A cold November rain could dampen the ground, but it could not dampen the mood. On Sunday, November 1st, 2009, the families and children of All Saints Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC, joined His Grace, Bishop +ANTOUN, in breaking ground on a new temple and education building.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, groundbreaking, and reception capped off a weekend full of events.
After arriving in Raleigh Friday night, His Grace enjoyed dinner with the members of the Parish Council and their spouses. After dinner, Sayedna related a recent parish visit in which he burned that parish’s mortgage papers. He encouraged the Council to work diligently and faithfully toward the day when he could do the same for All Saints’ new building.
Saturday brought brilliant sunshine and mild temperatures, a perfect day for the parish’s children to gather and meet with His Grace. The day’s events began with a children’s luncheon with Sayedna. After lunch, the children got the chance to ask him questions about their faith and his role as their bishop. Sayedna also shared his excitement for the building project, telling them he hoped that many of them would eventually get married in the new temple. He also invited the children to bring their shovels to help break ground for the building. Later that evening, Sayedna presided over Great Vespers, followed by a dinner in the parish hall.
Unfortunately, the weather turned on Sunday, bringing clouds and a cold, steady rain. However, the dramatic change in the weather did not stop the morning’s special activities.
Immediately before the Liturgy, His Grace tonsured John Pelikan as a Reader. Reader John is the son of Fr. Philip Pelikan, who is attached to All Saints but currently deployed as a Navy chaplain in Afghanistan. After then presiding over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Sayedna led the faithful of All Saints out into the mud and rain. He prayed that God would bless the project and protect those working on the building, then he invited the Parish Council and the children of the parish to join him in breaking ground on the project. Following the groundbreaking, the parish hosted a reception for His Grace in the parish hall.
The building is expected to be complete in the fall of 2010, and the members of All Saints are already looking forward to Sayedna’s next visit to bless the new building!