Diocese of Wichita News
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) remains as synkellos at the Chancery, and Hierodeacon Mark (email@example.com) 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."
Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! Abraham "Bus" Bayouth, 94, of Skiatook, Oklahoma, father of A.B. Bayouth, vice president of DOWAMA's Fellowship of St. John and tireless supporter of Camp Saint Raphael, fell asleep in Christ this past Monday, December 13th, 2010. The Trisagion Prayers of Mercy will be chanted for the repose of his soul on December 15 at seven o'clock at St. Antony Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the funeral will be served on December 16 at two o'clock at the Skiatook High School Activity Center. Condolences to his wife Mrs. Abraham (Su'ad) Bayouth and their three sons A.B., Gary and Gregory. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of his 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.
Katherine Wilcoxson, daughter of Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of St. John the Forerunner Church in Cedar Park, Texas, has always wanted to find ways to serve. "In Tanzania," says OCMC's website, "Katherine is dedicating her training and experience as a registered nurse to the Orthodox Church’s Resurrection Hospital. Because Tanzania is one of the many African countries plagued with treatable diseases and poverty, this ministry of preventive healthcare and health education is vital."
Now that she's newly settled in her mission assignment, Katie took a moment to tell her story.
From an early age I have loved helping others. During middle school and high school, I was the youngest regular volunteer at the local food bank. The year I graduated from high school, I learned about the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). In 2000, I went on my first OCMC short-term trip to Alaska. In the following two years I also went on short-term trips to Guatemala and Tanzania. I had a real connection with the people of Tanzania, and I knew I would return as a long-term missionary.
DOWAMA 2011 Teen Winter Camp will be held at Camp Saint Raphael in Wagoner, Oklahoma, January 14th through 17th. The theme is "A Christ-centered Life" and the registration fee is $90 (chaperones/advisors $45). Registration and payment must be received by January 7th. Questions? Contact Fr. James Shadid (firstname.lastname@example.org) at St. George Cathedral/Wichita, Kansas.
It was the joy and delight of the faithful of Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico to welcome His Grace Bishop Basil on the weekend of October 30-31, 2010. In addition to the Divine Services, the weekend centered around a townhall-style meeting in which His Grace discussed the pan-Orthodox Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held in May 2010. Besides members of the Holy Trinity community, the meeting drew in visitors and clergy from nearby OCA and ROCOR churches.
Sayedna Basil presented a detailed background history of the Assembly of Bishops, accompanied by many stories of his work and meetings as EA Secretary. He particularly emphasized the need for Orthodox laypersons to contribute to the work of the EA in their areas of expertise. While acknowledging that events will unfold in God’s time, His Grace communicated an enthusiastic hope that the work of the EA may begin to bear fruits for Orthodoxy in America far sooner than many people might expect.
Hosted by St. Nicholas Church; Shreveport, LA
June 15-18, 2011
Online registration (including vendor registration and souvenir journal entries) is now available at AntiochianEvents.org. Mail-in registration forms in PDF format are available on St. Nicholas Church's conference page.
Please check back for updated information, or contact St. Nicholas Church.
On October 23, 2010, Sayedna Basil, Bishop of Wichita and the Diocese of Mid-America, was the celebrant the Thyranoixia (Opening the Doors of a Church Temple) at the newly completed Holy Ascension Orthodox Mission in Norman, Oklahoma. The V. Rev. Justin McFeeters, Pastor of Holy Ascension, the V. Rev. Constantine Nasr of St. Elijah Church of Oklahoma City, as well as other local Orthodox priests, assisted His Grace. Great Vespers followed immediately. Bishop Basil celebrated a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy the next morning.
A crowd of over 150 attended the blessing of the church building. Later that evening a banquet was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel with attendees from throughout the Diocese and included many local guests. In his keynote address, Bishop Basil commended the members of the congregation for their faith, hard work and commitment to the realization of this holy endeavor. The completion of the project is all the more amazing due to the extremely small size of the parish family.
The ground breaking ceremony for the new temple was held on January 29, 2009. Many obstacles were overcome in the construction project, including the relocation of a natural gas pipeline, delaying sever winter weather conditions, and forced compliance with innumerable local governmental regulations not actually appropriate for the building of a church. By the grace of God, the temple was completed with its first service of Great Vespers being served on Saturday, August 14, 2010.
