Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Parish Centennial of St. Thomas Church in Sioux City, IA
On September 2-5, 2016—Labor Day Weekend— St. Thomas Church in Sioux City, IA celebrated its 100th Anniversary. People came from all over the country to worship, fellowship, dance, and celebrate this auspicious milestone. Perhaps most especially, we were graced beyond measure with the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for the full weekend. In addition to the formal meals, the hafli, and the grand banquet, participants were given multiple opportunities to connect with God and with one another. Each day brought its own special joys.
On Friday, we began our Centennial celebrations with Daily Vespers. Although many attendees would not arrive until the following day, this service was already well-attended and quite worshipful. After some brief words from Sayidna Joseph, we retired to the parish hall for a light repast. This served as template for the following days.
Saturday's festivities once again began with worship and ended with a meal. Many area clergy concelebrated Saturday's Divine Liturgy: Fr. Thomas Begley (Pastor of St. George Church, West St. Paul, MN and former pastor of St. Thomas) served as first priest while Metropolitan Joseph presided from the throne. Host pastor Fr. Lucas Rice and other area clergy concelebrated. The Metropolitan and clergy joined Duane and Wanda Skaff (of St. Mary Church in Omaha, NE) for a special meal which celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Parishioners and former members prayed a Trisagion at the parish cemetery and Great Vespers in the early evening. The night closed with a dinner and live music at the Sioux City Convention Center.
Sunday would give even more opportunities for faith and fellowship. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was the highlight of the weekend. After a prayerful Orthros service, His Eminence vested and led a number of clergy and faithful in celebration of the Divine Liturgy. His sermon united themes from the Epistle reading and the upcoming national holiday of Labor Day to stress the importance of continuing to work of the Gospel mission. An extravagant meal in the parish hall followed. His Eminence fielded questions first from reporters in a small press conference and later from parishioners and guests in an informal Q and A. The evening Grand Banquet occasioned speeches from Frs. Begley and Rice as well as an edifying talk from Metropolitan Joseph. Several parishioners were recognized for their meritorious service including Philip Hanna, Ronald Carlson, Gerry Stevens, and Nicholas Corey. The Sunday night hafli marked the close of the Centennial Celebrations as people enjoyed the live music and danced the night away.
Though certainly an occasion to reminisce about days past, the Centennial proved to be something more. This celebration of 100 years of history brought a palpable energy and enthusiasm to the parish. Honoring the work and dedication of their forefathers, the people of St. Thomas Church in Sioux City, Iowa press forward . . . on to their next hundred years!