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Diocese of Wichita News

2017 Nativity Letter From Bishop Basil

The interior of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (built in AD 327 by St Helen)The interior of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (built in AD 327 by St Helen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


To the Christ-loving Priests, Deacons, Monastics and Lay Folk
of this God-protected Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss and the joyous festal proclamation:
          Christ is born – ولد ألمسيـح
          Χριστὸς Γεννᾶται – Христос рождается
          Hristos se rodi – Hristos se naşte

May God the All-holy Trinity grant you and your households the happiest of Feasts and a New Year filled with His abundant and rich blessings. With assurance of my continued love, prayers and blessings, I remain

In Christ the Incarnate Word of God,
+Bishop Basil

2018 Winter Camp Registrations are Happening Now!

WAMP 2018!  Online registration for DOWAMA SOYO Winter Camp (a.k.a. WAMP) at Camp Saint Raphael, January 1215, 2018, is open at www.wamp2018.eventbee.com. Questions? Contact DOWAMA Youth Director Erin Ghata at: erin.ghata@gmail.com.

St. Saba the Sanctified + December 5

Shrine with the incorrupt relics of St. Saba at Mar Saba Monastery near BethlehemSanctified from youth, O righteous Saba, thou wast a summit of righteousness equal to the Angels. Thou didst lead a heavenly life, and guide thy flock to godliness by word and deed. And they cry to thee with faith: Glory to Him who hath strengthened thee; glory to Him who hath crowned thee; glory to Him who through thee worketh healings for all.

+Troparion, Tone 1

Read about the life of St. Saba
Many years to Metropolitan SABA of our Sister Diocese of Bosra Hauran in southern Syria, who keeps this as his Name's Day!

Metropolitan JOSEPH's Statement on Sutherland Springs, TX

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, on behalf of the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese, laments the tragic loss of life in Sutherland Springs, Texas and offers fervent, broken-hearted prayers for all of the innocent victims and for all of those who are grieving.

His Eminence reflects: “As children of the Church of Antioch, we are no strangers to acts of violence being perpetrated in our churches and know all too well the pain of such tragedies. During his recent visit, our Father-in-Christ, Patriarch John, witnessed to the courage, faith, and steadfastness of his flock in the face of violence and martyrdom, and we were moved by his preaching of love and reconciliation.

As Orthodox Christians of this land, we are similarly called to respond to evil with the love and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the witness of our martyred Church of Antioch, we offer our countrymen hope in Christ’s Resurrection and His final triumph over evil. We pray for our brothers and sisters of Sutherland Springs, and we beseech the Almighty God to grant eternal rest to the slain, speedy recovery to the wounded, and grace-filled comfort to all those affected.”

Registration Opens for St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference & Parenting Retreat, South

Glory to God! Registration for the SOUTH St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference & Parenting Retreat is NOW open! Harvey didn't stop us, and we hope nothing will stop you! Registration is limited, and we expect to sell out. Register TODAY by going to the Conference website.

2018 SOUTH Conference
January 19–21, 2018
The Saint Constantine School
Houston, Texas

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Philip Mamalakis

Memory Eternal! + Lorraine Husson-Ferris

Memory Eternal! + Lorraine Husson-Ferris, daughter of the late Fr. Nicholas and Kh. Mary Husson, quietly fell asleep at the age of 95 early this morning in Wichita, KS. She was preceded in death by her husband George and her three sisters: Beulah Farha of Wichita, KS, Vivian Coury of Garden Grove, CA, and Virginia Farah of El Paso, TX (whose Virginia H. Farah Foundation has supported numerous Antiochian Orthodox projects for many years).

Lorraine is survived by five children and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. The funeral will be served this Saturday, September 30, 2017 at St. Mary Orthodox Church in Wichita, KS. Condolences may be sent to the family at contact@farahfoundation.org.

Metropolitan Joseph Urges Prayer and Practical Assistance in the Wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT AND PUBLISHED IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN

Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos+

Beloved in Christ:

Greetings to you and your families on this Feast Day.

We have all witnessed with a heavy heart the catastrophic destruction and massive flooding in Southeast Texas, Western Louisiana and now Florida as a result of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I urge the entire Archdiocese to pray for the safety of the residents of Florida and all those in the wake of Hurricane Irma and direct our parishes to offer up special prayers at Sunday's Divine Liturgy for the safety and quick recovery of those affected. Some of the scenes of suffering have been beyond words. I have been in constant contact with our clergy and the parishes of the affected areas and am waiting for an assessment from them in order to help in any way we can. Although things are still unfolding, we want to be proactive in our appeal to all of you so we can respond as quickly as possible.

