Archive | Chapel of the Holy Spirit RSS feed for this section

Dn. David Smith to be Ordained a Priest on June 18

Deacon David and Matushka Brenda Smith.

Deacon David and Matushka Brenda Smith.

By the Grace of God, Dn. David Smith will be ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek the weekend of Pentecost—the patronal feast of both Holy Trinity and its mission outreach, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

Providentially and fittingly, the event will take place at the Chapel (145 North Kern Street, in Beavertown) where Dn. David has faithfully served as co-founder and administrator for several years. It will occur during the Saturday, June 18 Memorial Lit-urgy at 9 a.m., with a celebratory reception to follow at the Beavertown Firehall on 222 South Sassafras Street.

Reservations are required for the meal only by calling (814) 231-2855 or emailing ordination@holyspirit-oca.org.

There is no charge to attend the formal reception, but a freewill offering is being collected in honor of Deacon David and Mka. Brenda for the Chapel of the Holy Spirit Fund. Your generous gifts memoed “Smith Ordination” will help the Chapel and their newly ordained priest continue their ministry to the people of the central Susquehanna Valley. Thank you.

Before being received into Orthodoxy, Dn. David served as a Lutheran pastor for 20 years. He helped to establish the Chapel in 2008, and hosted services in his home while the community prepared to build its new temple. To further the Chapel’s apostolic work, he was ordained to the diaconate on the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul (June 29) in 2013. Father’s first full liturgy as priest will be Pentecost at Holy Trinity (June 19, 10 a.m.). He will also serve the Holy Spirit Day (June 20, 9 a.m.) and Nativity of St. John liturgies (June 24, 8 a.m.) here at Holy Trinity before commencing weekly Sunday services at the Chapel.

Your prayers and presence are requested.

Chapel of the Holy Spirit Opens in Beavertown

by Dn. David Smith

After nearly seven years of praying, worshipping, catechizing, planning, envisioning, and dreaming, a new Temple has been raised to the glory of God! And above it, a golden Cross has taken its place amidst the skyline of Beavertown.

The Chapel of the Holy Spirit was packed full of worshippers and well-wishers on the weekend of October 31-November 1. Sixty souls crammed into the 24-foot by 24-foot nave on Saturday evening to experience that which can only be experienced once in the life of a parish community—a service for the Opening of the Doors (Thyranoixia). Presiding were Fr. Mark Meholick, Dean of the Eastern Deanery, along with Fr. John and the Deacons of Holy Trinity.

Related: Coverage of the Chapel’s grand opening on oca.org.

The service of Great Vespers followed immediately thereafter with the evening being capped off by a fellowship hour. On Sunday morning, the first Divine Liturgy was served in the new Temple by Fr. John, along with Fr. James Chuta, a member o our extended parish family who has served and continues to serve both the Chapel and Holy Trinity from time to time.

Great support was once more abundantly evident by the attendance of parishioners from Holy Trinity! We here at the Chapel have been and are certainly blessed by all the love and support we have received over these years and know we will continue to receive from our mother church.

See More: View pictures of the event on the Chapel’s Facebook page.

We thank all who supported this great undertaking and all who have continually bolstered this missionary endeavor in a multitude of ways.

The work before us has just begun, to be sure, and at times seems daunting, but with your continued prayers and love and by the great mercies of God Who has called us to these efforts the seed of the Kingdom of Heaven will be planted and the sheaves of the harvest will be reaped.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord henceforth and forevermore!

Chapel to Host Grand Opening this Weekend 

Chapel Grand Opening BannerYou are invited to join members of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit for their official grand opening this upcoming weekend.

On Saturday, October 31 at 4 p.m., there will be a brief door opening ceremony and Great Vespers. An informal time for refreshments and fellowship will follow the services. (To allow as many as possible to participate, Great Vespers will be canceled at Holy Trinity that evening.)

Then on Sunday, November 1 at 10 a.m., the new chapel’s first Divine Liturgy will be celebrated. Plan to be a part of history and to stay for the time of food and fellowship that follows.

Holy Trinity is organizing rides for those who wish to carpool to either event. To request transportation, email info@holytrinity-oca.org.

Chapel of the Holy Spirit to Break Ground this Month

Clergy and Chapel faithful gather in 2014 to plant a cross on the lot. Construction of the building will begin in June.

All are invited to join Fr. John and the faithful of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in breaking ground at their new temple’s location on N. Kern St. in Beavertown this Sunday, June 28 at 12:30 p.m.

