Diocese of Wichita News


Interview Highlights Ongoing Efforts for Syria's Christians

The Website LevantReport.com with Managing Editor Brad Hoff published an interview on March 5, 2014 with The Very Rev. Joseph Huneycutt, pastor of the St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Houston, TX. Titled "Syrian Christians in a Time of Conflict," the interview comes over two years after Fr. Joseph traveled to Syria as part of an official delegation of American Antiochian Christian pastors and leaders sent to assess the situation of Syria's Christians. 

In December, St. Joseph in Houston sponsored a benefit concert, "Hope, Humanity, Healing,"  which raised $18,000.00. The proceeds were distributed to the suffering Syrian people through the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America's Sister Diocese of Bosra-Hauran, Jabal al-Arab, and the Golan in southern Syria, as well as through the St. Gregory Orthodox Society for the Elderly and Orphans in Damascus. In the interview, Fr. Joseph soberly notes that "...the Christian presence in southern Syria has diminished, the charitable support of refugees continues; those who remain live in danger every moment. It will take heroic hard work to rebuild – the land and the people – once this war comes to an end." Read the full text of the interview

 

Memory Eternal! + Nick Harroz

Nick Harroz, maternal grandfather of Khouria Valerie Salem of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, OK, fell asleep in Christ on March 12, 2014.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning at St. Elijah, and burial will follow at Arlington Memorial Gardens. The family is asking for donations to the "Flowers That Do Not Wither Fund" at St. Elijah in lieu of flowers.

Mr. Harroz was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, but moved to Oklahoma City in 1929 where he founded and administered the Crest Family Market until retirement from the business in the late 1990s. Crest remains a family business, with grandson Sam Homsey working as a store manager, granddaughter Christian Harroz Duthie in charge of advertising and public relations, and grandson Nick Harroz III serving as Senior Advisor.

Annual DOWAMA March Retreats in Kansas

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

The annual men's Lenten Retreat will be hosted in Victoria, Kansas by St. George Cathedral of Wichita this coming weekend, March 14th-16th, 2014. Fr. John Bethancourt of Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico will be the speaker. For more information, contact the Cathedral Office at 316-636-4676.

The Annual St. Mary Retreat will be hosted by and at St. Mary Church in Wichita, Kansas on Friday and Saturday, March 21st and 22nd. Nicholas Chapman, Managing Editor of Holy Trinity Publications in Jordanville, New York, will be the speaker. His topic will be An Orthodox Founding Father: Orthodox Christianity at the Birth of America, a discussion of the life and work of Colonel Philip Ludwell III of Williamsburg, Virginia. For more information, contact Father Aaron Warwick at stmarywichita@cox.net.

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest John Elias

MEMORY ETERNAL! The Very Rev. John Elias was born in 1939 in Hafa, Latakia, Syria. He passed away on February 11, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. Father John faithfully served the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in America for 40 years in the following parishes:
St. Mary's Yonkers, NY; St. Thomas in Sioux City, Iowa; St. George in Akron, OH; St. George in El Paso, Texas; St. Mary in Omaha, NE; and St. George in Jacksonville, FL, where he served from 1992-2001.

Archpriest John was preceded in death by his parents: Nassim and Badia; his sisters Yvonne, Azizeh, and Mother Antonina. He is survived by his wife, Kh. Nawall Elias; his children Yvonne, Jany (husband), Azizeh, Zaharia (husband), Nassim, Dana (wife); his grandchildren: Reema, Nicole, John, Alina, Michael, Christopher; his brothers Aziz and Spiro, and his sisters Hind and Nadia. Father John was a beloved priest, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. May his memory be eternal. Christ is Risen!

DOWAMA Clergy Meet for 42nd Annual St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood Retreat

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

More than 80 men were present at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas for DOWAMA's 42nd annual St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood Retreat the week of February 4-7, 2014. The Retreat was led by Archimandrite Zacharias of the Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights-by-Maldon in Essex, England. Archimandrite Zacharias was accompanied to the U.S. by Hierodeacon Bartholomew.

