Diocese of Wichita News
Updated April 6, 2011
Retreats still upcoming:
April 8th & 9th in Tallahassee Creek, CO
THE BENEDICTINE FELLOWSHIP of St. Laurence is hosting a Lenten retreat centered around five "Meditations on the Passion of our Lord," to be presented by FATHER LESTER MICHAEL BUNDY of St. Columba/Lafayette, CO, at the St. Laurence Center in Tallahassee Creek, CO (http://www.saintlaurenceosb.org/location.html) on Friday and Saturday, April 8th and 9th. For a schedule, driving directions and other details, please be in contact with Father Lester at Lbundy@regis.edu.
April 8th, 9th & 10th in Austin, TX
FATHER DAVID BARR of St. Elias/Austin, TX writes: "Dear Brothers in Christ: FATHER JOHN BEHR, dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, will be coming to St. Elias Orthodox Church the weekend of April 8th - 10th, for a Parish Retreat on 'The Journey to Jerusalem.' You and your parishioners are definitely welcome to join with us for this retreat. On Friday night, Father John will speak for a public presentation on the topic of 'Orthodox Christianity as Paideia: Faith, Reason and Culture in the Early Church.' If you have any questions concerning this, please contact me at email@example.com. Have a blessed Great Fast. Father David"
Reports the OCA's Diocese of the South website, "Dr. Jeffrey and Caryn Macdonald have been accepted as Missionary Candidates by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, to serve the Orthodox Church in Albania. Dr. Macdonald will be assisting the Holy Resurrection Seminary outside of Durres as a long-term missionary.
Christianity, and indeed all religious life, was outlawed in Albania under communist rule. With the end of communism in 1992, the Church has begun to rebuild both Church buildings and the Christian community. To help to rebuild Church life and provide teachers of the Gospel, the Holy Resurrection Seminary in Durres was established to train local Albanian clergy and Church workers.
Dr. Macdonald previously taught Church History and Old Testament at St. Herman’s Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska, helping to prepare Native Alaskans for service in their local Church. Dr. Macdonald studied at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, following an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies and Archaeology. He later completed a Ph.D. in Early Christian Studies.
The Macdonalds and their five children live in Texas and attend an Antiochian parish, St. John the Forerunner Orthodox Church in Cedar Park. They are now raising support for their future work in Albania."
Biographical information available here.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
Attached hereto is a subscription form to sponsor an ad in the Souvenir Journal being published by the Church of St. Anthony the Great in Spring, Texas on the occasion of the opening of their new church temple. Note that these are reduced subscription rates which are only applicable for ads sponsored by DOWAMA congregations. Questions? Be in contact with Fr. Anthony Baba, proistamenos at St. Anthony Church, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember also that Souvenir Journal ad placements for the 2011 DOWAMA Parish Life conference are available and the deadline is May 1st. Click here to download the order form (PDF).
His Grace Bishop Basil passes along an update from Japan:
Dear Orthodox family, thanks God, through the prayer of Orthodox family, situation of the suffered places is getting better. We appreciate your e-mails with prayer and thoughtfulness. They were translated and uploaded to Japanese page to encourage brothers and sisters struggling in Tohoku. And we were much grateful to know donation for this disaster had started in many places. Yesterday, we received photos of two church located in the Sanriku Coast, uploaded to the website: http://www.orthodox-jp.com/westjapan/earthquake/201103earthquake_en.html. There were five churches along Sanriku Coast, with deeply indented coastline, suffered by tsunami. We found out that one is destroyed, one is still unknown, but the other three were safe, even though minor repairs seemed necessary. Especially, Holy Ascension Church in Sakari (Ofunato) is quite safe, even though City of Ofunato is one of the worst destructed places. Bishop Seraphim of Sendai said the Diocese made contact with 80% of parishioners living in the coastal area and continue investigation on damage of parishioners, too. Please continue keeping us in your prayer. Fr. George and Maria
What is IOCC doing to help in Japan right now? Emergency Response Coordinator Jamie Helfer gives us the latest on the situation on the ground, what help is being offered and what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months. Click here to listen to the interview on OCN.
