Diocese of Wichita News


Spring 2013 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2013 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, and contains:

  • A message from His Eminence Archbishop Joseph on the Feast of the Annunciation
  • A message from Diocese of Wichita Antiochian Women President Deana Bottei
  • A message from His Grace Bishop Basil
  • Do Icons Really Matter? by the late Archpriest Peter E. Gillquist

...and more! Click here to download (PDF).

41st Annual DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat

From February 12-15, 2013, Wichita, Kansas was the site of the annual St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood Retreat of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, attended by 67 clergymen. Over the course of four days, a series of lectures was read on the topic “Feasting and Fasting in the Orthodox Church,” by Nun Vassa (Larin) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who traveled to Kansas from Vienna, Austria, at the invitation of the Bishop of the Diocese, His Grace Bishop Basil (Essey). Sister Vassa, PhD, is a monastic of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany (ROCOR) and a lecturer in the Department of Liturgical Studies at the University of Vienna.

Record Number of Teens Attend Oklahoma SOYO Winter Camp

DOWAMA Winter Campers, February 2013DOWAMA Winter Campers, February 2013The Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America's Youth Director Erin Ghata, member of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Oklahoma City, OK, recently reported to the St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood, that the Diocese of Wichita's annual SOYO Winter Camp from February 15-17 exceeded all expectations. "Your blessing!" wrote Ms. Ghata. "Thank God, by your prayers, we had a wonderful time this past weekend at Winter Camp! More than 120 DOWAMA teens and chaperones gathered at Camp Saint Raphael (YABOY!) for a weekend of prayer, fellowship and learning. It was the biggest Winter Camp we have ever had!

"Father James Shadid did an amazing job as our speaker," she continued.

Wichita Ministry to Moms in Crisis Seeks Executive Director

The Treehouse in Wichita, Kansas, is looking for an Executive Director. Created in 2002 to fill a unique niche, helping economically challenged moms and children with basic necessities and programs, the Treehouse is a Christian-based, not-for-profit organization. The Executive Director is responsible for providing strategic leadership for The Treehouse by working with the Board to establish long-range goals, strategies and policies. The Executive Director is responsible for the administration of the comprehensive Treehouse program, leading its public relations, community relations, and fundraising efforts.

The Treehouse offers compassionate physical and emotional support and positive Christian relationships. It is a special place, created by members of the Orthodox Christian community, especially for moms to receive education guidance and support after their baby is born. Parenting education, spiritual support, diapers and formula, and an inexpensive thrift store with books, toys and clothes are just a few of the resources. The Treehouse provides to women referred to our organization from our approved partners.

More information is available on the Orthodox Jobs website.

 

DOWAMA Winter Camp + February 15-18, 2013

Winter Camp 2013 for the Diocese of Wichita will be held at Camp St. Raphael in Wagoner, Oklahoma from February 15-18. Registration form and $100 registration (Chaperones/Advisors $80.00) payment are due by Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, and should be sent to:

St. George Cathedral – Attn: Grace Saad
7515 E. 13th St. N.
Wichita, KS 67206

Click here to download a registration form (Word format). Please contact Erin Ghata (405) 410-9456 or Grace Saad (316) 619-8531 if you have any questions.

Dec. 15 + St. Eleftherios, Patron Saint of Diocese of Wichita

The Holy Hieromartyr Eleftherios

December 15th is also the anniversary of the formal establishment of the Diocese of Wichita in 2004. Click here to read His Grace Bishop Basil's address on the occasion (PDF).

The Passion of the Hieromartyr Eleftherios of Illyria

From a good tree comes good fruit.  This wonderful saint had noble and greatly eminent parents.  Eleutherius was born in Rome, where his father was an imperial proconsul.  His mother Anthia heard the Gospel from the great Apostle Paul and was baptized by him.  Having been left a widow early, she entrusted her only son for study and service to Anicetus the Bishop of Rome. 

Seeing how Eleutherius was gifted by God and illumined by the grace of God, the bishop ordained him a deacon at the age of fifteen, a priest at the age of eighteen, and a bishop at the age of twenty.  Eleutherius's God-given wisdom made up for what he lacked in years, and this chosen one of God was appointed Bishop of Illyria with his seat in Valona (Avlona), Albania.

