Missouri Trip, Part 2 — Parish Presentation at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

Technically, I’ll be in Kansas for this one! — If you are in the greater Kansas City area, please join us at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Overland Park, Kansas, on September 30, for my presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and the North American Thebaid.

Vespers at 5:00pm, presentation to follow. Full details on the flier…

Click to enlarge…

I’ll also be at coffee hour following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 1, with my Thebaid Project display, including handouts and a continuous digital slide show, and hope to see you there.

Holy Trinity is celebrating their Centennial Anniversary this year (and in fact are holding their official celebration and banquet the following week), and I am deeply honored to be speaking here.

 

My sincere thanks to Fr Timothy Sawchak for the invitation! I have known Fr. Tim and Matushka Jennifer for many years (Jennifer’s father, George Stansbury of beloved memory, and I were on one of Fr Alexander Atty’s memorable Mt Athos pilgrimages together back in 1990), so this will be a special reunion, and one very dear to my heart…

Stay tuned for a hoped-for Part 3 of this Missouri trip…

 

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Missouri Trip, Part 1 – Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete

Travel these days is nearly continuous for the Thebaid Project, for which I am very thankful! And I am greatly anticipating my first pilgrimage to Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete, in Weatherby, Missouri, September 25-28. 

From the Skete’s website, you can get a real sense of their life and growth:

We are two communities serving God as one, Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete (led by Hieromonk Alexii) and St. Xenia Sisterhood (led by Abbess Brigid). The brotherhood has two monks and one novice; and the sisterhood has three nuns and one novice.

Thanks to the mercies of our Kind Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ, the prayers and sacrificial gifts of many, we acquired a property that included a total of 80-acres, with 15-acres of farmable pasture, 65-acres of forest, trails, and ponds, and 7 well-built structures….

Continue reading “Missouri Trip, Part 1 – Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete”

Parish Presentation Sept. 17 at St Mary of Egypt Church, Roswell GA

Join us at St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Roswell GA (north of Atlanta) tomorrow, Sunday, September 17!

St. Mary of Egypt Church, Pascha 2017 (photo from parish website).
  • 9:40am – Hours and Divine Liturgy,
  • followed by a brief time of coffee & fellowship,
  • and then my presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and the North American Thebaid.

 

St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, 1765 Woodstock Rd, Roswell GA 30075

My heartfelt thanks to Fr. John Townshend for inviting me.

Hope you can join us!

Thebaid Project Update – September 2017

A summary of Thebaid Project activity over the past six weeks, with exciting news about upcoming monastery and parish visits, and some additional surprises.

Dear Fellow Thebaid Pilgrims,

I’m a couple of weeks late on my monthly Thebaid Update Schedule, but I hope you’ll appreciate the reasons for the delay, as the last six weeks have been filled with travel and photography, and have generated growing interest in and momentum for the Project.

For this September 2017 Edition, there are several categories of note:

LOGISTICS —

As mentioned in the August 2017 Update, through the support of a generous sponsor, I have been able to eliminate the overhead of housing and utilities costs, which has really propelled scheduling both of monastery visits and parish presentations. The immediate benefits of this logistical change can be seen in the updates below…

MONASTERY TRAVELS —

August 25-27 — Monastery of the Glorious Ascension (ROCOR) in Resaca GA, a women’s monastery with a long history, which is an important part of Orthodox mission efforts in northern Georgia. View the Photo Gallery here.

September 5-7 — Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery in Williston FL. This is my first visit to one of the monasteries founded by Elder Ephraim (former abbot of Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos). Due to Hurricane Irma, I cut short my stay by one day, and had to cancel my pilgrimage to the women’s Annunciation Monastery just 10 minutes away. Perhaps a return visit may occur in the winter. Photo Gallery here.

UPCOMING: Looking ahead, I just this morning confirmed the dates for my first pilgrimage to Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete in Weatherby MO, on September 24-28. A women’s monastic community is adjacent to the men’s skete, St Xenia Sisterhood. I am hoping to add more monasteries in the region to make a circuit, before returning to Birmingham.

Continue reading “Thebaid Project Update – September 2017”

New Photo Gallery: Monastery of the Glorious Ascension

I am very excited to share with you some images from my recent visit to the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension in Resaca GA.

The rugged beauty of the forested grounds, nestled in the mountains of northwest Georgia, and the luminous chapel and monastery building, stir the heart and evoke a deep yearning for God, for the Living God.

I invite you to explore the many new images from Glorious Ascension in the Gallery, and stay tuned, as I am heading to Panagia Vlahernon in Central Florida tomorrow, and hope to have even more photographs posted here early next week.

Proceed to the Photo Gallery…

August Monastery Travels scheduled for Georgia and Florida

Summer travel and photography continues for the North American Thebaid Project with my first visit to the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension (ROCOR) in northwest Georgia, and pilgrimages to two of Elder Ephraim’s monasteries in Florida: Panagia Vlahernon and Holy Annunciation (GOA).

Each of these have informative and attractive websites (see links below) where you can learn about their way of life and how to schedule a pilgrimage. I am most eager to be back on the road and in the holy confines and sacred grounds with the monks and nuns.

In addition, I will be giving a presentation at St Mary of Egypt Church (ROCOR) in Roswell GA on Sunday, September 17, during coffee hour following the Divine Liturgy. If you are in the Greater Atlanta and Marietta area, please join us!

And, looking ahead to October, I am planning on attending the OCA Diocese of the Midwest Annual Assembly as an exhibitor, with a full display for the Thebaid Project including a continuous digital slide show, handouts, and more. I hope to see some of you there; please stop by my display so we can get acquainted!

