(Lewistown, MD) On Saturday, July 31, 2010, His Grace Bishop Thomas conducted an episcopal visitation of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church  located in Lewistown, Maryland. This was just his second visitation of the mission since the congregation converted to Holy Orthodoxy last March, and the first visitation since the mission’s pastor, Fr. James Hamrick, had been ordained to the priesthood last August by Bishop Thomas. Prior to their conversion, the mission had been affiliated with the Charismatic Episcopal Church.
Between Matins and Divine Liturgy, Bishop Thomas made Stephen (Steve) Kerr a subdeacon and tonsured John (Alan) Myers a lay reader. Subdeacon Stephen and Reader John represent the first two elevations to the minor orders in this young Western Rite mission. The congregation of about 35 people consists almost entirely of converts. They worship in a historic Methodist chapel located just north of Frederick, Maryland which is an hour west of Baltimore, Maryland. St. John the Baptist is currently the only Orthodox church or mission in Maryland which celebrates the Liturgy in the ancient Western Rite of St. Gregory.