The ceremony follows the 10 a.m. Divine Liturgy at the MACC (67 Elm St., Beaver Springs) and continues with a light lunch reception a block away at Dn. David Smith’s home (350 Old Orchard Dr.), which served for many years as the community’s original meeting location.

Holy Trinity Closes on Adjacent Property

Trinity House Blessing

Following a molieben (prayer service) of Thanksgiving to God following the Divine Liturgy on November 23, Fr. John led the parish in procession to bless and tour the newly bought facility. For more pictures, visit http://facebook.com/holytrinitysc.

by Fr. John Reeves

It’s official now: we closed on the former American Cancer Society building on the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos in the Temple (November 21) and our newly named Trinity House became ours.

The generosity of many parishioners and non-parishioners alike has enabled us to take this leap: Forward, Together, in Faith.

Over the next three months, we will review bids, hire a contractor, and oversee work on the project, hoping that we can move in sometime in February. But, as with any building or remodeling program, end-dates end up being flexible. If we can’t get in by then, we’ll simply take time this Lent working on being patient.

If you still would like to contribute to Phase II—a gift to be paid out over the next three years—and/or to donate all or a portion of the ADA restroom on the main floor (Phase III), your benefactions would be joyfully received.

Chapel Opens New Doors to the Community

In other news, beginning with Vespers this Saturday, December 6, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit will begin worshipping in the MACC on 67 Elm Street in Beaver Springs—the same location of the Family Fun Nights. The Chapel’s temporary relocation opens doors for new-comers, inquirers, and those that have expressed a need for a more central and accessible location. For a full schedule and directions, visit holyspirit-oca.org.

Chapel’s Prayers for Conestoga Answered

by Alfred Kentigern Siewers

IMG_0736On a quiet summer day in rural central Pennsylvania it is hard to imagine that the small factory across from the lot where we are building our temple would have its fate decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC today.

Conestoga Wood Specialties, owned by a Mennonite family, along with better-known Hobby Lobby, was the focus of today’s final Supreme Court decision for this season.

The case centered on whether companies because of their owners’ religious beliefs could opt out of government-required abortifacient contraceptive insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or face crippling fines that would have forced Conestoga out of business.

Every week for months during Liturgy, around the corner from the plant, at the temporary house church where we meet, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit has prayed for those defending the sanctity of life through civil disobedience, keeping Conestoga in particular in prayer. The company has a reputation as a good neighbor and of treating its employees well, but because of the religious beliefs of its owners faced closure as a result of penalties for not adhering to the ACA provisions under dispute.

But the Court decision today not only helped keep Conestoga open, but provides a bit of legal breathing space in “post-Christian” American politics for traditionalists concerned with an emerging array of issues also of concern to Orthodox Christians, from abortion to marriage…

Today’s decision offers some partial relief for concerns about government action toward traditional faith communities in the U.S., but no salvation from an Orthodox perspective… Orthodox Christians aware of their own history would do well to do some summer reading in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago and the recently published English translation of Ivan Sokolov’s The Church of Constantinople in the Nineteenth Century, which both illustrate graphically the past sufferings of the Church in antagonistic cultures, and the salvific power of the witness of martyrs.

Thankfully we haven’t reached anywhere near that point in the U.S. yet, but despite today’s decision, the trajectory of our culture doesn’t offer grounds for optimism. The decision itself is a reflection of that trajectory, and the severe persecutions faced by many Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and Africa in particular require our prayers…

We should pray and work in support of the freedom of people like the Hahn family, owners of Conestoga, and for our own freedoms as Orthodox Americans to pass a living tradition across generations to our biological or spiritual children and grandchildren. But finally, we pray to the Lord to preserve His commonwealth…

[One] can be grateful of the liberties one enjoys, and use one’s franchise to advance the work of trustworthier politicians (and perhaps there are more of those than I have granted to this point), and pursue the discrete moral causes in which one believes. But it is good [not] to mistake the process for the proper end of political life, or to become frantically consumed by what should be only a small part of life, or to fail to see the limits and defects of our systems of government.

After all, one of the most crucial freedoms, upon which all other freedoms ultimately depend, is freedom from illusion.

Editor’s Note: Kentigern’s full article and future reflections can be found on Orthodox Christian Network’s website.

