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Diocese of Wichita News

Prayers for Our Hierarchs and Board of Trustees at Fall Meetings

Your prayers are requested for our Hierarchs and Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese who are gathering in Wichita, Kansas for their regular fall meetings from October 28–30, 2016. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph is presiding over the meetings, this year hosted by His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America.

The assembled hierarchs, clergy, board members and lay leaders will discuss various matters impacting the life of the Archdiocese. The weekend will conclude with a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas. May God bless all of their endeavors for His glory.

Teacher Training in Lakewood, CO + November 4-5, 2016

The Light of Christ Illuminath All: 
Reading The Old Testament in the Light of Christ
A weekend of fellowship and learning sponsored by the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Christian Education
Download brochure (PDF)

Fri.-Sat., November 4-5, 2016
St. John Chrysostom Mission
9300 West Dartmouth Place, Lakewood, CO 80227
V. Rev. Seraphim Gisetti
Phone: 720-938-1302
Email, Fr. Seraphim:
Email, Vasiliki Oldziey:

Join Dn. Elisha Long and Vasiliki Oldziey for their presentation on Christ in the Old Testament. Dn. Elisha will help you discover how Christ was proclaimed in the stories of the Old Testament. He will also introduce his curriculum "Promise and Preparation." Vasiliki will provide a teacher training workshop on Saturday morning.

2017 Winter Camp St. Raphael

The Diocese of Wichita Winter Camp 2017 (WAMP) will take place at Camp St. Raphael in Wagoner, Oklahoma from January 13th-16th, 2017. More information will follow soon.

Questions? Contact DOWAMA Youth Director Erin Ghata at

2017 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat

2017 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat
February 7th-10th, 2017
Spiritual Life Center + Wichita, KS
Theme: Witnessing to Our Faith before the World

Featuring guest speaker Metropolitan John (Pelushi) of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania

DOWAMA'S 45th Annual Clergy Brotherhood Retreat will be held at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas, Tuesday-Friday, February 7th-10th, 2017.

The guest speaker will be Metropolitan John (Pelushi) of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. The theme for the retreat will be "Witnessing to our Faith before the World" which His Eminence will address in seven talks. 

Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Parish Centennial of St. Thomas Church in Sioux City, IA

View the photo album on Facebook

On September 2-5, 2016—Labor Day Weekend— St. Thomas Church in Sioux City, IA celebrated its 100th Anniversary. People came from all over the country to worship, fellowship, dance, and celebrate this auspicious milestone. Perhaps most especially, we were graced beyond measure with the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for the full weekend. In addition to the formal meals, the hafli, and the grand banquet, participants were given multiple opportunities to connect with God and with one another. Each day brought its own special joys.

Antiochian Archdiocese Mourns Mr. Khalid Jabara

The Antiochian Archdiocese continues to mourn the murder of Mr. Khalid Jabara, a faithful parishioner of St. Antony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma. News coverage of his passing has been extensive. In his letter to the Jabara family, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph said: “We live in a material world that is encouraged to commit evil all the time. ‘Sin no more!’ are the words of Christ’s warning that should be the principle, founding motto, of our human existence.”

Sayidna Joseph has asked the clergy and laity to remember Mr. Jabara in their prayers for the departed for his eternal life, and to remember his loved ones in their prayers for the living, especially within the first 40 days of his falling asleep in the Lord. May God receive Mr. Jabara in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Memory Eternal! + Shamassy Janice Marie Bourquin

Memory Eternal! + Shamassy Janice Marie Bourquin

Shamassy Janice Marie Bourquin, wife of Deacon John Bourquin of St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church in Erie, CO, reposed at her home late on the night of August 18, 2016, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Times of services have not yet been finalized, but are tentatively set for Sunday evening, August 21 and Monday morning, August 22.  Condolences may be sent to Deacon John and the Bourquin family at  

2016 DOWAMA Basketball Tournament

September 23rd-25th, 2016
St. Elijah Church + Oklahoma City, OK

The 10th Annual DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament will be hosted at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma over the weekend September 23rd-25th, 2016. Attached are the flyer, individual registration form and team registration form. If you have any questions, please contact DOWAMA Youth Diretcor Erin Ghata at



St. Timon Sunday 2016

Further resources for St. Timon's Sunday:

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

June 29, 2016

Beloved and Christ-loving priests, deacons, monastics and lay folk of DOWAMA:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Lord Christ.