As people of God and the Church of Christ, we feel compelled to help our brothers and sisters in need. Therefore, I am asking every parish and mission of the Archdiocese to appeal to their faithful and hold special collections throughout the month of September so that we can alleviate a little of the pain and suffering the good people of that area are enduring.

"Engaging our Youth" September Workshop and Retreat in Colorado

St. Elias Orthodox Church in Arvada, Colorado welcomes Fr. James and Kh. Gigi Shadid for a workshop and retreat on Friday and Saturday, September 29–30!

Father James will host an "Ask Abouna" session on Friday evening, and an energetic retreat for teens and young adults on Saturday. Khouria Gigi will discuss "Season of Faith," "The Nuts & Bolts of Teaching" and "How to Engage Our Children," with the adult attendees. Print the attached flyer to promote this event in your parish, and submit the registration form to secure your place at this exciting conference. Please forward registration materials to St. Elias Orthodox Church or contact Fr. George Shawareb at 303-949-5809 or frgeorgeshawareb@yahoo.com for more information.

Letter From His Beatitude Patriarch John X to the Texas Faithful

Damascus, Syria

Your Eminence Metropolitan Joseph,
Beloved brothers and sisters in Texas State:

From the Mariamite Cathedral in Damascus, I greet you in the name of our Lord; and heartily express my deepest sympathy and compassion during this devastating time where the destructive Hurricane Harvey hit Texas State.

Despite the sufferings of your brothers and sisters in Syria and all the Middle East, you are in their thoughts and prayers, and along with St. Paul, we repeat: "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulations, be constant in prayer" (Romans 12:12).

You are people of faith, and by God's will, you shall overcome this sad event stronger and united under the parental care of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. You all remain in the heart and prayers of your Patriarch.

May God, the Lord of mercy and compassion protect all of you, help the affected, heal the wounded and bless the souls of those who rested in peace.

Transferring to you all the love, prayer, and compassion of every Antiochian faithful and sending you the Apostolic blessing of the Apostles Peter and Paul, we pray to God to strengthen you and keep you under the maternal protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary.

†JOHN X
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Prayers for Deliverance from Hurricanes

(photo: UPI/Newscom)(photo: UPI/Newscom)On August 26, 2017, His Grace Bishop Basil, Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, wrote: Prayers are requested for the people of Texas as it is expected that millions of them will continue to suffer the adverse effects of former-Hurricane now Tropical Storm Harvey for the next several days. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is preparing to send response teams to the area, and included among them will be Fr. Raphael Barberg (frraphaelbarberg@gmail.com), second priest at St Elijah in Oklahoma City, OK, who is a trained "IOCC Frontline Clergy."

Read Metropolitan Joseph's letter about relief efforts.

Listen to the August 30 Ancient Faith update with Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, pastor of St. Joseph Orthodox Church in Houston.

O LORD JESUS CHRIST HAVE MERCY ON US SINNERS!
As you saved your apostles from perishing in a storm by calming wind and waves on you command, so now keep us safe and sound in this hurricane season.  Grant us favorable and benign weather.  Protect us from the unpredictable elements of nature.  Steer us from storm, flood, fire, illness, injury, disaster and sudden death.  Preserve us from all evil and harm for we, though sinful, are nonetheless the work of Your hands.  And You together with your Father who has no beginning and Your all holy good and life giving Spirit are our God in whom we live, move, and have being. Now and ever and unto ages and ages. Amen.

MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS SAVE US!
Seeing how your holy and powerful maternal intercessions and safe haven for the storm tossed, count us worthy of your prayers during this season of uncertain and threatening weather.  Beg your divine human Son to grant us mercy, forgiveness, health, safety and salvation over the coming months.  For He is sure to listen to you, His mother, the woman whom all generations call blessed.  Amen.

Annual Clergy Wives Weekend to be Held at Antiochian Village, October 20-22, 2017

Byzantine wedding ringByzantine wedding ringDownload the Registration Form

Come to this pan-Orthodox gathering and be refreshed and restored! As always, this weekend offers an opportunity for clergy wives to rededicate ourselves to our own personal spiritual journeys as we participate with our husbands and families in the various vineyards where God has led us. We are reminded of the efforts and the memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah, for whom care and nurturing of clergy wives was always a priority. Likewise this year we will celebrate and remember Kh. Stefanie Yazge, whose dedication to clergy wives and their families will be remembered on Friday evening specifically by her children—Matt, Mark, and Alexis—as we open our session.

Details

Speaker: Mother Christophora, Abbess Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA

Group Facilitator: Deacon Seraphim Moslener: Gifts for the Journey: Faith, Hope and Love

Metropolitan Joseph Urges Prayer and Practical Assistance in the Wake of Harvey

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT AND PUBLISHED IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN

Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner

Beloved in Christ:

Greetings to you and your families as we prepare for the beginning of a new Church year.

We have all witnessed with a heavy heart the catastrophic destruction and massive flooding in Southeast Texas (and now Western Louisiana) as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Some of the scenes of suffering have been beyond words. I have been in constant contact with our clergy and the parishes of the area and am waiting for an assessment from them in order to help in any way we can. Although things are still unfolding, we want to be proactive in our appeal to all of you so we can respond as quickly as possible.

As people of God and the Church of Christ, we feel compelled to help our brothers and sisters in need. Therefore, I am asking every parish and mission of the archdiocese to appeal to their faithful and hold special collections throughout the month of September so that we can alleviate a little of the pain and suffering the good people of that area are enduring.

Orthodox Christian Translation Society Accepting Proposals for Translation Projects

The Orthodox Christian Translation Society (OCTS), a non-profit organization committed to facilitating the entire process of creating high-quality Orthodox translations from project conception to publication and distribution, is accepting proposals for future translation projects.

OCTS accepts proposals from skilled translators and then selects projects to support. Once a project is chosen, OCTS commits to support that project financially from beginning to end. This includes translation, editing, publication, and distribution. Each translator is supported financially according to a method which best suits his or her needs; this may include hourly compensation, compensation based on length of the text, or royalty payments made at the time of sales. In this way, OCTS provides opportunities for skilled translators to commit their time to Orthodox translation work while also supporting themselves and their families or monastic communities.

2017 DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament Forms Available

The 2017 DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament will be hosted at St. Elijah in Oklahoma City, OK, on October 6–8. All forms and flyers with relevant info are attached hereto. Questions? Please contact our Diocesan Youth Director Erin Ghata at erin.ghata@gmail.com.

Memory Eternal! + Georgia Marx

Memory Eternal! + Georgia Marx, mother of Fr. Meletios Marx of St. Joseph Orthodox Church in Houston, TX, reposed on Monday, July 24, 2017, and will be buried from St. Joseph on Thursday, August 3.

Born in Galveston, Texas on March 27, 1941, Georgia received a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology from North Texas State University in 1962. She dedicated a large part of her life to working with children who had speech impediments. She had a strong love of God and was very active in church. She had ten green thumbs and was a member of a neighborhood garden club where she won numerous blue ribbons for floral design. Needlepoint was another passion of Georgia’s, and her stich mastery was often displayed at local shops. She loved good food, socializing with friends and family, and old movies, particularly, John Wayne’s The Quiet Man. Equal to her love of family was her love of cats and the fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Fatherhood, A Kind of Asceticism

By Deacon Thom Crowe

At three in the morning, our house is quiet and dark. The distractions of the day all fade into silence, no to-do lists, no errands, no calls, nothing. I learned this the night we brought Elise home from the hospital and was reminded the countless nights over the next coming months. We learned quickly that I could wake up and fall back to sleep much easier than my wife, so I took night duty. After changing Ellie’s diaper, we would sit in the living room with all of the hustle and bustles of life far away. I watched that precious little girl for hours as she ate and slept in my arms. I didn’t know nursery rhymes so I would chant the hymns of the Church to her. Granted, at three in the morning my mind reached for what it could, and I remember one night chanting the Troparion of the Cross, followed by a Nativity hymn, then “Open to Me” and the Troparion of Epiphany. The next morning I laughed at the odd prayer service I had put together mashing up hymns that spanned the entire liturgical year. But I figured I couldn’t introduce her to the Faith too early.

Countdown to Miami: 2017 Antiochian Archdiocese Convention FAQ

The community of St. George welcomes you!The community of St. George welcomes you!Summer draws near, and so does the 53rd biennial convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese, July 23-30, 2017 in Miami. The Very Rev. Fouad Saba and the host parish of St. George Cathedral of Coral Gables, Florida took time from their busy schedules to talk about the features of what looks to be a historic gathering of the Archdiocesan clergy and faithful.

Who are the featured and keynote speakers this year?

The Grand Banquet will honor His Grace Bishop Antoun on Saturday night, July 29, where we anticipate our beloved diocesan hierarch will reflect upon his lifetime ministry and experiences in his service to Christ’s Holy Church. Fr. Antoine Melki, professor of computer science and technology at Balamand University in Lebanon, will be the keynote speaker during the General Assembly on Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29, and in other scheduled workshops and events. The host committee is excited to welcome Fr. Melki, who will present interesting insights on the effects of technology in the modern world on the Orthodox Christian family.

Memory Eternal! + Chafica Chamoun-Cohlmia

Mrs. Cohlmia with her sons Dr. Samir and George.Mrs. Cohlmia with her sons Dr. Samir and George.Memory Eternal! + Chafica Chamoun-Cohlmia, 82, mother of Dr. Samir Nouhad Cohlmia, Diocesan Protopsaltis for the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, reposed on the evening of Great and Holy Friday, April 14, 2017. She was preparing to attend the divine service. The Paschal Funeral will be served at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS on Bright Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., with interment followed by a meal of mercy on Bright Wednesday beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Condolences may be sent to Dr. Samir and his brother George at SamCohlmia@yahoo.com.