Below is my schedule so far, with embedded links. Subject to change. You can also view the entire proposed Itinerary for the North American Thebaid.

Asking your prayers for safe travel, and your support for the Thebaid Project!

Panagia Vlahernon Monastery Church

Monastery of the Glorious Ascension, Resaca GA
August 25-27, 2017

Panagia Vlahernon Monastery, Williston FL
August 28-31

Holy Annunciation Monastery, Reddick FL
August 30, 2017

Parish Presentation: St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, Roswell GA
September 17, 2017 at 9:40 am – 2:00 pm
Hours/Liturgy begin at 9:40am ET; Presentation during coffee hour.

Midwest Diocesan Assembly (OCA)
October 11 & 12, 2017
Archangel Michael Orthodox Church, Broadview Heights, OH

 

Join us this Wednesday, July 19, at St Athanasius Orthodox Church in Nicholasville KY

Vespers at 6:30pm, followed at 7:15pm by my presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and a slide show of images from the North American Thebaid Project!

Procession at St Athanasius Orthodox Church, Nicholasville KY (Photo: athanasiusoca.org)

This coming week kicks off my Summer travels with a highly anticipated (certainly by me!) mid-week presentation at a thriving parish of the OCA Diocese of the South: St Athanasius Orthodox Church in Nicholasville, just a few miles south of Lexington KY.

If you’re curious about Orthodoxy and/or monasticism, I think you’ll find this a rich and informative evening.

I have long wanted to visit this growing Orthodox community, to worship in their new church building (which they moved into in 2014) to be sure, but also to get to better know these dear brothers and sisters just “down the road” from us in Cincinnati. It’s always a joy when Fr Justin and Mat. Tamara and sons stop in to join us for Vespers when passing through the area, and we have known each other now for years.

You can learn more here about the inspiring history of the still young parish of St Athanasius (especially significant for Protestants and Evangelicals wishing to learn more about Orthodoxy). Their journey is unique in some surprising ways, yet will sound very familiar to those of us who have likewise been converted in our hearts by our own encounters with the early Church Fathers.

Check their Directions page and make your plans to join us this coming Wednesday evening!

My sincere thanks to Fr Justin Patterson for his invitation, and to Kathy and Audrey for promotion, logistics and refreshments!

If you’re in the Lexington or Central Kentucky area, we hope to see you! Free and open to the public, refreshments provided, plenty of time for fellowship and Q&A.

  • Wednesday, July 19
  • 6:30pm – Vespers
  • 7:15pm – Presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and the North American Thebaid

St. Athanasius Orthodox Church
100 Lime Lane, Nicholasville, KY 40356

 

Thebaid Project Update – hiatus, preparation, and getting back on the road

 A special update on the North American Thebaid Project, especially coming off this recent “quiet” period during Great Lent and the Pascha/Easter season.

Actually, there has been a great deal going on in the background, most of which is sketched out below, and you’ll see why I didn’t feel it was worth posting about at the time, as the details seem rather dull on the surface. But when it is all pulled together now, it makes for a good narrative, and helps relate the causes of my absence, as well as my eagerness to resume travel and photography.

So, here are the updates, arranged topically:

  • Temp Job & Auto Maintenance — The Thebaid Project has been quiet recently primarily due to an unexpected fundraising opportunity. Thanks to a referral from one of the project’s main advisors and supporters, I was able to take on a full-time administrative temp job for three months, in order to raise extra funds for the Thebaid project. This proved to be doubly providential, enabling me to take care of some major (and unexpected!) car maintenance (battery, alternator, belts), over and above normal service. A commitment from another supporter to replace two tires showing wear and dry-rot (we replaced the first pair of tires in September 2016) means that my vehicle should be quite roadworthy for the remainder of the project travel through mid-2018, God willing. And, I will still benefit from modest savings from the temp job gig. Had I pressed forward with travel instead of accepting the job offer, I might very well have had a breakdown on the road, with added expense due to hotel stays and possible towing beyond my AAA coverage. Thanks be to God!

 

  • Travel & Photography to resume in July — I am currently firming up details on the major legs of the pilgrimage: the Northeast, Midwest, the Northern Plains, Pacific Northwest and Alberta Canada, and California. Alaska timing is uncertain at this point. I am planning to cover the Southeast and Southwest in Late Autumn and Winter, following the seasons. My intent is to have the photography completed by April or May 2018, and be in a position to send the book to the printer by June 2018.

 

Continue reading “Thebaid Project Update – hiatus, preparation, and getting back on the road”

Heartfelt thanks to St Herman of Alaska Church in Hudson OH

The weekend of March 11-12 was very special for me, as I visited the fervent mission parish of St Herman of Alaska in Hudson Ohio, and gave a presentation on the Thebaid Project.

Fr Basil Rusen was one of the earliest supporters of the Thebaid Project outside of my home parish, strongly encouraging me at its very launch last Summer. We had corresponded about me visiting, and the timing happily coincided with one of the great monastic saints of the Church, Gregory Palamas, on the Second Sunday of Great Lent.

In addition to giving my presentation and slide show on the history of Orthodox Monasticism and its presence in North America, featuring many of my images from my monastery travels, I also was able to make some photographs for my gracious hosts, who took up a generous collection in support of the Thebaid Project.

I’ll be posting galleries of photos from my parish visits soon, but wanted to at least share one of my favorite images from the weekend with you.

My sincere thanks to Fr Basil, Popadija Patty, and the entire parish of St Herman’s for their hospitality. support and friendship. This was a very special event, and I look forward to repeat visits during my travels.