The latest update from the IOCC:
March 18, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — With financial support from an emergency grant of $25,000 from the National Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society and contributions by private donors, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will provide humanitarian assistance such as medicines, food and other essential items to communities in the earthquake and tsunami-damaged Pacific coastal districts of Japan in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaragi. The assistance is being distributed by the Orthodox Church in Japan in cooperation with regional authorities. All of the aid to be distributed is expected to be obtained locally in Japan.
The faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese wish to offer their fervent prayers on behalf of those suffering from Friday's earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Via his grace Bishop Basil, some information regarding the Orthodox community in Japan from Maria Matsushima Junko:
We appreciate your love and prayer. I received many emails from friends.
Nagoya, where I live is all fine. But northern Japan are suffered much. Vladika Seraphim of Sendai called Tokyo office by his cell phone and said that the cathedral in Sendai is safe, but he cannot contact with parishioners or recognize situation and damage of his territory, as telephone and electricity stopped. There are many small churches and chapels there and many brothers and sisters. Fr. Vasili is old and sick, living near coast.
"Master, bless! I am very privileged to be a daughter of DOWAMA! I am overwhelming thankful for the generous donation of $1,000.00 the Diocese's Clergy Brotherhood has donated to my support fund through the OCMC!! I am grateful for and humbled by our Diocese's continued support while we are beginning the medical ministry here in Tanzania. It is amazing how exciting these past seven months have been. I am so grateful also for the Diocese's continued prayers for my teammates and me. Thank you, holy fathers of the DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood, for asking my dad about me and for asking how things are going here. Please visit my website and share with your parish about the ministry beginning in Tanzania! My personal website page is http://missontanzania.blogspot.com/ and my OCMC profile page is http://www.ocmc.org/missionaries/missionary_profile.aspx?MissionaryId=12 In Christ's Everlasting Love, Katie Wilcoxson."
Retreat Master: Fr. John Ballard
Friday, April 1st, to Sunday April 3rd
Located at John Knox Ranch near Wimberly, Texas.
Hosted By St. Elias Teen SOYO, St. Elias Orthodox Church, Austin, TX
Contact Fr. Dave Lewis for more information:
Cost is $50 per participant. Registration form and Medical Release are Mandatory! Forms and $50 registration fee must be sent by March 27th to
St. Elias Orthodox Church
408 E. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78701
C/O Fr. Dave Lewis
Paul Sidebottom of St. Mary in Wichita, will leave for Kolakata (Calcutta), India in mid-March where he has accepted a position at St. Ignatius Orthodox Boys' School. Paul wrote to Bishop Basil: "Your Grace: Your blessing. I can give a little history of the mission there. Father Ignatios (Sennis) a hieromonk of Stravronikita Monastery on Mount Athos began the current mission in India in the 1990s. He was later joined by his cousin, Sister Nectaria (Paradisi) - their family is from Corinth, Greece. In India, our Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration is in Kolakata, blocks away from the Hindu temple of Kali, the goddess of destruction and patroness of the city.
With all eyes and hearts focused on Jesus Christ, a pan-Orthodox gathering of clergy and their parish councils came together for a common meal in Oklahoma City, OK. With this being the third annual gathering on February 13, 2011, a solid tradition is being established for Orthodox unity in central Oklahoma.
St. Elijah (Antiochian), St. George (Greek) St. Mary’s (Ukrainian) and Holy Ascension (Antiochian) all had a chance to share what the Lord is doing in their midst. Mr. and Mrs. Kory Warr were our hosts and The Very Rev. Constantine Nasr was our emcee. Father Jeremy Davis, of St. Elijah, shared about a successful seminar that will be implemented annually at St. Elijah called, “Sex as God Intends.” That is a two-day seminar for middle-school and high-school students with presentations made by the clergy, medical personnel and laity. By sharing this, it helped to spark the interest in duplicating that ministry for the other Orthodox congregations.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
We thank God for everyone's safe return to their homes and families following the close of our 39th Annual DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat, led by Dr. Krastu Banev of the University of Durham in the UK, which was held at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas this past Tuesday through Thursday.
Update: Unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances this event has been cancelled.
February is a season for conferences, as Orthodox Christians go indoors to escape the cold while enjoying fellowship and spiritual enrichment.