Spring 2017 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2017 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. The issue contains:

  • A greeting from His Grace Bishop Basil
  • A message from Spiritual Advisor Fr. Christopher Morris
  • A message from the Diocesan President Deana Bottei
  • Profiles of diocesan officers
  • Chapter reports, photos and happenings

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

2017 Pascha Letter From Bishop Basil

Bas-relief above the Tomb of ChristBas-relief above the Tomb of ChristPascha 2017

Beloved and Christ-loving Clergy, Monastics and Laity of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Resurrected Theanthropos Jesus Christ, and, together with you and Orthodox Christians throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim that Christ is risen! Christos anesti! Al-Maseeh qaam! Christos Voskresse! Hristos a înviat!

As we prepare to celebrate the most glorious Feast of feasts in our beautifully adorned church temples across the Heartland of America, let us recall and be inspired by another glorious Pascha  − this one celebrated in stark Block 26 at Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945:

Giving: Answering Grace With Grace

By Fr. Joseph Huneycutt from The Word, April 2017

Years ago, before I was ordained and we held reader services in our home, a frequent visitor would often drop a fifty-dollar or hundred dollar bill in the collection plate. Later, the Council members would giddily gather and pore over icon catalogues wondering how best to spend the money. The salad days of church planting are, in hindsight, the best!

Speaking of salad days, I remember as a layman putting a fifty-dollar bill in the plate as it passed by. I had wanted to give only a twenty, but thought it bad form to make change in the pew. Back then, forgive me, I remember dwelling on just how the parish would spend that increase!

Memory Eternal! + John Roman

John Roman (3rd from left) at the 2015 Archdiocesan ConventionJohn Roman (3rd from left) at the 2015 Archdiocesan ConventionMemory Eternal! John Roman, son of the late Daniel and Olympia Roman of Tucson, AZ, reposed yesterday, February 15, 2017, after a valiant battle with cancer. John, a member of Holy Resurrection parish in Tucson AZ, was a past president of NAC Senior SOYO during the year 1978-1979. 

Winter 2017 Sacred Music Institute in Houston Has Lenten Theme

St. George, HoustonSt. George, HoustonUpdate: The registration deadline has been extended to February 9th.

It's not too late to sign up for the Winter 2017 Sacred Music Institute (SMI), with the theme of "Great Lent: A Church Singer's Guide." This SMI will be held on February 17–19, 2017, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, TX. At the same time, teens will have their very own sessions in the Youth Music Ministry (YMM) track, studying Byzantine chant with Rassem El-Massih and choral music with Paul Jabara. Presentations on the Akathist Service and Presanctified Liturgy will be offered and God-willing, the teens will lead one of the services.

Don't miss this opportunity to gain a better understanding of Lenten services, their history and structure, and to learn new music, both Byzantine chant and Western choral. Instructors include Chairman Paul Jabara, Diocesan Directors Mareena Boosamra Ball and Chris Farha, and chanters Rassem El-Massih and Emily Lowe. The Institute will offer instruction in Byzantine chant, vocal and choral technique, conducting, and theology. Private and small group vocal lessons will be available throughout the weekend. Scholarships are available for both teens and adults: contact Chris Farha for more information.

Register now!

Memory Eternal! + Martha Bethancourt

Martha Bethancourt, the mother of Fr. John Bethancourt of Holy Trinity in Santa Fe, NM and the paternal grandmother of Fr. Daniel Bethancourt of St. Nicholas in Shreveport, LA reposed on December 31, 2016. Father James Coles of St. Ignatius in Mesa, AZ was with her, saying prayers. She lived with strength and died at peace with all at the age of 97. For this, and every aspect of her life, the family gives thanks to God. May her memory be eternal!

Youth Music Ministry Teen Scholarships Available

Great Opportunity for Teens who love Music!

The Department of Sacred Music is thrilled to announce the upcoming Youth Music Ministry, in conjunction with the 2017 Winter Sacred Music Institute, to be held from February 17, 2017 at 7 p.m. until February 19, 5 p.m. Hosted by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, this weekend promises to be informative, inspirational and a lot of fun, Texas style! REGISTER HERE!!

This is the first time a Youth Music Ministry, or YMM, has been organized outside of the Summer Sacred Music Institute at the Antiochian Village. We invite all teens, especially those from the host parish Diocese of Wichita and Mid America, to participate.

Come learn more about Lenten services, their history, theology and of course their music. Think of it as kind of a tune-up before Great Lent begins!