On June 23, 2012, His Grace Bishop Thomas was solemnly received at Vespers by Fr. Alban Waggener and the members of Holy Trinity Western Rite Orthodox Mission in Lynchburg, VA. We were doubly blessed to have Fr. Olaf Scott, the Dean of the Virginias, and Kh. Eva in attendance. The Scotts' daughter Lisa and family are members of Holy Trinity. After Vespers, His Grace spoke to the congregation about supporting their priest and encouraged them to seek out ways to be of assistance within the mission. His Grace then joined the mission council for dinner at the Waggener home, where he discussed many topics, including the present situation in Syria.
On Sunday morning, Bishop Thomas presided from his throne during Matins and the Divine Liturgy. His Grace presented the homily, in which he emphasized that the Church is a place where Heaven and earth meet. He acknowledged that the Church should be a place people find attractive, but he stressed that it should not work to make itself attractive to everyone, but only to those who are truly seeking the fullness of Christ. Sayedna Thomas encouraged the congregation to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel to those they encounter in the Lynchburg community, but he warned against confusing individual opinion for God’s Word.
After the services, His Grace joined the members of the mission at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pyle for the annual parish picnic. Members of the mission enjoyed the opportunity to talk with the Bishop about a range of subjects and hear him tell stories. Holy Trinity is blessed and thankful for Bishop Thomas’ loving support for the Western Orthodox tradition and the mission’s witness to the Orthodox faith in the Lynchburg community.