In the Biblical account of the feast of Pentecost (Acts 2) we read of people from a multitude of nations who heard for the very first time and "everyone in his own language" (2:6) the proclamation by the Holy Apostles of the Good News. Among those people were "Arabians" (2:11) which meant people from Rome's frontier province of Arabia Petraea (the area of modern Syria south of Damascus, the Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, the Sinai peninsula and the northwestern tip of modern Saudi Arabia).

Bishop Basil Offers Thanks for Parish Life Conference

DOWAMA Clergy with Bishop Basil, 2016 Parish Life ConferenceDOWAMA Clergy with Bishop Basil, 2016 Parish Life ConferenceBishop Basil writes: Most sincere thanks to Fr. George and Kh. Claudia Eber, Dn. Michael and Sh. Vivian Miles, Dn. Stephen and & Sh. Cynthia Beasley, PLC Co-chairs A.B. Bayouth and Matthew Eber, and Thom Crowe, and the entire parish family of St. Antony in Tulsa, OK, for hosting an exceedingly blessed Parish Life Conference for our Diocese this past week. We are most grateful for your many kindnesses and gracious hospitality!

Fr. Meletios Marx Ordained to Holy Priesthood

Fr. Meletios MarxHis Grace Bishop Basil writes:

AXIOS! Fr. Meletios Marx of St. Joseph Church in Houston, Texas was ordained to the holy priesthood at St. Joseph Church this past Sunday, May 29th, 2016, and is assigned second priest at that parish. He is currently serving his "Week of Liturgies" at St. Joseph Church.

Congratulations to New DOWAMA Seminary Graduates

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MANY YEARS! Two sons of DOWAMA, Fr. Paul Fuller of St. George Church in Houston, TX and Samonas "Sam" Kim of St. Elias Church in Austin, TX, graduated from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY this past Saturday, May 21st, 2016 with the degree of Master of Divinity (M.Div.). They are pictured here with Fr. Chad Hatfield, another son of DOWAMA, who currently serves as Chancellor (CEO) of St. Vladimir's Seminary.

Memory Eternal! + Adele Helen Abraham

Adele Helen Kaleel Abraham, age 95, fell asleep peacefully in the Lord at her home on Thursday May 19, 2016. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband of 66 years, Abe, her parents Nicholas and Shafica Kaleel, sisters Mabel and Regina Kanag (George), brothers Naseeb (Elsie), Ernest (Laurece), and George, brothers-in-law Wade Abraham (Margaret), James Abraham (Georgette) and Dr. Thomas Bander.  Adele is survived by her four loving children Alan (Debbie), Cheryl (Sam) Barkett, Carol (Peter) Assaly, Kaye (Mike) Powell, ten very special grand-children Kristen (Fadi) Baradihi, Philip (Mindy) Abraham, Jeffrey (Nicole) Abraham, Brittany Abraham, Lauren Barkett, David (Kate) Barkett, Allison Assaly, Meredith Assaly, Melissa Powell and Rick Powell, nine great-grandchildren who she cherished Maya, Natalie, Alexa, Lea, Allie, Elise, Mark, Rita and Sammy, brother Thomas (Eva) Kaleel, sister-in-law Dolores Bander and many godchildren, nieces and nephews.

Adele was born in Spring Valley, Illinois on February 23, 1921. She graduated from Hall High School. Adele proudly worked for Westclox, a company that during World War II converted from making clocks to grenades to support the war effort. In 1947, Adele married the love of her life, Abe and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Adele embraced her role as a wife and mother; she loved being involved in her children’s school activities. She served as a Girl Scout troop leader and as PTA President.

