St. Ananias Orthodox Church Takes Root in Evansville, IN
Father Nabil Hanna, pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in Fishers, Indiana, and Fr. Peter Gillquist, the late Director of Missions for the Antiochian Archdiocese, had long wanted to plant a mission in Evansville, Indiana. After years of labor by them, as well as many others including the priests of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Louisville, the decision was made to send Fr. Daniel Hackney and his family as mission planters for the St. Ananias Orthodox Church. At this time, Evansville was the largest metropolitan area in the country without an Orthodox parish. The nearest church was two hours away.
Now, seven years later this mission has taken root through the prayers of St. Ananias, the first bishop of Damascus. Growing into a diverse congregation of people from many different backgrounds, the Lord has seen fit to provide his people with facilities that include both a church and an annex that includes a fellowship hall, office space and educational rooms. This past April with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Anthony, the property was purchased with funds received almost exclusively from a stewardship drive within the congregation itself.
The only caveat was that the church building had been altered so that a Sunday School was built right in the original sanctuary. Thus what was once a beautiful traditional stone temple had become a two storied building with the sanctuary on the top floor, accessible only by stairs. To remedy the situation, this past August the members of St. Ananias were assisted by mission teams from St. George, Fishers and St. Nicholas, Urbana, IL in tearing out the dividing ceiling between the floors so that the church could once again be exclusively a place of worship.
The next step now that this has been accomplished is to have another congregational stewardship drive to receive gifts toward tiling the floor, constructing an altar, building an iconostasis, adding a bathroom, and painting the walls of the temple. Significant improvements will be needed in annex as well. This is a huge step of faith for a still growing mission, but God "loves cheerful givers."
We ask for your prayers for this effort, and if you would like to give financial assistance send gifts to:
St. Ananias Orthodox Mission
3407 Bellemeade Avenue
Evansville, IN 47714