Many thanks to all the brothers who assisted with the execution of the Retreat, to the members of the Board of the Virginia H. Farah Foundation for providing a financial grant to help underwrite the Retreat, and to Mrs. Brenda Farha and her family for hosting the Brotherhood Breakfast in memory of Dr. George J. Farha following Friday morning's Divine Liturgy.

Next year's Clergy Brotherhood Retreat is scheduled for February 3rd-6th, 2015 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.

Fr. Philip LeMasters Releases Book for Seekers

The Forgotten Faith is a treatise on the Eastern Orthodox Christian Faith written primarily for seekers of Truth by a former Baptist, Antiochian priest The Rev. Dr. Philip LeMasters. Pastor of St. Luke Orthodox Church in Abilene, TX, Fr. Philip is also the dean of the School of Social Sciences and Religion at McMurry University and the corporate secretary of the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Explains Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, priest at St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, TX, in his blog review: "The author...lays out the essence and practice of Orthodox Christianity with the straightforward precision of an experienced teacher. His agenda seems to be: The better I teach, the more you learn, the fewer questions go unanswered. The teaching is methodical, practical, and convincing. Father Philip loves Eastern Christianity, believes his beloved to be unique and true, and presents his love to you with love."

Order The Forgotten Faith

Fr. Mark McNary Returns to Lead St. Peter Church + Fort Worth, TX

Left to right, front: Fr. Mark, Bishop John and Fr. Robert; back, Fr. Michael Kaiser and Rev. Dn. George Palmer.Left to right, front: Fr. Mark, Bishop John and Fr. Robert; back, Fr. Michael Kaiser and Rev. Dn. George Palmer.AXIOS, he is worthy!  With those words Deacon Mark McNary was ordained into the priesthood at St. Basil Orthodox Church in Metairie, Louisiana on December 15, 2013. He is now caring for the Holy Antimins on the altar of St. Peter Church in Fort Worth Texas—the very church where he attended his first Orthodox service in 2007.

On January 19, 2014, His Grace Bishop John, Auxiliary Bishop for Western Rite, officiated at the induction of Fr. Mark as the parish's third rector of the largest Western Rite parish in Texas. Kent Schmedel, senior warden of St. Peter's vestry, presented Fr. Mark with the keys to the sanctuary. Seven parishioners were also received into the Order of St. Ignatius. The parish then hosted a country western luncheon to welcome Bishop John and Fr. Mark to Fort Worth and presented each with his own special "Cowtown" hat.

Louisiana Parish Temple is Gutted by Fire

His Grace Bishop Basil, Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, reported on January 26, 2014 that St. John the Divine Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lake Charles, LA, with pastors Fr. Michael Pavez and Fr. Philip Rogers, was gutted by fire on Sunday morning following the Liturgy. It appears that the entire interior of the church temple was destroyed.

KPLCtv.com reported that the parish "appeared to have heavy smoke and fire damage. Firefighters and utility crews were still tending to hot spots Sunday afternoon....Crew members said it doesn't appear anyone was inside the building when the fire started. There's no word on what caused the fire, which appeared to have started toward the rear of the structure."

The parish also suffered severe damage about six years ago, said Dn. Elias Nicols, after a hurricane. "It's awful but God willing, we have a resilient group of people here and we're going to go back and rebuild it and have us a new church. We're not giving up on it."

Read the news story.

 

Memory Eternal! + Dr. George J. Farha

Memory Eternal! Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of the newly-departed servant of God Dr. George J. Farha of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS, immediate past Vice Chairman of the Antiochian Archdiocese Board of Trustees and the Antiochian Heritage Foundation's "Man of the Year" for 2013. Dr. Farha quietly fell asleep in Christ surrounded by his family at his home, shortly before nine o'clock on January 7, 2013.