 

The Holy Hieromartyr Eleftherios

December 15th is also the anniversary of the formal establishment of the Diocese of Wichita in 2004. Click here to read His Grace Bishop Basil's address on the occasion (PDF).

The Passion of the Hieromartyr Eleftherios of Illyria

From a good tree comes good fruit.  This wonderful saint had noble and greatly eminent parents.  Eleutherius was born in Rome, where his father was an imperial proconsul.  His mother Anthia heard the Gospel from the great Apostle Paul and was baptized by him.  Having been left a widow early, she entrusted her only son for study and service to Anicetus the Bishop of Rome. 

Seeing how Eleutherius was gifted by God and illumined by the grace of God, the bishop ordained him a deacon at the age of fifteen, a priest at the age of eighteen, and a bishop at the age of twenty.  Eleutherius's God-given wisdom made up for what he lacked in years, and this chosen one of God was appointed Bishop of Illyria with his seat in Valona (Avlona), Albania.

Spotlight: Wichita's Treehouse Ministry Helps Mothers and Children

The Treehouse in Wichita, Kansas was created to fill a unique niche, helping economically challenged moms and children with basic necessities and programs. As an Orthodox Christian-based, not-for-profit organization, the Treehouse offers compassionate physical and emotional support, and positive Christian relationships with other moms. Over the years, vital support for the ministry has been provided by the Antiochian Orthodox community in the greater Wichita area, from His Grace Bishop Basil, the Very Rev. Paul O’Callaghan, the people of St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral, and many other Orthodox Christians both clergy and lay. It is also one of the many outreach efforts supported by the Order of St. Ignatius.

The Treehouse provides diapers and formula, parenting education, spiritual support and an inexpensive thrift store with books, toys and clothes up to kindergarten size. Women are referred to the ministry by other partner organizations in the Wichita area, and from their first encounter with Treehouse staff, experience support and encouragement. Groups dedicated to the topic of parenting, and one-on-one mentoring relationships, help women with limited resources become capable, nurturing mothers, thus aiding both mother and child.

View the introductory Treehouse video, and visit the ministry's website.

2012 Bible Lecture Series: "The Bible and Archaeology"

The 2012 Bible Lecture Series, hosted by St. Mary Church in Wichita Kansas, Will be held on October 12-13, 2012. The topic is "The Bible and Archaeology," and the featured speaker is Dr. Nicolae Roddy, Associate Professor, Hebrew Bible at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Specific lecture topics include "How the Bible Became the Bible" and "What Do These Stones Mean? What Archaeoogy Can and Cannot Teach Us About the Bible."

This event is free to the public. No registration is required, and childcare will be provided. For more information, please see the attached flyer (PDF).

2012 DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament

Plans for the 2012 DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament are underway! This Diocesean teen event will be hosted October 26th - 28th at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Please see the attached flyer and registration forms for details. Information is also available at www.dowamasoyo.com. Questions? Contact DOWAMA Youth Director Erin Ghata at erin.ghata@gmail.com.

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Justin Pierce

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of our brother and concelebrant Fr. Justin Pierce, 84, retired at St. Luke Church in Erie, CO, who fell asleep in Christ in hospice care on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012. Condolences may be sent to Khouriya Patricia and the Pierces' two daughters c/o Hierodeacon Mark Berge of St. Luke/Erie at mark.berge@colorado.edu.

Divine services for Fr. Justin will be served according to the Western Rite at St. Luke/Erie by Fr. John Connely of St. Mark Church in Denver, CO: Tuesday at 6:00PM Vespers for the Dead; Wednesday at 11:00AM Matins for the Dead followed by the Requiem Mass. God being my Helper, I will be present on Wednesday morning to serve a Trisagion before Matins for the repose of Father Justin's soul. After the Mass, a Meal of Mercy will be served by the Ladies of St. Luke at their parish fellowship hall. Interment is scheduled for 2:30PM.

May God grant our brother Paradise. May He grant Khouriya Patricia and the Pierce family consolation. And may He grant you long life.

Bishop Basil Interviewed by Orthodox Christian Network

His Grace Bishop Basil has been interviewed by Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), regarding the recently concluded meeting of hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.

Listen to the interview here, via OCN.