Memory Eternal! + Gloria D. Armistead

Gloria Diane Armistead: August 4, 1928 – April 27, 2016
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants." (Psalm 116:15)

Memory Eternal! Gloria Diane Farah Armistead, after a decade-long struggle with lymphocytic leukemia, peacefully fell asleep in our Lord Jesus Christ during the late evening of Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at the Good Life Senior Living Center in El Paso, Texas. 

Gloria was born on August 4, 1928, in Beaumont, Texas. She was christened as Gloria Dian Farha, the spelling of her middle and last names later modified to "Diane" and "Farah." She was the second youngest of six children born to Amelia and John Farah, Jr., who had emigrated to the U.S. from the port city of Tripoli, Lebanon. 

Gloria graduated from Beaumont High School in 1945 and undertook additional studies at Angelo's Business College in Beaumont, Texas. In 1965, Gloria moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and began working at Louisiana State University. She remained at LSU for next 13-years, before moving to El Paso in 1978. In El Paso Gloria found employment at the University of Texas at El Paso where she worked as an Administrative Assistant in the UTEP's Department of Economics and Finance under the direction of the Department Chair, Professor Timothy P. Roth.

Memory Eternal! + Kh. Jedonne Rhudy

February 23, 2016, Memory Eternal! + Kh. Jedonne Rhudy

Word has been received of the falling asleep in Christ this past weekend of Khouria Jedonne Rhudy, wife of F.r Stephen Rhudy, formerly of St John the Forerunner in Cedar Park, TX. Condolences may be sent to Fr. Stephen and family at

Memory Eternal! + Sherry Abraham Morrow

Memory eternal! Sherry Abraham Morrow, December 4, 1948 - February 17, 2016

Sherry was born on December 4, 1948 and raised in Woodward, Oklahoma. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Shortly after graduation, she married Don Abraham and moved to Wichita, Kansas. They had two daughters, Candace and Ginger. Don and Sherry owned and operated Ali Baba Bakery for 19 years. The bakery specialized in pita bread, but eventually made over 100 different varieties. She worked full time at the bakery with Don until he was diagnosed with cancer in 1994, and they sold their business. Sherry worked on weekends at Abe's Steak House, a restaurant owned by Don's family. Don passed away on February 28, 1995.

In November 2003, Sherry married Mark Morrow. Their blended family consists of two sons, three daughters, two sons-in-law, two daughters-in-law, five granddaughters and four grandsons. Mark and Sherry split their time between Wichita and Oklahoma City and were active in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian churches in both communities – St. George Cathedral in Wichita and St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City. At St. George Cathedral, Sherry served as the Chairman of the annual Lebanese dinner and was the Baklawa Chairman for many years, perfecting the process of making enough baklawa to serve more than 5,500 people!

Texas Newspaper Article Features Antiochian Orthodox Christians

"They grew up in Damascus in a time before Syria was a synonym in the Western mind for chaos and religious extremism. Reem Hoff and Rouba Heckenlively grew up a half-hour's walk from each other, both in families that practiced their Syrian Orthodox Christian faith openly among Muslims. Rouba's mother and Reem's aunt were friends. By coincidence, both women met American travelers who were visiting monasteries. Both women ended up living as American citizens in a suburb of Waco."

So begins a recent Waco Tribune-Herald article featuring the extraordinary story of two families from St. Andrew Orthodox Church, an Antiochian mission in Waco. In November 2015, investigative reporter J.B. Smith began contacting Syrians in Central Texas to get their take on the provocative words of a Texas state official, who had likened Syrians entering the U.S. to "rattlesnakes" ready to strike. Smith soon found there were a number of Syrian Christians in the area, a fact which defied the simplistic and false stereotype of all Middle East immigrants as "extremists" and "radicals" – this led him to contact St. Andrew parish priest Fr. John Ballard, who put the reporter in touch with the Hoff and Heckenlively families.