Condolences may be sent to his wife Brenda and their daughters Gayle (Mrs. Douglas) Malone, Joan (Mrs. David) Farha, Laura Farha, and Julie Farha and their families at:

1517 North Foliage Court
Wichita, KS 67206

The schedule of divine services, all to be served at St. George Cathedral, is as follows:

  • Friday, January 10th Trisagion Prayers of Mercy at 7:00PM
  • Saturday, January 11th Trisagion Prayers of Mercy and Funeral at 10:00AM followed by Interment and Meal of Mercy

IOCC Remembers Honorary Board Member Dr. George Farha

Dr. George FarhaDr. George FarhaInternational Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) released a statement on January 8, 2014 mourning the passing of IOCC Honorary Board Member Dr. George Farha. Founding member and former Chairman of the IOCC Charles Ajalat said, "Dr. Farha played a critical role during IOCC's formative years with his wisdom, vision and commitment. IOCC owes a great debt to him."

From serving on the IOCC board of directors to supporting countless humanitarian works which assisted people in need of shelter, food or safety, Dr. Farha's tireless efforts to always "put people first" served as a spiritual cornerstone for the organization. 

"Dr. George Farha was a man of singular vision and great stature in the Orthodox community and beyond," said Michael S. "Mickey" Homsey, Chairman of IOCC's Board of Directors. "This pious, humble and loving man's lifelong mantra of 'people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care' left an indelible effect on all who were blessed to know him.

Many Years to His Grace Bishop Basil!

Many years, master! January 1st is the celebration of St. Basil the Great and the name's day of His Grace Bishop Basil. May God grant him many years!

Apolytikion of St. Basil, Tone 1

In all the earth that received thy sayings, thy melody did resound, O righteous father, through which thou didst go about and proclaim, as worthy of God, the nature of creatures, cultivating the character of mankind, O thou of kingly Priesthood, Basil. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.

Memory Eternal! + Fr. John Badeen

Fr. John Badeen, former pastor of St. Antony Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, St. Michael Church in Beaumont, Texas, St. George Church in Detroit, Michigan and Archangel Gabriel Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, reposed in retirement early Christmas morning, December 25th, 2013, at the age of 86. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. Fr. John in survived by Khouriya Louise and their children, Farida, James and George.

2013 Nativity Greetings from Bishop Basil

The Bethlehemitissa: Wonderworking Icon of Our Lady of Bethlehem in the south transept of the Church of the NativityThe Bethlehemitissa: Wonderworking Icon of Our Lady of Bethlehem in the south transept of the Church of the NativityTo the Right Reverend Archimandrites, the Very Reverend and Reverend Hieromonks and Presbyters, Hierodeacons, Archdeacons and Deacons and their families, the Venerable Monastics, and all the Christ-loving Faithful of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Incarnate Christ. I send to each of you and your communities my paternal love, festal greetings and prayerful best wishes for the merriest of Christmases and a peaceful, healthy and happy 2014. Christ is born! . ألمسيح ولد

In Christ Jesus the Incarnate Word,

+Bishop Basil

2014 Winter Camp St. Raphael

Christ the Good Shepherd
"Baaacoming Christ's SHEEP"
with Christopher Shadid
Antiochian Village Program Director

WHEN: Friday January 17 - Monday January 20

WHO: DOWAMA Teens

WHERE: Camp St. Raphael (a.k.a. YMCA Camp Takatoka - Wagoner, OK)

COST: $110 Teens (T-Shirt included) - $95 Advisors (Must be at least 20 years old)

2014 Winter Camp (WAMP) at Camp St. Raphael is scheduled for January 17th-20th. Attached hereto is a flyer announcing the event as well as a registration form. Questions? Contact our Diocesan of Wichita Youth Director Erin Ghata at erin@stelijahokc.com.

Bishop John Ordains Fr. Mark McNary

On December 15, 2013, his Grace Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester ordained Deacon Mark McNary of St. Basil Church in Metairie, Louisiana to the sacred priesthood. Effective January 1, 2014, Fr. Mark will be assigned to the pastorate at St. Peter Church (Western Rite) in Fort Worth, Texas.