Cross Planting to Inaugurate a New Era for Chapel

Chapel Group Photo for 2014-06 TrisagionArchbishop Melchisedek will devote a significant portion of his upcoming visit to our community promoting the Chapel of the Holy Spirit and its building campaign. On Saturday, June 7, at 9 a.m., His Eminence will celebrate the Memorial Divine Liturgy of Pentecost at the building site (weather permitting) and plant a cross, officially dedicating the project to God in advance of the groundbreaking that is expected later this summer.

Following a lunch reception for all in attendance, His Eminence will host an informal question-and-answer session at the Smith home to demonstrate that the Archdiocese is firmly committed to underwriting the Chapel’s construction costs, and that the only issue remaining is the terms of financing.

Related: Special Parish Meeting Information—Sunday, June 22

The bishop’s busy weekend with us will not end there in Beavertown. Returning to State College that same evening, His Eminence will pray the Pentecost Vigil with us beginning at the special time at 5 p.m. Moving Matins to Saturday night and starting an hour earlier allows the celebration to end at the same time and will give more people an opportunity to greet our hierarch on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. in advance of the Divine Liturgy and “Kneeling” Vespers. Both day’s celebrations will end with food and fellowship: on Saturday night there will be a light dinner reception in the Parish Hall, on Sunday, the annual parish picnic at Holmes-Foster Park (hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks will be provided, bring a side or dessert to share).

Related: Full June 2014 Calendar — electronic version | print version 

On Monday at 8 a.m., His Eminence will celebrate another liturgy with us. This is an opportunity to gather around our bishop one last time, offering prayers that God would send down His Holy Spirit upon us and the Chapel on its patronal feast day.

Chapel Approved for Building Financing

Special Parish Meeting Called for Sunday, May 18

Chapel of the Holy Spirit Proposed Design

A proposed profile of a new building for the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Beavertown. Featuring an ascending nave and a large narthex that doubles as a fellowship area, it is roughly based off traditional Alaskan Orthodox designs.

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP — At its spring 2014 meeting here at the Chancery, the Diocesan Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a loan for the construction of a church building in Beavertown. According to the financing plan terms, the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh will offer the Chapel of the Holy Spirit $160,000 amortized over a 20-year term.

If approved by the May 18 special parish assembly called by the Parish Council, the financing agreement calls for a zero or negligible annual percentage rate during the first five years, calculated such that the Archdiocese breaks even on the loan servicing (but not to exceed 3%), making the Chapel’s monthly payments in the $600-800 range. After that time, a 2% and 4% surcharge will be added to the APR for years 5-10 and 10-20, respectively. The diocese can require full repayment only after the tenth or fif-teenth year,  provided the council and diocesan bishop concur. The Archdiocese will have a lien on the already-purchased lot and any structure built upon it. The Chapel will make a down payment of $40,000 from reserves and fundraising to be determined, to meet the estimated project cost of $200,000.

The sole item on the assembly’s agenda will be to authorize this loan to the parish corporation. A super-majority of two-thirds of the parish’s members is required for quorum. Should the quorum not be met, the meeting will be postponed until the following Sunday, at which the members that attend shall con-stitute a quorum. Parishioners in good standing that were registered with the parish as members last year and who have fulfilled their Lenten 2014 obligations of Confession and Communion may attend and vote. Balloting will occur at both Holy Trinity and the Chapel immediately following Liturgy.

Should you have any questions, please contact Frs. John or Basil, or Council President Chuck Beechan. Or, attend the next regular meeting of the Parish Council on Wednesday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Two Outdoor Blessings Scheduled for January 12

On the Eve of Theophany at the Great Blessing of Water, we gather and the priest, wearing full vestments, calls down God’s blessing upon the water and plunges into it the Cross to recall Christ sanctifying the Jordan. The service concludes with the blessing of the entire church and all the people by sprinkling the water, while all come and partake of this newly prepared Holy Water. This event also marks the beginning of the annual blessing of homes of the faithful.

However, there is a second blessing of water often served at Theophany. This blessing is that of a body of clean water—a river, spring, creek, or even a lake. It is conducted in the exact same way as the “inside” blessing of water, but includes a procession to the water, with the faithful led by the Cross, the Gospel, banners, and torches. The Cross is once again immersed in the water, sometimes by throwing, marking the sanctification of the water by Christ, its Creator. If the Cross is thrown, it is often retrieved with a cord, or, in more adventurous circumstances, by swimmers diving for it. (This is just fun in coastal Florida, but the thought of diving into the icy waters of a Russian lake in winter makes me turn blue simply thinking about it!)

