Our Youth Becoming Athletes in Christ. - 08/09/19
by Father Stephen Osburn
What an amazing time we all had this year at the Rocky Mountain Orthodox Youth Camp! By far one of the best camp experiences one could have. Now myself, I had the pleasure of being the speaker for this year’s camp and as such, my topic was on how to become a good Athlete in Christ. For those who don’t know, I am a huge sports fan (“Go Knights Go!”) and when I was asked to give the talks, I knew exactly what topic to pick for a couple reasons: One, in our faith, especially through Parables, relating to things within the world helps expand our understanding of what we believe. It makes us better Christians. It makes us better Orthodox. It helps us spread the Gospel. Two, St. Paul when first preaching the Gospel used sports as his allegory both from a deep admiration for sports but also because sports and faith are interconnected. They both come from the same model. You see, when someone wants to be a good athlete they have to train. They have to practice. They have to hone their craft. If they don’t, they won’t win, they won’t be very good. They will struggle. Same goes with our faith. If we don’t learn to pray - if we don’t practice praying - if we don’t come to church - if we don’t fast - we won’t be much of a Christian. So St. Paul uses the imagery of sports because of its deep rooted connection with our daily struggles as Christians.
Diocesan Pilgrimage to Spruce Island and Alaska - 08/01/19
Join your fellow Orthodox believers in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of St. Herman of Alaska’s gloriﬁcation and the 50th Anniversary of the OCA’s autocephaly in 2020. There will be weekly trips to Alaska over the summer of 2020 sponsored by each of the dioceses of the OCA. The Diocese of the West will sponsor their trip July 8-14, 2020. This will be a special trip for all Orthodox believers. Sign up early and reserve your space. Final cost to be determined.
Core package includes:
* 7 days/6 nights accommodation
* Round trip air fare to Kodiak from Anchorage
* Excursion to Spruce Island
* Touring and sightseeing as listed in itinerary
For terms and conditions, passports, visas, baggage fees, air, additional taxes and travel insurance information visit https://www.culturallycreativetravel.com/pilgrimage-to-alaska-2020/or email firstname.lastname@example.org 713-688-6793.
Download the flyer here.
St Peter's Monastery Youth Camp 2019 A Success! - 07/22/19
With almost sixty campers and staff members, St Peter's Monastery Youth Camp 2019 nearly doubled in size this year. Campers came from as far away as Pennsylvania and Ohio, and Portland almost matched the numbers coming from Colorado Springs. We made great progress with the work on the monastery and are in a position to begin work on the cloisters next summer. In addition to this work, campers joined Brother Donald to pick several loads of rock from a meadow near Pony and make riparian repairs at the bridge, beautifully refinished the massive doors given to the Monastery by Holy Trinity in Butte, pruned the olive trees, and planted sixteen rose bushes and twenty-four Ponderosa Pines (Montana's State tree).
Hieromonk Innocent established as the week's theme the study of the saints, and everyone received a binder containing the lives and wisdom of many prominent saints. This prompted much good discussion about how these exemplary lives might inform our own lives in an often virulently secular world. And besides study and discussion, there was regular worship and afternoon excursions and evening softball games before Vespers at the cross.
One of our evenings was spent in discussion with Archbishop Benjamin who flew in to "inspect the work."
While the Archbishop was here, the Foundation board met to reflect on this year's work and to plan for the coming year when we hope to host another youth camp during the last week in June 21-27, 2020. Applications will be available on the web site this fall.
My great thanks to Hieromonk Innocent and Brother Donald, Fathers David and Moses, Mary Matthews our extraordinary chef (as Bishop Benjamin pointed out, we "fasted sumptuously'), Josh Hicks and James Latimer for their icon and choir workshops, and all the staff members from Portland and Colorado Springs who made this year's camp so enjoyable, productive, and inspiring.
Tacoma Parish Burns Mortgage - 06/21/19
Holy Resurrection church, Tacoma, Washington was blessed to have His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin visit the weekend of June 1st & 2nd. At Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, His Eminence tonsured Theodore Kvamme a Reader, awarded the Jeweled Cross to Fr. Joseph Velez and the Gold Cross to Fr. James McKee. At the conclusion of Liturgy His Eminence, assisted by Fr. John Pierce, Rector, and Parish Council Senior Warden, John Hamre, burned the mortgage to the Tacoma property. At the community meal that followed Divine Liturgy, the parish honored Archbishop Benjamin on his 65th birthday.
Founded in 1896 in the town of Wilkeson in the Cascade foothills near Mount Rainier, the parish moved to the outskirts of Tacoma in 1996. The parish owns ten acres there, utilizing a "temporary" church building that can hold 160 people, a small fellowship hall and classrooms. The local county has given the parish the green light to establish a cemetery. A traditional Orthodox Temple and larger parish hall are also part of the future plans. The parish maintains its original Holy Trinity Temple in Wilkeson, which was built in 1900 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Archbishop John Shahovskoy 1902-1989 - 06/09/19
Thursday May 30, 2019 marked the 30th Anniversary of the repose of the outstanding hierarch and former archpastor of our Diocese of the West – Archbishop John Shahovskoy. Archbishop John served as the Archbishop of San Francisco for nearly three decades, from 1950-1973, and again, after being called out of retirement, from 1975-1979. A prolific writer and poet, Archbishop John also authored a well-known treatise on the priesthood – The Orthodox Pastor, which remains a guide and inspiration for seminarians and clergy to this day. Most of his publications appeared in Russian and remain untranslated into English.
Commemorating the event, a memorial Liturgy was held in Christ the Savior Church in San Francisco, a parish founded by Archbishop John as well as his former residence. Priest Philip Halliwell and Priest Timothy Winegar concelebrated. Fr. Philip shared a sermon of Archbishop John, giving all a sense of his poetic and vivid preaching style. Fr. Timothy also shared about how Archbishop John’s monastic cross, which he received on Mt. Athos and which contains a relic of the True Cross and relics of several saints, came to reside at Elevation of the Holy Cross parish in Sacramento, a parish also founded with the blessing of Archbishop John. Following Liturgy, the faithful shared a meal together in the parish hall.
The day’s Gospel reading was fitting for this true hierarch and shepherd: Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (Jn. 10:1-4)
May his memory be eternal!
Below is a brief life of Archbishop John that appeared in The Orthodox Church journal following his repose in 1989.
Spokane Mission Highlighted - 06/05/19
Spokane, Washington - from Staff Reports
St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church in north Spokane will celebrate its first Pascha, or Easter, service at midnight Saturday, one week after the Western Christian Easter. The church was formed in the summer 2018 and meets at Valley Prairie Hall, 8216 E. Big Meadows Road, in Chattaroy. The goal of the Church is to make Orthodox Christianity accessible to residents in north Spokane, the Rev. Timothy Wilkinson said in a news release. While the membership of the new church is small, it is diverse.
“We have people from various religious backgrounds who have become Orthodox, or are on the journey to becoming Orthodox, including Roman Catholics, Calvinists and Pentecostals,” Wilkinson said in the release. “One member was a pastor in the Assemblies of God denomination for 30 years and became interested in Orthodoxy after studying Church history and reading about early church fathers like St. Athanasius and St. Basil. Many people read their way into the Orthodox Church,” Wilkinson said.