Bishop THOMAS visits St. Mary Church of Hunt Valley, Maryland
On the weekend of March 24-26th, St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox church of Hunt Valley, Maryland was honored to host the visit of his Grace Bishop THOMAS, Bishop of Oakland, PA and the East. His Grace presided over the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos on Friday night with close to 100 people attending. On Saturday morning, Orthros and Liturgy for the feast of the Annunciation were celebrated followed by a luncheon presented by the St. Mary’s Ladies Society. His Grace made special mention and appreciation to the Greek members of the parish celebrating Greek Independence day. Sunday Orthros and Hierarchical Liturgy marked the feast of the Adoration of the Holy Cross, with over 150 people in attendance.
The visit of Bishop THOMAS marked 7 months since he first visited, bringing with him our beloved new pastor, Archpriest Fr. Theodoros Daoud. Since Fr. Theodoros’ arrival at the end of August a new dimension has been brought to the community of St. Mary’s. He has worked tirelessly to tap new resources to evangelize the Hunt Valley area, and by God’s Grace, attendance at the church is overflowing with approximately 130 attending the Sunday Divine Liturgy. A new Sunday school program was instituted, a much needed ministry for the blossoming and ever-growing population of young children in the parish. The church has also become active with the Coordinating Council of Orthodox Churches of Greater Baltimore, a pan-Orthodox organization promoting cooperative events for all of the canonical Baltimore area Orthodox churches. Additionally, new improvements have been made at St. Mary’s to the existing church building including a decorative retaining wall between the sanctuary and parish hall. The choir continues to grow in members and skill and is improving weekly. Finally and most importantly, major steps have been undertaken to purchase land and build a new church building. Already, significant contributions have been accepted and fundraising has begun to further this goal. God-willing, this dream will become a reality very soon. The visit of Bishop THOMAS was further blessed by the induction of 12 new members into the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. We hope and pray that by His Grace’s next visit, God will grant us continued growth.