A note from Judy Stanley:
Dear Fathers: Your blessings. We ask that on November 1st all of our communities kick-off this year's campaign for DOWAMA's Bishop Basil Mission Endowment Fund. Starting on that day and continuing through December 31st, parishioners of our Diocese's fifty-one congregations will be invited to make contributions to the Endowment Fund and send greetings to Bishop Basil in honor of His Grace's Name's Day - the feast of St. Basil the Great on January 1st. In the near future each congregation will be provided with a 'community card' for all of its parishioners to sign and other details about the campaign, so be sure to appoint someone to coordinate this campaign in your parish soon.
Fr. Constantine Nasr and Chehadeh Hamra of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, OK, announce a pilgrimage to the Holy Land from February 19th to March 1st, 2011. The price, including the round trip airfare from Oklahoma City or Chicago, is $3395.00 based on double occupancy, and an additional $495.00 for single occupancy. See the attached itinerary for details. Questions? Please contact Mr. Hamra at: email@example.com. Please note that the updated deadline for the final payment is December 15, 2010 and not January 31, 2010. Also note that the deadline for the $500.00 deposit is November 15, 2010.
Fr. Antony Bahou writes:
Beloved in Christ,
It is with great regret and extreme sadness that I announce to you the passing of our dear sister in Christ Mary Helen Massad. She fell asleep in the Lord tonight at 6:30. Mary had "suffered many things of many physicians" as we hear in Scripture, and is now committed to the mercy of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whom she loved most of all. Mary was an example of the Christian woman, and her love and faith have brought joy and peace to so many whose lives hers touched. May her memory be eternal, and may the Lord place her soul where the just repose.
The schedule of Services is as follows:
All Services except for the Burial will be held at our church.
Friday, October 22nd, Trisagion Service at 6 PM, followed by viewing until 9 PM.
Saturday, October 23rd, Funeral Service at 1 PM, followed by a procession to the burial site for the Burial Service at Restland in Coppell, 400 S. Freeport Parkway, 75019. Following the Burial, we will return to the church for the Mercy Meal.
The Family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to and/or sent to Saints Constantine & Helen Orthodox Church, 3755 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas, TX 75229, and earmarked "Mary Helen Massad Memorial Fund."
At 12:20 a.m. on Sunday, October 17th, word was received that the eldest brother in the Diocese of Wichita, Father Donald David Wallace Lloyd, D.D., reposed at the age of ninety-seven.
The casket with Father Donald David will arrive at St. Mark Church in Denver, CO on Thursday, October 21st at 5:00 p.m., where he will lie in state until after the Requiem Mass which will be served at 7:00 p.m. He will then be taken to the St. Laurence Center in Tallahassee Creek, CO where, upon arrival, a brief low Mass of Requiem will be served followed by interment in the specially-prepared sepulchre just west of the Basilica of St Laurence. Then, this Saturday, October 23rd, the final Requiem Mass will be served at the Center at 11:00 a.m.. Condolences may be sent c/o Father John Connely (firstname.lastname@example.org) of St. Mark Church in Denver.
Fr. John Connelly writes:
Following his Chrismation and Ordination, Father Donald David Wallace Lloyd, D.D. told me very sincerely that never in his life had he felt so uplifted, blessed, (he used a vocabulary to explain this that I cannot entirely remember), and that his joy was beyond anything of merely earthly happiness. He was delivered from all the sorrow of 93 years (the age at which he received into Holy Orthodoxy) and then continued his earthly life as the most powerful intercessor that I have ever known. If your retired Priests want to see Paradise, let them follow this example. Father Donald was given names for prayer in restaurants and everywhere we traveled. He normally rose at 5.00 o'clock so to complete his Morning Prayers by 8:00 o'clock given his lists of living and departed souls.
Bishop Basil writes:
Local Orthodox clergy, and parishioners and friends of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma gathered on Sunday evening, September 19, 2010, to offer thanks to God and to celebrate a milestone in the life of our parish. For ninety years the vine that was transplanted from Lebanon by immigration and then firmly established by the coming of Fr. Shukrallah Shadid as founding pastor in 1920 has grown and flourished. Today St. Elijah continues to offer the ancient worship, now in a large and modern temple; and she continues to proclaim the Word of God to a world in need of salvation.
A pre-banquet social hour began at 6pm, with attendees renewing acquaintances and reminiscing about old times. At 7pm all were invited to take their seats and hear St. Elijah’s choir perform three beautiful hymns under the direction of longtime choir director Alexander Mamary. They sang “I Leave You My Peace,” “Rejoice, O Virgin,” and “From the Rising of the Sun.”
Fr. Constantine Nasr offered the invocation, then James Farha (Chair of the Ninetieth Anniversary Committee, and Banquet Master of Ceremonies) introduced the evening’s program. While a delicious meal catered by Ned and Stacy Shadid was served, a slide show was screened entitled “Coming to America,” which had been prepared for the parish’s 75th Anniversary by Harvey Homsey and Karla Cohlmia. The historic photos stirred memories and were met with applause, and at times tears.
Bishop Basil writes:
May it be blessed! This past Saturday, October 2nd, 2010, the holy table at the new church temple of St. Basil the Great Church in Kansas City, Kansas was consecrated during divine services celebrated by myself, and assisted by the proistamenos Fr. Elias Issa and sixteen other priests and deacons. The relics of the Holy Hieromartyr Blaise the Bishop of Sebaste were sealed in the cavity in the holy table.
The 2010 DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament which will be hosted at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, OK, Friday through Sunday, October 15th-17th. The registration for and other paperwork is attached. Please be certain that this information is shared with your youth groups and their adult sponsors/advisors. Questions? Contact DOWAMA Youth Director ERIN LEARNED at email@example.com.
The Wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of Our Lady of the Sign is again scheduled to visit Wichita. The icon will arrive at St. George Cathedral on Tuesday, November 2nd, and the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos will be chanted before the icon beginning at 6:30 P.M. All clergy and faithful of the Diocese are invited to attend. If you plan to come with or without a delegation from your parish, please inform Fr. James Shadid (firstname.lastname@example.org), second priest at St. George Cathedral. Blue vestments, please.
The 2010 DOWAMA Fall Gathering and Retreat will be hosted at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, OK on Friday and Saturday, October 22nd & 23rd (ending in the afternoon). The featured speaker will be Khouriya Suzanne Wallace of St. Andrew Church in Oklahoma City. For details, please see the attached flyer or contact DOWAMA Fellowship Spiritual Advisor Fr. Jeremy Davis at email@example.com.
Bishop Basil writes:
AXIOS! Deacon Symeon Kees, a DOWAMA vocation from St. George in Houston, TX and a graduate of St Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA, will be ordained to the holy priesthood at Ss. Constantine & Helen in Dallas, TX on Sunday, October 10th and assigned as second priest at St. George in Houston.
WORTHY! Fr. Antony Bahou of Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Dallas, TX will be elevated to the dignity of Archpriest on Sunday, October 10th.
AXIOS! Subdeacon Peter Aleria, a chaplain with the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX, will be ordained to the holy diaconate at Forty Holy Martyrs in Sugar Land, TX on Sunday, November 7th and to the holy priesthood at St Michael in Beaumont, TX on Monday, November 8th.
MOUSTAHIQ! Deacon Michael Sakran, a DOWAMA vocation from St. George Church in Houston, TX who will graduate from St. Vladimir's Seminary next May, will be ordained to the holy priesthood at his home parish on Thursday, November 11th.
WORTHY! Subdeacon Michael Fulton, a DOWAMA vocation from St. Joseph Church in Houston, TX and a student at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, will be ordained to the holy diaconate at St. George Church in Houston, TX on Thursday, November 11th.
In his September 24 Clergy Brotherhood Memo, His Grace Bishop Basil reports:
BY YOUR HOLY PRAYERS, the Chair of the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North & Central America ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America), the Second Vice Chair ARCHBISHOP JUSTINIAN of Naro-Fominsk (Russian Orthodox Church in the USA), the Treasurer ARCHBISHOP ANTONY of Ierapolis (Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA) and I (who serve as the EA's Secretary) have all returned from Istanbul where earlier this week (Tuesday, 21 September) we were graciously received at the Patriarchal Headquarters in the Phanar by His All Holiness ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW I. While in Istanbul I stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sultanahmet, right next to Hagia Sophia and Hagia Ireni (site of the 2nd Ecumenical Council in A.D. 381).
Upon arriving at the Patriarchate on Tuesday morning, we immediately visited the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Greatmartyr George where we venerated the holy table and the sacred relics of St John Chrysostom (+403AD), St Gregory the Theologian (+389AD), the Great Virgin-martyr Euphemia the All-praised (+304AD), the Holy Empress Theophano (+893AD), and Righteous Solomoni the mother of the Seven Maccabbean Youths (+168BC).