Bishop Basil Blesses Residence for the Disabled

Bishop Basil blesses Sheltering Tree building siteBishop Basil blesses Sheltering Tree building siteOn Saturday August 18, eight Orthodox clergy, future residents and their families, and friends of the Sheltering Tree gathered in an open lot in Bellevue, Nebraska--despite the threat of rain--to pray with His Grace, Bishop Basil of The Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, as he blessed the building site for The Sheltering Tree I, a communal residence for developmentally disabled persons.

The Sheltering Tree I is the result of much faith and prayer and hard work. This first Sheltering Tree will be a home for 10 developmentally disabled persons who will enjoy independence in their own distinct apartments, surrounding common areas for community life. Live-in managers will provide support for the residents. The two-acre site was secured with funding via a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant, The Topeka Federal Home Loan Bank, and many personal offerings--totaling over $2 million.

God’s presence was evident at the blessing when the rainy clouds dispersed and warm rays of sunshine accompanied His Grace’s arrival at the site.

2012 Orthodox Institute Mid-America

The 2012 Orthodox Institute Mid‐America

Saturday, September 29, 8:30‐4:30
St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church
9302 Riverview Ave., Kansas City, KS
Pre-registration required by September 21
Download Brochure (PDF)

The Orthodox Institute Mid‐America is a pan‐Orthodox endeavor for continuing education of the faithful and is coordinated by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission Department of Teacher Training, Myra Kovalak, Director (mekovalak@gmail.com). Fr. Elias Issa, of the host parish, and event chairperson, Kathy Kelly cordially invite you to the 2012 Institute which will include an exhibit of the Holy Land. You may register by phone, email, or mail. Contact Kathy Kelly, e‐mail: teacheromara@aol.com, phone: 816.853.9998. The cost of the event, $35, includes lunch and materials.

The presenters will be Mat. Valerie Zahirsky, Al and Dee Kacere, and Carole Buleza. Participants can choose from three tracks of courses, “Scripture,” “Teacher Training II for Elementary,” or “Teacher Training II for MS/HS.”

For more information and a registration form, please download the event brochure (PDF).

2013 Archdiocese Convention in Houston Open for Registration

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, TX is honored to be the convention host! The site of the convention is Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston. 

EVENTS WILL INCLUDE:

  • International Welcome Reception
  • Country Western BBQ & Dance
  • Mardi Gras Masquerade
  • 21/40 Camp Reunion
  • Daily Kid's Club
  • AND MORE!!!

ONLINE REGISTRATION NOW AVAILABLE FOR:

  • Events
  • Hotel Reservations
  • Souvenir Journal
  • Vendor Tables
  • Sponsorship Opportunities

Visit the Convention website to register today!

Orthodox School Opens its Doors in Wichita

Faculty and students, Christ the Savior AcademyFaculty and students, Christ the Savior AcademyHis Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Christ the Savior Academy opened Monday morning at St. George Cathedral/Wichita, KS. This is the second classical day school in the Diocese of Wichita, the first and oldest being St. Peter's Classical School at St Peter/Fort Worth, TX. Mrs Trent (Jennifer) Sebits, a member of the Cathedral and President of the Academy's Board of Trustees, wrote of Monday's opening: "Thanks be to God! Today marks the fulfillment of the fervent prayers and feverish work of so many people, namely each one of you. As I write this email, the story of our little school opening its doors is reaching online newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Bee, San Antonio Express and the Palm Beach Post, not to mention some in Kansas: The Wichita Eagle, Topeka Capital Journal and the Hutch News. After Susanne Tobias of the Wichita Eagle wrote the story, the Associated Press picked it up and newspapers around the country have posted it on their web sites. Please find the story here.

St. Timon Sunday

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

PLEASE REMEMBER!!!   JULY 29th has been designated as 'Saint Timon Sunday' in our Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. Dn. James Kallail, Coordinator of DOWAMA's Sister Diocese program 'The Hauran Connection,' writes: "This year Sunday, July 29th is the day set aside to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran in southern Syria, especially Metropolitan Saba and his clergy. It is also the designated day in our Diocese for fundraising for The Hauran Connection." Need resources for that day or have other questions? Go to www.antiochian.org/hauran or contact Deacon James.

