Following Bright Week, 30 Orthodox teens and chaperones gathered in Oklahoma City at St. Elijah to participate in the YES program. (YES stands for Youth Equipped to Serve and is a program sponsored by FOCUS North America that gives Orthodox youth the opportunity to participate in hands on ministry in cities across the United States.) Facilitated by Katrina Bitar, Director of the YES program, and Christina Saad, YES intern, this weekend gave teens from St. Eljah and St. George Cathedral a chance to see a different side of Oklahoma City.
On April 17-18, 2010, Bishop THOMAS made his annual pastoral visit to Holy Spirit Church in Huntington, West Virginia. Sayidna THOMAS was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic in 2004, and this was his first visit to Huntington that did not involve discussions of building planning and construction.
In 1999, our parish made the decision to sell our church building, which had been our home since the early 1970’s, and move to a new location. Being a community of fewer than 100 members, it was a huge challenge. The existing property, however, was in need of significant renovations and concern was raised over the decline of the surrounding residential neighborhood. The church property was placed on the market for sale and a committee was established to raise funds and search for a suitable location. In a surprising move, a buyer was found for the current church building before a new location could be agreed upon. In the spring of 2000, the parish voted to accept a purchase offer and moved into temporary quarters that were graciously provided by Fifth Avenue Baptist Church. The parish utilized this chapel for the next three years.
In 2001, in order to encourage the parish to move ahead with planning and free up additional funds for construction, parishioner Richard Dixon was ordained to the Holy Priesthood, taking the name of John. He would continue his secular employment until the parish could once again afford a full-time priest. On August 1 of that year, he was assigned as pastor of Holy Spirit. That same month, parish Deacon Mark Hagan was ordained to the priesthood and assigned as pastor of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Iron Mountain, Michigan.
St. George Church in Niagara Falls, New York was truly blessed to welcome His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER during the weekend of April 9-11, 2010.
A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was concelebrated on Sunday by Bishop ALEXANDER, with four priests, five deacons and two subdeacons in the nave of the church, which was filled to capacity with the faithful. During the Liturgy, the parish celebrated three joyous events: Fr. Paul Solberg was elevated to the dignity of Archpriesthood, Deacon Raphael Barberg was ordained into the Priesthood and Kevin Boddecker was tonsured as a Reader.
Sayedna Alexander's visit also included meetings with the Order of St. Ignatius, the Antiochian Women, and Teen SOYO and concluded with a banquet luncheon at Antonio's Restaurant in Niagara Falls.
The Very Rev. Archpriest Fr. Constantine Nasr of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City has created a banner for parishes, Sunday Schools, and inquirers to the faith titled "Timeline of the Christian Church." Subtitled "Find Your Roots," the chart sketches out the Church's timeline from the Nativity of Christ up to the present day. Available in two different styles, "East/West" and "Original Orthodox," the timeline enables viewers to see how each denomination began and the age of each current Christian tradition. All proceeds from the sale of the timeline will be donated to underprivileged school children in Taybeh, Palestine. To order, download the flyer below.
Remaining true to our roots as a mission church, Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church continues to grow by the grace of God to meet the demands for Orthodoxy in Lafayette, Louisiana. It has only been a few years since the church welcomed her first full-time pastor in the persons of Father Philip and Khouria Kathryn Rogers. Under their leadership, we have extended our reach into the community, beautified our sanctuary, and increased our numbers. God has allowed us to establish a choir, a Sunday school program, and a local chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at the nearby university. While still looking ahead to the future, we paused on the last weekend in February, 2010 to remember all that God has already given us. We were honored and delighted to host a visit from our spiritual father Bishop ANTOUN, who would help us consecrate a new Holy Table.
HE IS WORTHY! Fr. Anthony Baba of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas and DOWAMA Youth Director was ordained to the holy priesthood at his home parish of St. George in Houston, Texas on the Fifth Sunday of the Fast, March 21st, 2010. He will be assigned to the pastorate at St. Anthony Church in Spring, TX effective Monday, April 12th. He will begin his "Week of Liturgies" at St. George in Houston and will conclude it at St. George Cathedral in Wichita.
Valentine’s weekend is usually a time for sweethearts to get together and celebrate their love for each other. Here in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during this time, parishioners of St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church and members of the Archdiocese were celebrating love as well, but love for the Church in the form of stewardship. The ground breaking ceremonies for the new John and Hooda Germack Hall took place over this wonderful weekend with lots of events and fun.
The events started Friday night with a dinner welcoming His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP where the plans and the model for the new hall were presented by Architect Alex Khoury to the Metropolitan, Parish Council, and a few Archdiocese Board of Trustees members. This event was hosted by Salim and Deborah Khoury at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club. There was a short question and answer session about the new hall which was very informative. At the same time, the weekend chairman, Richard Zakka, Spoke about the new St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church Home for Children Program, which will “serve a greater cause than ourselves”, to help orphaned children in need. He stated that “There are over 1 million homeless children in the United States and someone has to take the initiative of changing that number”. Mr. Zakka, who is spearheading this effort, asked “If we don’t do it, who will? If not now, then when?”
In the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010, His Grace, Bishop THOMAS, celebrated the Sunday of Orthodoxy service with His Grace, Bishop TIKHON of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania (OCA) at the Church of St. Nicholas (OCA) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Numerous area clergy and laity celebrated this service together, including a proclamation of the common faith of the Orthodox Church, as well as the traditional anathemas which Orthodoxy levels against dangerous, heretical doctrines. Five different SCOBA jurisdictions were represented among the clergy, including (besides the two bishops) eighteen priests and five deacons.
Sayidna THOMAS presented a homily before the service in which he stressed that Orthodox Christians are icons of Christ, that each of us is an ambassador of the Kingdom of God in this world, no matter our circumstances. After the liturgical service, the clergy and faithful heard a short presentation on the work of the Lehigh Valley Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood which sponsored the event and then together shared a Lenten meal.
St. George Orthodox Church of Indianapolis was established and a church building erected and consecrated in 1926.
As a charter member, St. George Progressives contributed greatly to the SOYO movement. St. George parishioners Nick Coba and John Daniluck, who had been founders of the Federation of Russian Orthodox Clubs (FROC), were instrumental in guiding the SOYO movement of their adopted parish and Archdiocese. In the fall of 1947, the newly organized group met in Indianapolis to complete a draft of the constitution and by-laws.
The weekend of February 19-21, 2010, Mother Alexandra visited St. Nicholas Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. She presented two talks, “Monasticism and St. Thekla Convent,” explaining the history of monasticism, the monastic presence, and the monastic life, ministry and plans for construction of the Convent of St. Thekla at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania; and “Great Lent: Renewing Our Hearts and Minds,” discussing our journey as Orthodox Christians as a whole throughout our lives and also on a daily basis, highlighting Lenten themes, the sacramental life, personal prayer, and communion with God and each other.
During her visit, she was able to reconnect with some Antiochian Village campers and looks forward to seeing them this summer. She attended the services at St. Nicholas Church and also traveled with parishioners to Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers in Tarpon Springs. Mother Alexandra thanks Fr. Michael and Kh. Virginia Massouh and the faithful of St. Nicholas for their friendship and hospitality.