The Chapel of the Holy Spirit has served the outdoor blessing of water for the past couple of years in Beaver Springs, sanctifying the waters of a creek that flows through the area. Doing so has not only edified our Chapel faithful, but also the surrounding community. Last year’s blessing also resulted in newspaper coverage, along with a follow-up article on the Sunday of the Cross two months later.

Encouraged by the positive reception of the outdoor blessing of water at the Chapel, Holy Trinity will also hold this outdoor blessing this upcoming Theophany. The faithful are invited to Spring Creek Park on Sunday, January 12, following the Liturgy, for a short procession and the service of sanctification. At the same time we will bless the waters in Beaver Springs, bringing the two communities of the parish together in common worship and celebration. (Spring Creek is an excellent choice, as rehabilitation efforts have resulted in a clean, thriving stream, which flows through a large portion of Centre County, from five miles east of State College to Milesburg.  That the Holy Spirit would be called down upon this creek for the sanctification of the world is fitting.)

Mark your calendars now for this special event on Sunday, January 12, and plan to celebrate our Lord’s Baptism, and the sanctification of the waters, with us at the Chapel in Snyder County or at Holy Trinity in State College.

Chapel of the Holy Spirit: Why Koinonia?

by Fr. Basil Biberdorf

And they continued in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers… So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. (Acts 2:42, 46-47)

Chapel of the Holy SpiritThis is how Luke describes the earliest Christian gatherings, as described to him by the people who actually attended them. The earliest Christians still self-identified as Jews. As a result, they regularly attended services at the Temple in Jerusalem, thereafter adjourning to private homes of the followers of Christ, perhaps in rotation based on “from house to house,” in order to partake of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist (breaking of bread) celebrated there according to a specific order of service (“the prayers”). Thus, the earliest Christian communities were defined by their practice of Holy Communion performed according to a specific liturgical rite.

However, this gathering didn’t really end there, because there was a further eating of “their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.” In other words, the meal did not end with the Body and Blood, but progressed to the physical food needed by the created bodies of the men and women gathering together. It was for koinonia (Greek for communion, pronounced “kih-noh-NEE-ah”) not only with Christ but with each other. It was already a service for the wealthier members of the community to offer their homes for the celebration of the Eucharist, as not many people had “homes” with rooms such as could accommodate a gathering. It was also the opportunity for the group to care for the poorer members, particularly widows and orphans, by providing them a much-needed meal.

Just as importantly, these gatherings punctured the walls separating the social classes of the Roman world. The eating of a meal was intimate. Those dining came together in close quarters, and hosts didn’t dine with just anyone. (Consider the indignation of Christ’s enemies in Luke 15:2 and Mark 2:16.) This meal was different. The rich host not only gave food to the poor, but invited them into the home, along with the merchants (which were not terribly respected), butchers, weavers, and other believers. They came together not in some kind of Christian “commune,” but because they were “in one body,” in recognition of their humanity regardless of whether they were slaves or free men, Jews or not (1 Cor. 12:12-13).

This was a time to be together regardless of the way of life each of them experienced in other times. Indeed, without such a gathering, how would any of them have any perspective on the lives as lived by their Christian brethren? We know it is true for us in our own time as well.

In short, the koinonia of those first century believers was nothing but the expression of what it meant to be Christians. Which brings us to our current situation, where, following the Divine Liturgy, we are often rather focused on returning to our daily activities, even on Sunday. In so doing, we often break the fullness of our koinonia too quickly.

Those of us familiar with our Chapel practice are aware of the potluck meal that follows our Sunday gatherings. Some may even find it odd, wondering, “You do that every Sunday?” Well, yes, and it is a highlight for most who come. It is an opportunity to sit down for a few minutes to break more bread and to rejoice in the “horizontal” communion we have with each other, having received the “vertical” Communion that comes from Christ. It is an opportunity to hear of the joys and sorrows of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can hear news directly, without risk of gossip.

Each of you is encouraged to pray with us at the Chapel, and to join us afterward for our meal. I also extend a special invitation to you to join us on July 7 for our annual “Close to Independence Day” gathering. After the Divine Liturgy that Sunday, we will be going to the Tall Timbers natural area near Troxelville (from State Route 235, take Timber Road and Swift Run Roads into the park), for a nice afternoon among trees and streams, and with plenty of food and fellowship. We are also organizing a short hike this year. It’s cool under the trees, even on a hot day.

Bring a change of attire, plus shoes for hiking (if you want to join in), and “getting wet clothes” (including water shoes or flip-flops) for wading. Bring some folding chairs, too, as you’ll want to sit, relax, and enjoy the summer afternoon.