For a number of years, Archpriest Mikel Bock had been serving Saint Herman parish in Fairbanks, AK. In February 2009, however, he was transferred back to the Anchorage area to reopen the vacant Saint Nicholas Church in Eklutna.
“Shortly thereafter, a small core group of people from the Wasilla area expressed a desire to build a church ‘closer to home,’” Father Mikel explained, adding that “the faithful—mostly young families with a large number of children—pooled their resources through tithing, donations and fundraising, making it possible to purchase approximately four acres of land in Wasilla on which to build a church.”
On July 29, 2017, Father Mikel and the faithful of what today is known as Saint Juvenaly Mission, celebrated the fifth anniversary of their land purchase, and on August 22, they marked the third year of worshipping in their recently new church building.
“There has been a lot of hard work by the entire community to get us to where we are today, and while we have been extremely blessed indeed, we all understand there there is still a great amount of work to be done,” Father Mikel added. “There are always tasks unfolding before us that we must deal with—some related to the church building itself, others to the life of the parish and the greater Wasilla communities, and still others to the development of programs and ministries to benefit the Church. In pursuing all of these tasks, we see God’s hand guiding us.”
The purpose of a mission, Father Mikel contends, is to worship Christ properly and in truth and to bring that to others in the wider community.
“With all the things that are going on in the world today, many people are hungering after the true Christian faith, and it has been a great blessing to be available to meet with the many people who struggle with all the adversities that life brings, whether spiritual, medical or otherwise,” added Father Mikel, specifically referencing the dozens of inmates he visits weekly in two area prisons. “This is especially true of the prisoners and their families with whom I meet, for whom life is naturally very difficult. But being available to have conversations with them and to help them deal with the problems they face is a true blessing.”
Such spiritual growth has brought about ongoing numerical growth for the mission as Father Mikel and his flock embrace every opportunity to share their faith, whether it be through prison ministry or by distributing Orthodox literature at the Alaska State Fair.
“Receiving the OCA Church Planting Grant has made it possible for me to devote the time and energy necessary for the development of our mission and strengthening its relationship to the wider community,” stated Father Mikel. “And as Saint Juvenaly’s continues its growth, we anticipate maturing into full parish status in the near future, elevating our community to the next steps in our journey to the Kingdom of God.”
Follow the growth of Saint Juvenaly Mission on-line.