In a cyberspace gathering on February 11 and 12, the organization Illumination Learning ("Bringing Together Orthodox Christian Resources to Share with Each Other") will be hosting "Orthodoxy in the Home" in the first annual Orthodox Christian Online Education Conference. The line-up of speakers includes Fr. Luke Veronis, who will talk about how to teach children about missions; the sister singers of Eikona, who will discuss "Teaching Our Families the Hymns of Our Church"; and Antiochian priest Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, who will expound on how humor and the funny moments of family life are teachable moments too. Go here to register virtually, for this virtual conference!
The following weekend, February 18 and 19, The Climacus Conference will tackle great themes in philosophy, theology and literature in their series of lectures held at St. Michael Orthodox Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Clothing, food, Plato, marriage, Dostoevsky, a movie screening and more, will be discussed by academic notables such as Vigen Guroian and by popular authors such as Conciliar Press writer Molly Sabourin.
That same weekend, the pan-Orthodox coalition North Texas Orthodox Missions, is sponsoring the 2011 Festival of Orthodoxy Conference in two Texas cities, Fort Worth and Dallas. Featured guests Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green and Dr. H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr. will speak to the theme, “From Conception to Dying: Orthodox Christian Views in Today’s World.” Go here for information and registration.
Katie Wilcoxson writes to Bishop Basil:
Master, bless! Furaha na Amani (Joy and Peace). I greet you and the Clergy Brotherhood of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America from Bukoba, Tanzania, where I now reside. I wanted to let you know that, recently, the Clergy Brotherhood of the Archdiocese of Mwanza gathered for their own retreat. The priests travelled on buses' (sardine-packed vans) and motorcycles to get to Bukoba. They were here for a weekend. His Eminence Jeronymos invited two instructors from the seminary in Nairobi, Kenya, where many of the priests in the diocese studied. Some of the topics were chanting the troparia for the different Feasts , the worsening economy, and a report from the annual synod meeting.
Please find attached to this email three applications: Camper, CIT and Staff applications, the Check List and the Parent Booklet have been sent to the youth advisors and are online at www.campstraphael.org.
Here is how the process works:
2011 CREATIVE FESTIVAL COORDINATORS
2011 DOWAMA Parish Life Conference
Hosted by St. Nicholas Orthodox Church
June 15-18, 2011
Below are the Creative Festival Coordinators for 2011. Entries for the respective festivals should be sent to the addresses listed for each coordinator. If you have any questions regarding the festivals, you may contact the coordinator or Vasiliki Oldziey (contact information below.)
Bishop Basil writes:
Tomorrow, Saturday, January 22, 2011, marks the 38th anniversary of the greatly-lamentable decision by the United States Supreme Court known as Roe v. Wade. You are asked to prayerfully remember the victims of abortion (see the attached PDF, Service of Supplication for Victims of Abortion), and to educate your congregations about and support the life-affirming, Church-related agencies and organizations, such as "The Tree House" (www.wichitatreehouse.com), "Zoe for Life" (www.zoeforlifeonline.org), and "Orthodox Christians for Life" (www.oclife.org).
On Saturday, January 15, 2011, the first Divine Liturgy ever was celebrated in the new Holy Annunciation Chapel in Taos, New Mexico. Fr. John Bethancourt celebrated the service, the first ever in the Taos area, with the help from Subdeacon Raphael Nava and members of the choir and congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chapel founder Claire Brandenburg and several other local Taoseños also attended the service. Following the Liturgy, Fr. John led a presentation and discussion on the theology of Holy Icons in the attached Heavenly Ladder bookstore and coffee shop. It was a delight to see the further development of the Taos mission project and to assist the vine of the Orthodox Church as it takes further root in northern New Mexico.
Heavenly Ladder Bookstore was featured in a recent edition of The Taos News:
A recent article in the Houston Chronicle discusses Antiochian Orthodox Churches in the Houston area and explores trend of American conversion to Orthodoxy:
Like many of his parishioners, Father Richard Petranek came to the Orthodox church in search of the past.
After 30 years as an Episcopalian priest, Petranek converted to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and leads a new but growing parish in west Houston, filled almost entirely with converts to the ancient faith.