Memory Eternal! + Saleema (Sally) David

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL! Saleema "Sally" David, mother Judy Stanley (immediate past president of DOWAMA Fellowship of St. John the Divine) and aunt of former Archdiocesan Trustee Nancy Cohlmia, reposed on December 15, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas at the age of 92. The schedule of services (all at St. George Cathedral in Wichita) is as follows:

  • Tuesday, December 17th at 7:00PM Trisagion Prayers of Mercy followed by the Funeral
  • Wednesday, December 18th at 10:00AM Trisagion Prayers of Mercy and Interment followed by the Meal of Mercy

May she be granted Paradise!

 

Memory Eternal! + Beulah Katherine Farha

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL! Beulah Katherine Farha of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS, daughter of the late Archpriest Nicholas and Khouriya Mary Husson, fell asleep in Christ this past Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 at the age of 94.

A member of the Cathedral choir for sixty-one years and a past vice-president of our Diocesan "Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America" for two terms, Beulah is survived by her children Alan, Subdeacon Nicholas, and Mary Kay Nichols and their families; by her sister Lorraine Ferris of St. Mary Church in Wichita, KS; and by many nieces and nephews. She will be buried from the Cathedral this Saturday, December 7th. May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.

Memory Eternal! + David Alexander Tait

MEMORY ETERNAL!

March 13, 1951 - November 19, 2013

David Alexander Tait, beloved father, husband, son, professor, friend, and devoted member of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Oklahoma City, died tragically on November 19, 2013, while he was ministering to a community of friends in Chandler, Oklahoma. David was born on March 13, 1951, in Washington, D.C., and was the oldest of five children born to Charles and Katharine Tait. He spent his childhood between the United States and England, as well as Uganda, where his parents were missionaries.

He completed high school at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, before earning a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations at Boston University. It was there that he met his future wife, Laura Hubbs Tait, while she was a graduate student. They were married in Boston on June 26, 1976 and shared 37 wonderful years together.

Monessen, PA: St. Michael Commemorates 100 Years of Ministry

Bishop Thomas elevates Fr. FredBishop Thomas elevates Fr. FredThe first weekend in November was more than a normal weekend for the congregation of St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Monessen, PA. The parish began the celebration of their 100th anniversary, first celebrating Great Vespers on Saturday evening. Bishop Thomas, Auxiliary Bishop of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, spoke after the service, encouraging us to honor our forefathers' and mothers' memories by working to keep the parish a healthy Orthodox presence in Monessen. On Sunday, Orthros and a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was concelebrated by Bishop Thomas and Bishop Basil, Auxiliary Bishop of Wichita and Mid-America. Following the Liturgy a 100th anniversary luncheon and program was held at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Hellenic Center.

St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church was founded in 1913 by Syrian and Lebanese immigrants as a place where Orthodox Christians were able to worship and seek salvation. The church was one of many that owes its organization to then Archimandrite Raphael Hawaweeny (St. Raphael).

Presentation by Iconographer Aidan Hart + Cedar Park, TX

Holy Icons in Today's World: Insights into Contemporary Issues in Modern Art, Ecology and Community
December 12, 2013 + 7:00 P.M.
R.S.V.P. at Evenbrite
Download Flyer (PDF)

On Thursday, December 12th, 2013 at 7:00 P.M., Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson and the clergy and congregation of St. John the Forerunner Church in Cedar Park, Texas (near Austin) will host a presentation by one of the world's premier Orthodox iconographers and craftsman, Aidan Hart. Hailing from England, Aidan Hart's work is displayed online at aidanharticons.com. The event is free and open to the public. A brief reception will be follow, and refreshments will be served, but we ask that you please make your own arrangements for child-care. For further information, please contact Father Aidan Wilcoxson at fraidan@austin.rr.com.

"Christ in Prison": Interview with OCPM Board Chair Kory Warr

In his professional life, Kory Warr is a commercial real estate developer. As an Antiochian Orthodox Christian, he has served terms as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and as a Board member for St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He is a member of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, OK, and is currently the chairman of the Board of Trustees for Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry. Antiochian.org recently had the opportunity to ask him about his outreach to prisoners, and what motivates him to minister to the incarcerated.

