One week after visiting the Diocese of New York and New Jersey’s oldest parish—Saints Peter and Paul’s in Buffalo, NY—His Eminence, Archbishop Michael joined Priest James Worthington and the faithful of Holy Apostles Mission, one of the diocese’s youngest communities, for the celebration of its fifth anniversary on August 8-9, 2015. [See related story.]
“As a sign of the endurance of the Orthodox Christians of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey and the blessings that the Lord continues to send to His people, His Eminence led us in our celebration,” said Father James. “Also joining us were nine local clergy representing three jurisdictions, as well as faithful from throughout the diocese and beyond, as we gave thanks to God for the tremendous blessings that have been poured out on our young and vibrant community.”
In his homily at the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Michael spoke of the importance of combining prayer and fasting for the growth of the Church and the furthering of Christ’s Holy Gospel. “The challenge is to be part of an organization as the Holy Apostles were—to combine their trust in the Lord—which we call faith—and prayer, which is conversation with God,” he said.
At the time of its establishment with the support of its mother parish, Saints Peter and Paul Church, Endicott, NY, the mission consisted of about a dozen souls who gathered in a small rented church with Priest Timothy Holowatch as Priest-in-Charge. Today, Holy Apostles is home to over 60 parishioners, as well as many regular visitors.
“The charitable outreach, celebration of the divine services and fellowship at Holy Apostles has been made possible not only through the sacrifice of its parishioners, but even more so through the generous support of others throughout the OCA and beyond,” said Father James. “The mission is a recipient of the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors fund, and it has also been blessed to be a three-year recipient of the OCA Church Planting Grant, provided by the Department of Evangelization. Each of these, in addition to donations from numerous private individuals, has shown that a mission can thrive when it is nurtured from both the parishioners and the Church at large. It is with great joy and thankfulness that we continue to remember the gifts of time, talent and treasure that have been given for the building of Christ’s Holy Church in Lansing.
“As a sign of our gratitude to God for His protection throughout our first five years, we made our yearly donation to the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors fund in the amount of $555.00,” Father James added. “As our mission continues on its spiritual journey, we are encouraged by the love and support of all of our brothers and sisters, and humbly ask for their prayers for our continued growth.”