Bishop Alexander visits Kansas, Missouri parishes and missions
OVERLAND PARK, KS — His Grace Bishop Alexander, locum tenens of the Diocese of the Midwest, OCA (Orthodox Church in America), visited the southland for an action-packed weekend December 5 – 9. His first stop was St Nicholas Orthodox Church in Lawrence, KS, where an over-flowing crowd of parishioners and well-wishers joined His Grace in celebrating the mission’s feast day. The mission recently purchased a beautiful property, including a sprawling home which is being transformed to include a beautiful liturgical space and plenty of room for parish gatherings and community outreach (OCF, a local homeschooling group).
After Divine Liturgy for St Nicholas on Friday, His Grace and Fr. Joshua Lollar, priest-in-charge of St Nicholas, traveled to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Overland Park, KS to join a gathering of the faculty of the Midwest Vocations Program newly forming in the Kansas City region. Joining local faculty (Fr. Joshua, Fr. Timothy Sawchak, Liam Higgins, Agape Whisenant, and Tracy Gustilo) were Fr. Elijah Mueller and Matushka Rebecca Luft of the Chicago deanery, Fr. Mark and Presbytera Iulia Curtright of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Lincoln, NE, and Paul Saieg of the Antiochian mission St John Chrysostom in Golden, CO. Bishop Alexander encouraged the pan-Orthodox faculty in their ongoing development of both the Chicago- and Kansas City-based vocational programs.
On Saturday, Bishop Alexander offered an insightful view of the Bible from an Orthodox perspective during Holy Trinity’s annual Fr. John Platko Memorial Lecture. His Grace’s measured tempo and straightforward language kept the seminar focused on a number of complex relationships between Scripture, early theologians, and the challenge of interpreting the Bible today.
After Vespers, His Grace headed further south to Springfield, MO, to St Thomas Orthodox Church, where he ordained Deacon Joel Wilson to the Holy Priesthood on Sunday, December 8th. The newly ordained Father Joel will serve at Annunciation of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Mission recently established in Rolla, MO. Axios, Fr. Joel! Three readers were also tonsured, Micah Wilson (of St. Stephen the First Martyr in Crawfordsville, IN), Nicholas Stanford, and Matthew Siegmann (both of St. Thomas).
Other clergy in attendance included (left to right): Fr. Michael Kuzara, Igumen Sergius (Bowyer), Fr. David Rucker, Fr. Andrew Moore, Fr. Moses Berry, and Fr. Timothy Sawchak.
During his visit to Kansas City, Bp Alexander was graciously hosted by Fr Elias Issa at St Basil’s Antiochian Orthodox Church.
On behalf of all the parishes of Kansas and Missouri where His Grace visited this past weekend, we thank him for his presence, teaching, and episcopal blessing. Many years, Master!