Saint Juvenaly and His Companion Mission, Wasilla, AK, reports ongoing growth and progress as it prepares to “graduate” from the Orthodox Church in America’s Church Planting Grant program at the end of 2018.
“Our mission actually began in Eklutna, Alaska, at the historic Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church,” Archpriest Mikel Bock, Priest-in-Charge explained. “Services began there in February 2008, but most that attended were from Wasilla. They attended with the hopes that a new and larger church could be built in the Wasilla area.”
In their first four years, the faithful collected sufficient funds to put a down payment on four acres of land on which to fulfill the Wasilla faithful’s dream.
“In 2012, Archbishop Benjamin blessed the land with the name of Saint Juvenaly and His Companion, and the following year a construction loan was taken out and construction began,” Father Mikel continued. “In August 2014, we were able to celebrate our first service in the new church, and there have been services there ever since. The name Saint Juvenaly is a wonderful name for our community, as it was he who served as a missionary intent on bringing the Orthodox faith to the people in Alaska, especially those in the South Central region. This is what the mission of Saint Juvenaly’s has been for the past four years, and this is what it will continue to be.”
The community’s missionary zeal has taken shape in many different forms.
“From helping the Wasilla Homeless Shelter and the Teen Pregnancy Center to visiting the inmates in Goose Creek Prison—and even having a presence at the Alaska State Fair—our ministry has been quite diverse,” Father Mikel added. “But it’s crucial to continually evaluate what we have done as a parish and where we will go. Saint Herman writes about the discussion that took place between Father Juvenaly and Father Makary and how they were eager to go out and preach to and teach the people of Alaska—so eager in fact that they were each trying to get as much of Alaska as they could.”
All of this, Father Mikel noted, is because “they had great zeal for the Lord and His teaching.
“Bringing the Gospel of Christ to this ever changing world takes the same zeal that Saint Juvenaly had,” Father Mikel concluded. “As we continue to labor in this vineyard, we ask for ongoing prayers, that our Lord help us, guide us and have mercy on us as we continue to grow in Spirit, as well as numbers and formally ‘graduate’ from the Planting Grant program at the end of 2018.”
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