We are entering into a momentous time in the history of our parish. Beginning right after Memorial Day and for the next two or three months we will be putting a new roof on our Church which will proclaim the glory of God not only to those on the inside who will see the beautiful vault under the dome but also to those on the outside who will see our new cross raised to the heavens. This construction also is perfectly timed so that we can take advantage of the Paschal season in conjunction with our sister parish of Holy Transfiguration, concelebrating with them while it is impossible to get into our own building. We hope that construction will be complete near the time of our own parish feast on August 1 (7/19) – the summer feast of St. Seraphim of Sarov. We are trying to arrange for Archbishop Kyrill to be with us in September in order to bless the cross as we raise it to the top of the new roof.
This building project will bring some difficulties with it. First is the chaos and disruption to our regular schedule during the build. Thankfully we have had a temporary haven with our fellow Orthodox Christians at Holy Transfiguration parish, but still that is like staying as a guest in someone else’s house. We will be back in our own home beginning June 22 with evening services in the hall and morning liturgies in the church if possible and the hall otherwise. Also, due to the disruption of our schedule, this newsletter will be a “triple edition” covering the entire summer. Secondly is the amount of labor that will be required by all our parishioners. Thank you to all who helped move all of the decorations out of the Church before demo began. Once construction is complete we will need to move everything back in. Throughout the construction process there will be opportunities to do some of the work ourselves such as small construction projects, interior painting, exterior siding etc. thereby reducing the overall cost. And third, of course is the cost - this is an expensive project and we will all have to support our parish financially with extra pledges and donations to pay off the loan. The food festival income will be applied to the loan as capital prepayments which should significantly reduce the overall life and cost of the loan. In the end, however, we will have a temple which will serve for many years to come for the glory of God.
In addition to the difficulties, this project also brings many blessings. It is an opportunity to see the fruits of our labors and the realization of our dreams of many years saving money and working towards this goal. Seeing this, we will all receive encouragement and the joy from the Lord. Also our new appearance will be a testament to the fact that we are not “standing still” and stagnating, but that our parish is indeed alive and moving forward. This new roof will not be the last thing we do, but will lead to other much desired opportunities such as acquiring adjacent properties, increasing the size of our hall and providing for our clergy and staff. The new roof will open up a number of new opportunities within the Church building itself to redecorate, reconfigure and improve the space that we have. Such forward movement will require that we all work together and give to God what He has given to us in the form of time, talent, ideas and (yes) money. We have great experience in all pulling together and working toward a goal in the annual Russian Food Festival and now with the renovated Church building we will have additional opportunities to strengthen our sense of family and unity with each other.
The Psalmist speaks of the man who has said “the zeal of Thine house hath consumed me … they that love Thy Name shall dwell therein” (Ps. 68). Here we have the chance to be that person – to let the zeal of the house of God consume us which will then become the dwelling of our hearts. In reflecting upon this our Lord has also pointed out to us that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Let us then “treasure” the house of God so that our hearts may dwell therein in the presence of the Lord for eternity. I look forward to praying with you all and worshipping God in our common home.