Diocese of Wichita News


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.

OCN Interview with Bishop Basil Focuses on Assembly of Bishops Meeting

The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) has posted an interview with His Grace Bishop Basil, Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, discussing the topic of the fourth annual meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America scheduled for September 17–19 in Chicago, IL. Bishop Basil is the Secretary of the Assembly and is deeply involved in planning the upcoming meeting.

Pray for Those Affected by Flooding in Colorado

His Grace Bishop Basil sends this urgent prayer request from Fr. David Mustian, Dean of the Rocky Mountain Deanery and proistamenos at St. Luke Church in Erie, CO:

Your Grace: Master, bless! News reports about the '100 year flood' in Colorado are very true. We ask for your prayers and those of our DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood. I heard this morning from a parishioner asking for special prayers for her elderly mother Batool in a downtown Boulder apartment who was recently referred to hospice. They cannot reach her due to the floods and evacuations. Fr. Lester Bundy told me yesterday that his daughter called saying their home was 'lost.' Some people have died, some are in isolated areas, some without utilities and without safe drinking water. Emergency workers are doing what they can, to get people to shelters. Weather reports call for more rain. Our church temples are so far not effected in any major way, just a few leaks. Some areas are fine as well. Thank you.

Yours in Christ,
Father David

St. Vladimir's Expands Bishop Basil Byzantine Music Program, Offers Public Course

Oct., 2012: Rassem El Massih chants during Patriarch Ignatius' visit to St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NYOct., 2012: Rassem El Massih chants during Patriarch Ignatius' visit to St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY[SVOTS Communications / Yonkers, NY] "More than a third of our alumni are in jurisdictions that use Byzantine music," noted The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. "In order to serve the Church and our students preparing for service in these ecclesial settings, we are fortifying our Byzantine music course offerings and chapel music repertoire for the 2013–2014 Academic Year.

"We are particularly blessed that Mr. Rassem El Massih has joined our faculty as Lecturer in Liturgical Music," continued Fr. Chad. "Instructor El Massih of the Antiochian Archdiocese is a renowned church musician who will be teaching 'Introduction to Byzantine Chant.'"

7th Annual DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament + October 4-6, 2013

A note from DOWAMA youth director Erin Ghata: "The 7th Annual DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament will be hosted at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, OK, on October 4th, 5th and 6th! Attached hereto please find registration forms and hotel information for this Diocese-wide teen event. If you have any questions, please contact me at erin.ghata@gmail.com or by phone at 415-755-7804."

$35 Registration NOT INCLUDING HOTEL
$50 Team Registration

Individual Registration and medical form are DUE BY September 27th, 2013. Please send release forms and team registration forms to:

St. Elijah Orthodox Church
Attn: ERIN GHATA
15000 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73134

Fr. Constantine Nasr Speaks on Parish Growth and Evangelization

Bishop Michael (OCA) with Fr. ConstantineBishop Michael (OCA) with Fr. ConstantineView Video of Fr. Constantine's talks

The Diocese of New York & New Jersey for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) recently sponsored the 2013 Parish Council Conference for the Diocese. At the invitation of His Grace Bishop Michael, the conference facilitator was Antiochian speaker and author The Very Rev. Constantine Nasr. Father Constantine oversaw the growth of a modestly sized parish in Oklahoma City, OK to a truly thriving community of over 1,000 souls during his three decades of pastoral ministry. With enthusiasm, clarity, and wit, Father Constantine shared his years of expertise and highly practical methods for making the faith contagious and parishes inviting to both new visitors and to those who have fallen out of regular participation in parish life. 

Blake Keller (Parish Council Warden, Saint John the Baptist Church, Rochester NY) said: “Father Constantine Nasr immediately got the attention of the conference participants by reminding us that in the Gospel of Mathew we are told to ‘Go ye therefore...!’ He repeatedly inspired us that this requires energy and effort, not sitting frozen.

"Man of the Year" Award Presented to Dr. George J. Farha

The Dr. George J. Farha FamilyThe Dr. George J. Farha FamilyOn Tuesday, July 30, 2013, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presented Dr. George J. Farha with the Antiochian Heritage Foundation’s 2013 “Man of the Year” award.

Born in Merj-Auon, Lebanon, Dr. Farha immigrated to the United States to pursue his baccalaureate degree at West Virginia University, and his doctorate of medicine degree at Tulane University Medical School. After graduating medical school, Dr. Farha came to Wichita where he met his wife Brenda.  Since beginning practice in Wichita, he has always brought Christ into his practice by taking care of the patient first and treating all patients with the best care possible.

St. Timon Sunday 2013

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

The Feast of St. Timon when our parishes and missions pray for and highlight the history, ministries and needs of DOWAMA's Sister Diocese of Bosra-Hauran shepherded by Metropolitan Saba, is Sunday, July 28th, 2013. Please see my attached letter to the Diocese about this observance. If, however, you will be remaining in Houston for the concluding Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Archdiocesan Convention on July 28th, you may keep St. Timon Sunday with your congregation on the preceding Sunday, July 21st. Metropolitan Saba has provided the following updated list of the clergy serving in his Archdiocese. Please pray for His Eminence, his clergy and congregations when you keep St. Timon Sunday in your community.

51st Archdiocese Convention Kicks Off in Houston

The city of Houston, and Fr. James Shadid and the parish of St. George Orthodox Christian Church, are hosting the Antiochian Archdiocese Convention this week at the Hilton Americas hotel. The largest legislative body of the Archdiocese, the General Assembly meets in convention biennially. In addition to the business meetings, liturgical celebrations, exhibits, youth activities, and department meetings  are central to each convention as well.

There will also be special events that emphasize the uniquely Southern character of this year's gathering. Families will enjoy the Country Western Dinner and Dance on Thursday evening, while on Friday evening convention goers can attend the Mardi Gras Masquerade Dinner/Dance; visits to several of Houston's tourist venues are planned. The culmination of the week is the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday with Metropolitan Philip and all eight Auxiliary Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese presiding. 

Fr. Raphael Daly and Fr. Isaac Farha Return to DOWAMA

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Fr. RaphaelFr. RaphaelFr. IsaacFr. IsaacWELCOME HOME TO DOWAMA!

Fr. Raphael Daly, a son of St. Michael Church in Beaumont, Texas currently serving as second priest at St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been assigned second priest at St. Elias Church in Austin, Texas. He and his wife Khouriya Zohreh are the parents of two young daughters.

Fr. Isaac Farha, a son of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas currently serving proistamenos at St. Nicholas Church in Fairbanks, Alaska, has been assigned proistamenos at Holy Transfiguration in Hillsboro, Kansas. He and his wife Khouriya Anastasia are the parents of three young children: a son and two daughters.