"Most people come for the stability," he said. "The same thing that is taught today in the Orthodox church was taught 500 years ago, was taught 1,000 years ago, was taught 1,500 years ago."
At a time when most mainline Christian churches are losing members, Eastern Orthodox churches — which trace their beliefs to the church described in the New Testament - are growing, both in Houston and across the United States.
Last fall, Archpriest Fr. Don Hock of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Omaha, traveled to India with the OCMC, in order to minister with a teaching team in an orphanage in Bakeswar, and in Calcutta. Composed of three laymen and three clergy, the six-member team taught catechism classes, visited with orphanage children, served liturgy in the Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Calcutta, and visited several Christian churches and sites of interest there.
"In many ways," wrote Fr. Don in his journal, "this was a full-circle event for me, as some of the missionary experience my wife and I had was in reaching out to the Indian immigrant population in England. And now, I was heading for India itself to preach the Gospel as before, but this time we were also bringing the fullness, depth and richness of the Holy Orthodox Faith to the hungry hearts of those waiting for us to come and minister to them." Read all of Fr. Hock's daily thoughts and impressions here in his Mission Trip Journal.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
WORTHY! Deacon Methodios Ingalls of St. Sophia Church in Dripping Springs, Texas was ordained to the holy priesthood and Subdeacon Gregory Farman of St. Elias Church in Austin, Texas was ordained to the holy diaconate on the great feast of Theophany which I served at St. Elias Church in Austin with all the clergy of the Central Texas Deanery. Fr. Methodios will soon return to St Tikhon's Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania to complete his final semester of graduate theological studies, while Deacon Gregory has been assigned to St. Elias Church.
To the Right Reverend Archimandrites, the Very Reverend and Reverend Presbyters, 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 healthy and happy 2011. Christ is born! . ألمسيح ولد
In Christ Jesus the Incarnate Word,
Immediately following Bishop Basil's visit in late October, a team of five Russian artists, led by Dmitri Shkolnik, arrived at Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico to begin work on the temple's iconography. Working all day and into the night six days a week, the team managed to complete the church's dome and apse before returning to their families for the holidays three weeks later.
The choice of icons in the apse was driven by the parish's history and patronal feast. Fr. John Bethancourt has long felt a special guidance from the Mother of God in his efforts to build a mission and grow a parish community over the years. Therefore, the icon of the Mother of God Platytera, "More Spacious than the Heavens," was chosen to preside over the altar space. Above the altar is the icon of Pentecost, Holy Trinity's patronal feast. Towards the ceiling is the icon of the Annunciation, divided by the Holy Trinity at Abrahams table. Together with Pentecost, these icons depict three manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Fr. John also points out that the unusual juxtaposition of the Holy Trinity and Annunciation icons is full of meaning. This icon of the Trinity depicts the visitation of Abraham and Sarah, when the Lord promised to Abraham that he "shall surely become a mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him" (Genesis 18:18). This promise finds its ultimate fulfillment in the Annunciation, through which Jesus Christ comes into the world to save all.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
With the blessing of Metropolitan Philip, Deacon Mark Berge and Subdeacon Joshua Armitage were tonsured rasophore monks (called "the beginning of the holy schema" and "the angelic estate") on the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch - Monday, December 20th, 2010. Assisting me at the service, which was served in the Chancery's domestic chapel of St. Raphael, was Hieromonk Jeremy (Davis), second priest at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, OK. Deacon Mark is now known as Hierodeacon Mark (his patron being changed from Venerable Mark the Ascetic to the Hieromartyr Mark of Arethusa), and Subdeacon Joshua is now known as Father Benedict (his patron being Venerable Benedict of Nursia). Father Benedict (email@example.com) remains as synkellos at the Chancery, and Hierodeacon Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org) remains assigned to St. Luke Church in Erie, CO. As in the Service of Tonsure, "Let us all say for them, 'Lord, have mercy!'"
"ALF MABROUK! A THOUSAND BLESSINGS! The central dome was raised today atop the new church temple being built by the congregation of St. Anthony the Great Church in Spring, Texas where Fr. Anthony Baba is proistamenos."