Dr. Samir Cohlmia Releases CD of Chants for the Dormition

Dr. Samir Nouhad Cohlmia, Protopsaltis of the Diocese of Wichita and of S. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas, has produced an  audio CD of the chants for the great feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. Chanted in both English and Arabic, the CD includes the hymns for Great Vespers (including the doxastikon on the Litiya), Orthros (including the special Marian Polyeleos - Psalm 44 - "A Good Word"), select verses from all three stases of the Lamentations at the Tomb of the Mother of God, and the famous arrangement of the Megalynarion for the Divine Liturgy composed in melismatic tone 1 by the late maestro Andraos Mouaikel (1890-1964), Protopsaltis of St. George Cathedral in Beirut, Lebanon. The CD is available through the Wichita Chancery (1559 N. Woodlawn Street - Wichita, KS 67208-2429) for $15 a copy (which includes postage & handling); check payable to "Dr Samir N. Cohlmia" and ear-marked "Dormition CD."

PowerPoint Presentations on Bosra-Hauran

The following PowerPoint presentations concern our Sister Diocese of Bosra-Hauran in Syria; both presentations are available to download via the links below.

Orthodox Youth Spend Summer Building Homes

June 22, 2012

Houston, TX (IOCC) — The sound of power saws and nail guns mingle with easy laughter and conversation as IOCC Orthodox Action Team volunteers work side by side, building homes and friendships at volunteer home-builds in Houston and Minneapolis. They have traveled from Maryland, Virginia, Georgia and New York to help construct homes for families left homeless by hurricanes in Houston and tornadoes in Minneapolis. Four home building teams have already completed their one-week commitment, with four more summer builds and critical home repairs slated for Minneapolis, Houston, and in Minot, North Dakota, which lost an estimated 1,600 homes to flooding last summer.

The 2012 team builds began in March with a pairing of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) college students and veterans of previous IOCC builds. The next three builds, including the first ever home built by IOCC volunteers in Minneapolis, also brought together a mix of Orthodox youth with older volunteers.

Memory Eternal! + Florence Kouri

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL!  Florence Kouri (nee Cohlmia) of St. George Cathedral/Wichita, KS, mother of Honorary Archdiocesan Trustee Dr. Sammy Kouri and Dr. Harry Kouri, reposed this morning, June 21st, at the age of 98. Condolences may be sent to the family at SKouri@cox.net

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

TRISAGION & FUNERAL on Sunday, June 24th at 7:00 PM.

TRISAGION & INTERMENT on Monday, June 25th at 11:00 AM. A Meal of Mercy will immediately follow the interment.

Thanksgiving, Awards, Elections and More from the 2012 DOWAMA Parish Life Conference

The Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America held its 2012 Parish Life Conference from June 6-9 in Houston, Texas, courtesy of the generous hosting of St. Joseph Church. His Grace Bishop Basil offers the following letter of thanks. Information regarding the awards bestowed and elections held at the conference may be found below. Click here for a photo gallery from the 2012 conference.


 

To the 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 Lord Christ. Having just returned to the Chancery from our annual Diocesan Family Reunion – the 2012 DOWAMA Parish Life Conference – I convey blessings and most sincere thanks to Father Joseph & Khouriya Elizabeth Huneycutt, Father James & Khouriya Jennifer Early, Deacon Meletios and our PLC Chair Shamassy Kristi Marx, and all the faithful of St. Joseph Church in Houston, Texas for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality which they extended to the 600+ people who attended the Conference from throughout our Diocese. May God the All-holy Trinity richly reward them for all they have done to help build up the Body of Christ here in America’s Heartland. Many years!

Orthodox Reality in America

Key note presentation at the 2012 Dioces of Wichita Parish Life Conference by Alexei Krindatch:

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Santa Fe Purchases Community House

Bethany House, Santa Fe, New MexicoBethany House, Santa Fe, New MexicoKiera Hay, Albuquerque Journal North reporter, writes:

It’s not a monastery. It’s not a retreat.

Rather, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church’s new Bethany House, located on an acre of prime Cordova Road real estate in Santa Fe, is an intentional community.

It’s for “people who have embraced the Orthodox faith,” who have committed to “living in prayer and with the church” and want to form meaningful relationships with each other, Holy Trinity’s Very Rev. John Bethancourt said.

Intentional communities are relatively common across both the religious and secular spectrum as places where like-minded people can live around certain ideals and goals.

For Holy Trinity, Bethany House is where unmarried members of the church can create a deeper sense of community and faith.