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you first become interested in prison ministry?

I got involved in prison ministry in 2005. Prior to that, if I had made a list of things I might have wanted to do as a layman in the Church, prison ministry would have been at the very bottom—prison ministry was literally the last thing I wanted to do. However, my bishop, Bishop Basil of Wichita, asked me to participate in a working group whose task it was to begin to shape the prison ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America into the official prison ministry of SCOBA (now the Assembly of Bishops).

Bishop Basil is Featured Speaker for St. Vladimir's Anniversary Gala

On November 7, 2013, His Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita and Mid-America addressed the 430 guests gathered for St. Vladimir's Seminary's 75th Anniversary Gala, a black tie dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees at Glen Island Harbour Club, New Rochelle, NY.  A 1973 alumnus of the Seminary, Bishop Basil noted that in speaking for the event, he had come home to "the place that made me all that I am."

The Seminary, he continued, has had a "sustained impact in Orthodoxy throughout the world." Most of the Archdiocese's hierarchs are alumni of St. Vladimir's Seminary, and the current student body numbers many Antiochian students as well. 

St. Vladimir's launched the "Bishop Basil Program in Byzantine Liturgical Music" in 2010, when the Board of Trustees presented His Grace with an honorary doctorate and announced the creation of the program in his name. The Seminary's Alumni Association Board Chair Gregory Abdalah (Class of '08) has noted that, "Bishop Basil has had a great influence on the development of Byzantine Music in English.

Dec 14: "Hope, Humanity, Healing - A Benefit Concert for Syria"

Deacon George Nashawati of St. Ephraim Orthodox Church in San Antonio, Texas, announces a fundraiser concert benefiting the people of Syria. "Hope, Humanity, Healing - A Benefit Concert for Syria" will be held on Saturday, December 14th, 2013 at 7:00 in the evening at St. Joseph Orthodox Church in Houston. The admission cost is $15 per person, and all concert proceeds will be distributed to the suffering people of Syria through the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America's Sister Diocese of Bosra-Hauran, Jabal al-Arab, and the Golan in southern Syria, and the St. Gregory Orthodox Society for the Elderly and Orphans in Damascus.

For questions regarding the concert, please visit St. Joseph's website, contact the church's office at (713) 973-7001, or send an email to lamanash@hotmail.com. Artists at the benefit concert will include: Lama Nashawati DeVries (my sister) and Tracey Parker: Duo Piano; Bassam (Deacon George) Nashawati: Violin; Mariam Haddad and Christine Yacoub: Voice; The St. Romanos Pan-Orthodox Chorale; and Osama Raad: drums. The program will include classical and liturgical music in addition to some Arabic songs made popular by Fairuz. 

Download the concert PDF

Bishop Basil Consecrates New Temple in Erie, CO

St. Luke Church in Erie, Colorado was consecrated by His Grace Bishop Basil on Sept. 28 with 318 faithful present including neighboring clergy. A joyous reception in the church hall followed. It was a wonderful day of thanksgiving to God.

The new temple had its first Divine Liturgy on Pentecost 2010. Since that time, a wood carved iconostasis from Bulgaria was installed along with additional iconography that now covers most of the ceiling under the dome.

The church has grown in numbers since its beginning in 1991 with 17 households using a small rental space in the old mining town of Lafayette, Colorado (a small community 10 miles from Boulder and 30 miles north of Denver). His Grace Bishop Antoun ordained Fr. David Mustian and chrismated the original founders who were all converts to Holy Orthodoxy. The church continues to have many converts, along with a good mix of life- long Orthodox members from various ethnic backgrounds.

Elevation and Ordination at St. John the Forerunner Church + Cedar Park, TX

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

AXIOS! Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of St. John the Forerunner Church in Cedar Park, Texas was elevated to the dignity of Archpriest on September 15th, 2013

WORTHY! Subdeacon Andrew Wilson of St. John the Forerunner Church in Cedar Park, Texas was ordained to the holy diaconate on September 15th, 2013.