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Lucia Neustrom

Memory Eternal! Kh. Lukie Neustrom with the late Fr. ThomasMemory Eternal! Kh. Lukie Neustrom with the late Fr. ThomasMemory Eternal! Khouria Lucia "Lukie" Neustrom, retired from All Saints Orthodox Church, Salina, KS, peacefully fell asleep in Christ on February 12, 2016, at the age of 95. Condolences may be sent to Khouria Lukie's family via Fr. Daniel Griffith of All Saints in Salina, at Divine services for Khouria Lukie will be held at All Saints, and funeral arrangements are as follows: Visitation at All Saints, Tuesday, February 16, from 5:00-8:00PM with Trisagion Prayers of Mercy at 7:30PM, and the Funeral at All Saints on Wednesday, February 17, at 10:00AM.

Many Years to His Grace Bishop Basil!

Many years, master! January 1st is the celebration of St. Basil the Great and the namesday 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.

Christmas Greetings from Metropolitan Saba of Bosra-Hauran

His Eminence Metropolitan Saba of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran in Syria writes:

Dearest Brother: I am sending to you to share with your Diocese several photos from the children's Christmas pageant at our Church of the Annunciation in Dara'a. Thanks be to God we could give them some joy during these most difficult days in which they are living. I send the photos to you because I know that your love and that of your flock for me and my Archdiocese is great. Many things we can do only because of that love. Please keep us in your prayers and accept my best Christmas wishes.

+Metropolitan Saba of Bosra-Hauran

2016 Winter Camp St. Raphael

Fr. Nicholas BelcherFr. Nicholas BelcherThe Diocese of Wichita Winter Camp 2016 (WAMP) will take place at Camp St. Raphael in Wagoner, Oklahoma from January 15th-18th, 2016. The retreat speaker will be Fr. Nicholas Belcher from Hellenic College/Holy Cross. Teens in 7th-12th grade can register for the retreat at

Questions? Contact DOWAMA Youth Director Erin Ghata at

Young Orthodox Professionals Gather in Santa Fe, NM

Valerie Blomberg writes:

"As Orthodox young people gather, personal isolation ceases to influence the development of their Orthodox identity."

These are the words Archimandrite Gerasim, dean of St. Seraphim's Cathedral in Dallas and our keynote speaker, gave us before the start of the Orthodox Young Professionals Retreat held in Santa Fe, New Mexico from October 16-18, 2015. We felt his words to be true as a community of Orthodox young adults formed over the course of the three day retreat. Most of us were strangers to one another at the start, but soon became fast friends. Personal isolation fell away as we discovered a community of like-minded young adults who would support us in answering the call to "sanctify time and space" and to bring Christ into the midst of our everyday lives.

Bishop Basil's Homily at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Los Angeles, California

Over the weekend of October 22-25, 2015, the hierarchs and Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese convened in Van Nuys and Los Angeles, CA, for their annual Fall Meeting. On Sunday morning, October 25, the hierarchs and clergy gathered with the faithful of St. Nicholas Cathedral for Orthros and the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph invited His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America to preach the homily. His Grace focused on the Epistle reading of the day, Galatians 2:16-20, in which St. Paul said "that a man is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Jesus Christ."

Presented by the Multimedia Ministry Team at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Los Angeles, California

November 2015 DOWAMA Ordination and Elevations

Bishop Basil with the newly-elevated Archpriest James Shadid and Archdeacon Joseph Carter.Bishop Basil with the newly-elevated Archpriest James Shadid and Archdeacon Joseph Carter.His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

AXIOS! On Sunday, November 1st, Fr. James Shadid and Deacon Joseph Carter, both of St. George Church in Houston, Texas, were elevated to the rank and dignity of Archpriest and Archdeacon respectively.

WORTHY! On Sunday, November 8th, Subdeacon Paul Fuller, former youth director at St. George Church in Houston, Texas, now in his senior year at St. Vladimir's Seminary, was ordained to the holy diaconate.

Fr. Patrick Henre Ordained to Holy Priesthood

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

AXIOS! Father Patrick Henre of St. Basil the Great Church in Kansas City, KS was ordained to the holy priesthood at his home parish of St. Basil the Great on Sunday, September 13th, 2015, and is assigned to the pastorate at the Church of St. John the Theologian in Rapid City, SD, effective October 1st. He will serve his 'Week of Liturgies' at St Basil Church beginning with that for the Elevation of the Cross.