed the grounds. A year later, in August 2009, our fellowship hall became the “new temporary church”, but only for a few months.
On the Lenten weekend of St. John of the Ladder, His Grace, along with additional clergy, friends and family, opened the doors to the new stage in our Christian lives. As Bishop MARK reminded us in his homily, this is not the end of an achievement: it is the beginning of the new challenge. The challenge is to use this facility to bring Holy Orthodoxy to the greater Fort Wayne community.