Diocese: Diocese of the West
Deanery: Missionary District
2091 Sandwood Dr
Lake Havasu City, Arizona 86403-3045
PO Box 4527
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86405-4527
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86406
From Interstate 40 east and west
Take exit 9 (AZ Highway 95 south). Proceed south 17 miles to Kiowa Blvd north and turn left. Proceed east approx. 3/4 mile to Rundabout Dr and turn right. Proceed 1 block to sandwood Dr and turn left. The church is currently the first building on the left.
From areas south of Lake Havasu City
Take AZ Highway 95 north to Kiowa Blvd north and turn right. Proceed east approx. 3/4 mile to Rundabout Dr and turn right. Proceed 1 block to sandwood Dr and turn left. The church is currently the first building on the left.
Schedule of Services
6:00 PM Great Vespers and Confessions
9:40 Hours; 10:00 AM Divine Liturgy followed by fellowship Hour.
6:00 PM Great Vespers.
Eves of Great Feasts
8:10 AM Hours and Divine Liturgy.
Mornings of Great Feasts
Confessions are heard after Great Vespers, one-half hour before Liturgies or by appointment.
In 1977, Lake Havasu City, AZ was a small but growing planned retirement community situated along the east bank of the Colorado River approx. 20 miles south of US 40. From the outset, Lake Havasu City attracted many retirees due to its proximity to the river, to the resort areas of Laughlin and Las Vegas, NV, and the community’s status as a planned community offering many incentives and advantages to retired people.
Among those relocating and retiring in Lake Havasu City was a number of Orthodox Christians, primarily Greeks. In 1977 Mary Karafortis initiated contact with resident Orthodox Christians using a recurring directory of local residents that contained brief introductory biographies of those newly arrived at Lake Havasu City. As a result of this effort, a small group of Orthodox met at the restaurant of M/M Ted and Elena Kopanos. This small group continued to meet for the next two years.
During that time contact was made with Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America through that jurisdiction’s clergy in Phoenix, AZ. After a couple of meetings with the clergy, the Greek Archdiocese declined to accept the group as a mission.
The group continued to meet for religious and social events, and decided to take the organization one step further by calling itself “The American Eastern Orthodox Society.” The Society was then able to open a checking account and, in 1980, to obtain non-profit status from the IRS. The determination to establish and build an Orthodox Church in Lake Havasu City spurred the Society to begin fund raising activities, the first being a dinner dance.
From the very beginning one of the original founders, Elizabeth Mondschein, was the financial backbone of the groupÃÂs vision for a church. Through her efforts the organization became incorporated with a non-profit status.
In 1981, through contacts of Margie Cox, a new arrival to Lake Havasu City of Russian descent, dialogues began with the Diocese of the West of the Orthodox Church of America. The fruit of these talks was the admission of the society into the Diocese of the West as the Lake Havasu City Orthodox Mission. The late Fr Steven Kachur, a retired priest residing in Tucson, AZ, was the first OCA priest to serve the Mission, from 1981-1982. In 1982 the mission was placed under the heavenly patronage of the holy Martyr Peter the Aleut.
Services were held during this period at the Lietz Funeral Chapel and continued at this location until approximately 1990. In 1990 the church purchased three lots on Sandwood Dr in Lake Havasu City. Bishop Tikhon blessed the three lots and in 1993 the parishioners started construction on the present building. The building was completed and occupied in early 2000 and the Bright Saturday Liturgy was served in the new building. During the periods of formation and building, the mission met at the funeral chapel, then at various member’s homes, two different doctor’s offices and finally at the local Episcopal Church.
Services were supplied periodically in the early days, and then more regularly on, by Rev. Steven Kachur, Rev. Joseph Fester, Rev. Alexander Federoff, Rev. Jose Valancia, Rev.Luke (Hill), Rev. Matthew Bernardi, Rev. Nikolai (Soraich), Dn. John Kedrov, Rev.Timothy Lowe, Rev. James Bertolini, Rev.Thomas Moffett, Rev. Michael Spainhoward, Rev. Lawrence Gaudreau, Rev. Paul Shellbach, Archimandrite Benjamin (Peterson), and Rev. Damian Kuolt.
While still a popular retirement and resort community, Lake Havasu City has become populated with families and year round residents. The need for a strong and steady Orthodox presence became greater.
In July 2006, Rev. Peter Henry was assigned as the first full time rector of St. Peter the Aleut Mission. Through the tenacity and dedication of the founders and the faithful who have come in the years since, the mission flourishes. Under the care of Rev. Peter there is now a full and regular liturgical life to enter into.