Diocese of Wichita News


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.

Memory Eternal! + Kh. Lilija Vreeland

Update 6/1/12 - His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MAY SHE BE GRANTED PARADISE! Eleven priests and two deacons served with me the Trisagion Prayers and Funeral for Kh. Lilija Veronica Vreeland on Wednesday and Thursday at St. George Church in Kearney, Nebraska. Hundreds of layfolk from all over the diocese and elsewhere filled every available space on the ground-floor and balcony of St. George Church for these divine services and, led by Kearney's very fine chanters, beautifully sang congregational responses at the divine services. May Khouriya Lilija's memory be eternal, and may you and your families be granted long life.

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Khouriya Lilija Veronica Vreeland, retired from St. George Church in Kearney, Nebraska, reposed at 1:50PM on Sunday, May 27th after a long and heroic battle with cancer.  May she be granted Paradise!  Condolences to our brother Fr. Philip and the children and grandchildren.

The schedule of divine services for Khouriya Lilija is as follows:

WEDNESDAY, MAY 30th Visitation at St George Church 5:00-7:00PM Trisagion Prayers of Mercy 7:00PM Reception will follow in the parish fellowship hall.  
THURSDAY, MAY 31st Funeral at 10:30AM Interment at Kearney Cemetery Mercy Meal will follow in the parish fellowshiop hall.

Please join me in praying a rope for Khouriya Lilija's respose, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant."   May her memory be eternal, and may you be granted long life. 

In Christ Who is our Resurrection and our Life,

+Bishop Basil

Parish Life Conference Season Starts June 6

On June 6-9, the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America will kick off the Antiochian Archdiocese's Parish Life Conference season, which is themed "The Bible fills us with eternal joy." The Houston gathering is sponsored by St. Joseph Orthodox Church. Alexei D. Krindatch, Research Coordinator for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, will be the keynote speaker, and attendees will enjoy southern hospitality at events such as the Saturday evening dinner, "Cowboys and Cassocks."

Also in June, the Diocese of Worcester and New England will hold their Parish Life Conference on June 21-24. Hosted by St. George Church in Norwood, MA, participants will stay at the Cliff House in Ogunquit, Maine, on the Atlantic Coast. This will be Bishop John Abdalah's first conference as presiding bishop, and the coastal atmosphere will be enhanced by events such as the Maine Clambake.

Three more dioceses will gather in June: Miami and the Southeast; Toledo and the Midwest; and Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York. Finally, the Los Angeles and Eagle River, and Charleston and New York, conferences will be held over the long holiday weekend of July 4-8. Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page, or the Antiochian Events website, for registration and information.

Dr. J.S. Luke Stauffer Ordained to Holy Deaconate

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

HE IS WORTHY! On May 6th, 2012 Dr. J.S. Luke Stauffer was ordained to the holy diaconate at St George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas. He is assigned to Holy Mother of God Mission in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Memory Eternal! + Subdeacon George Shakour

Subdeacon George Jacob ShakourSubdeacon George Jacob ShakourHis Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Subdeacon George Shakour of St. Michael in Beaumont, TX, who reposed on Pascha. Condolences may be sent to his wife Sherridan c/o her parish priest Fr. Michael Pavez at FATHERMICHAEL@prodigy.net. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Subdeacon George's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant." May he be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.

The following obituary was published on the Broussard's Mortuary website, Beaumont, TX: 

George Jacob Shakour, 69, of Beaumont, went to be with his Lord unexpectedly on April 15, 2012, at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital. Mr. Shakour was born on November 8, 1942, in Beaumont, to George and Mildred Shakour. He attended Beaumont High, and continued his education at Lamar University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Government. He enlisted in the Army after college, and bravely served his country in the Vietnam War. During his service, he received an Orthodox cross from a priest in Italy which he never took off for the rest of his life. George was a devoted member of St. Michael’s Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church and served as a sub-Deacon there. He also dedicated many hours to the small church of St. John the Divine in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

No Damage or Injuries from Heartland Tornadoes

St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral, WichitaSt. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral, WichitaOn April 16, His Grace Bishop Basil (Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America) gave thanks to God for His help during the recent period of tornadoes in the nation's Heartland.

"GLORY TO GOD! None of our parishioners sustained any injuries and none of our church temples sustained any damage during the violent tornadoes (estimated to be numbered at 130+) which ripped through the Heartland this past weekend, claiming six lives in Woodward, OK. The only noticeable result was a one hour delay in the start of Paschal services at Wichita's St. George Cathedral and St. Mary Church. Thank you for your prayers and the many inquiries of concern."

2012 Paschal Greetings from Bishop Basil

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Pascha 2012

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! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! ! ا ق حيسملا م Хрңстос Воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Cristo ha resucitado!

As we delight in the brilliance of the Resurrection, the dawn of the New and Eighth Day, I offer for your consideration the following words of the late Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, the Most Reverend ANTHONY Bloom (1914-2003):

Memory Eternal! + Ruth Cohlmia

His Grace Bishop Basil has passed along the sad news that Ruth Cohlmia, wife of Jim Cohlmia, has reposed in the Lord. The funeral services will be held in Wichita, Kansas at St. George Cathedral; The day and time has not been established. A short memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Thursday evening, April 5, at 7:00 PM at St. Ignatius Orthodox Mission, 3800 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ.