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Bishop Antoun's Visit to All Saints Church in Raleigh, NC

By Dn. David Keim

The faithful of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC, were blessed by the archpastoral visit of His Grace, Bishop Antoun, the weekend of October 25-27, 2013. This was Bishop Antoun's first visit to the parish since consecrating the new nave in 2011.

The parish was especially pleased to present to Sayedna the new thronos, which has been installed for him on the south side of the nave, together with the new chanters' stand and stalls. These items were lovingly designed, carved, and assembled by a dedicated group of men in the parish, led by parishioner John Hawranick. This same group designed and built the parish's beautiful iconostasis, Altar Table, Table of Oblation, and Table of Preparation.

On Friday evening, His Grace met with the Parish Council, clergy, and their spouses to have dinner and discuss the progress the parish has made. Sayedna noted the amazing growth of the All Saints community and commended Fr. Nicholas Sorensen for shepherding the flock in a prudent and caring way, and the Parish Council for their assistance and support of Father's leadership.

On Saturday, Sayedna met with the All Saints Church School children and parents, sharing a luncheon of hot dogs and all the fixings. The All Saints Children's choir sang for His Grace. A lively time of questions and answers capped off the afternoon. Later, Bishop Antoun presided from the throne at the evening's Great Vespers service, and a light reception followed in the Parish Hall.

At Sunday's Hierarchical Liturgy, Fr. Philip Pelikan joined Fr. Nicholas and Dn. David Keim to concelebrate with His Grace. Sayedna elevated Reader John Pelikan to the subdiaconate, and tonsured John Jubinski and Jesse Pelikan as readers. Subdeacon John and Reader Jesse are the sons of Fr. Philip. May God grant these men many years in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ and the All Saints community!

Sayedna delivered a stirring homily on the Gospel lection for the Seventh Sunday of St. Luke (Luke 8:41-56), exhorting the faithful to exercise their faith as did the woman with the issue of blood. Following the liturgy, all gathered in the Parish Hall for a celebratory brunch. The All Saints Children's Choir again serenaded His Grace. Their performance included a very "jazzy" rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," which was enjoyed by all. Sayedna was delighted and responded by singing this song (his favorite!) back to them.

It was a wonderful visit. All present felt the love of Bishop Antoun for the parish and the peace and joy that only comes from the Holy Spirit.