As widely reported, Saint Peter the Aleut Church here sustained significant damage in the floods that ravaged the city and displaced nearly its entire population in late June 2011.
On Monday, July 25, an “eye witness” account of the damage was posted on the OCA web site at http://oca.org/news/oca-news/eye-witness-account-of-flooding-at-st.-peter-the-aleut-church-minot-nd, while the faithful of Saint Peter’s have posted photos of the damaged church and comments on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Peter-the-Aleut-Orthodox-Church/147966038614055.
“We urgently need financial help to continue our service to the Orthodox Christian community in this remote part of the country,” Igumen Anastassy [Fehr], rector, wrote to His Grace, Bishop Matthias of Chicago and the Midwest. Father Anastassy was among the thousands of Minot residents displaced from his home because of the floods. For the time being, he has relocated to Bismark and commutes to Minot, where he celebrates services in borrowed facilities provided by an Episcopalian congregation.
“Our parish serves not only its permanent members, but also the Orthodox Christians stationed at the Minot Air Force Base and the growing number of oil workers who have come to North Dakota,” Father Anastassy added. “For missionary purposes, our parish is quite important.”
The only other OCA parish in the state is in Fargo, some five hours away. Father Anastassy also serves a small group of faithful in Bismark.
His Grace, Bishop Matthias of Chicago and the Midwest, asks all parishes and faithful to assist the parish with prayers and financial assistance, which is especially crucial since the church basement, as well as the upper sanctuary, sustained an estimated $110,000.00 in damage. The parish does not have flood insurance — not uncommon for residences, businesses, and other concerns located in a flood plain.
At the outset of the flood, Father Anastassy and the parishioners managed to save the holy items, the altar table, and other items, many of which were then stored in the choir loft or off site. They now face a major mold problem — discovering an unexpected disturbing asbestos problem in the process — and have no other option than to completely gut the interior of the sanctuary and lower level, including interior walls and floors.
“We pray that there will be others who will help us not only rebuild our church, but enable us to continue our outreach and witness,” Father Anastassy added.
Donations may be sent directly to Saint Peter Orthodox Church, PO Box 845, Minot, ND 58702.