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Chapel Purchases Land in Beavertown

Through the grace of God and the faithful support of the members of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, the purchase of the land at Walnut and Kern Streets in Beavertown was completed this morning, August 16!

Thank you to all who have supported this effort, spiritually and financially, and to those who continue to labor with us as we make our plans for the best possible use of this property.

Please include a prayer of thanksgiving for this blessing in your daily prayers. Thanks again for your efforts, past and present.

– Fr. Basil

The True Beauty of Orthodox Architecture

by Fr. Basil Biberdorf

Designer Andrew Gould explains the intricacies of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Read more about the seminar at the St. Vladimir's Seminary website. (Photo credit: Deborah Belonick.)

At the end of June, a group of men from Holy Trinity went to a presentation on Orthodox architecture at the St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York. The presentation was led by Mr. Andrew Gould, an Orthodox designer of church buildings and furnishings. Learn more about Mr. Gould Attending in anticipation of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit’s building of a church in Snyder County, we went without knowing entirely what to expect.

Mr. Gould’s presentation was an extended virtual tour of Orthodox churches from antiquity to the modern day. There was no one shape or size that was more “right” than the others. Each one was a product of faith, history, and the needs of the community and place. Whether marble, masonry, stucco, or wood, each one reflected the best that the faithful could give. Mr. Gould showed the attention that was given even to the small details found in all of his examples: The idea that one would create a makeshift or patchwork structure just to get by was notably absent in all of them.

In listening to the presentation, I couldn’t help but recall the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness: “the children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done” (cf. Ex. 3:4-29).

In our time, we often marvel at the construction of Orthodox churches in the old world, and even those constructed decades ago here in North America. We wonder how we could ever hope to construct something similarly enduring and beautiful in this early 21st-century America. Land is ever more expensive, especially in areas with growing populations. Building materials cost more, too. The tradesmen and artisans who do the work must charge more today than they did “back then.” Numerous regulations lead to still more expense. The dollar signs overwhelm us.

In spite of this we must consider our own situation. We must also ask ourselves about our own family incomes relative to those of the faithful who built so many of the beautiful Orthodox churches, large and small, here in America in the past two centuries. How did they build while having so little in comparison, without an emperor or government to help, and lacking so many of our “essentials”?

Mr. Gould’s presentation led all of us to think about these things, but he cautioned that beauty need not be extravagant or excessively expensive. Rather, true beauty comes from a structure and adornment that reflect the genuine self-giving and care of a prayerful and believing Orthodox community. Our Chapel of the Holy Spirit will, of course, be considering all of this very soon. Our prayer should be that our hearts, like those of the Israelites, would be stirred for the proclamation of Christ’s Gospel in word and deed as well as beauty and grace.

All-Parish Meeting Scheduled for July 31

There will be a special called meeting of the entire parish of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church on Sunday, July 31 following the Divine Liturgy to discuss and approve the purchase of a 0.55-acre parcel of land in Beavertown, Snyder County, Pennsylvania, provided all conditions of the contract have been met and sufficient funds have been raised or pledged.

1. A majority of registered parish members, age 18 and over, is required for quorum. Voters must have fulfilled their Lenten obligations of Confession and Holy Communion to participate.

2. Two-thirds (2/3) of those attending and voting must vote in the affirmative to approve this purchase.

3. Should a quorum not be present, the meeting shall be adjourned until Sunday, August 7, at which time those members present and voting shall constitute a quorum, a two-thirds vote in the affirmative being required to purchase.

4. Title will be held in trust for the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania, by Holy Trinity Parish Corporation. “Chapel of the Holy Spirit” is a legal alias of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.

— Fr. John Reeves, Rector, and the Holy Trinity Parish Council

Team from Chapel to Attend “Boot Camp”

BINGHAMTON, NY – To ensure that the emerging mission community in Beavertown has a focused vision for outreach to Snyder County, a selected group from the Chapel of the Holy Spirit news  will attend an intensive church growth and evangelism workshop here on August 1-3. In addition to developing a working plan for the future, team members will also learn about the many factors that affect church health from a variety of experts, including Fr. Jonathan Ivanoff, Holy Trinity’s Natural Church Development coach, Fr. Sergius Halvrosen, Director of Field Education at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and Fr. Alexander Atty, Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary.

July is “Chapel of the Holy Spirit Month”

All this month, we are featuring the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (CHS), as this Snyder County mission organization prepares to purchase land in Beavertown and enter the next stage of its development.

We invite you to become involved in outreach by: catching up on some of the latest news about the Chapel,helping us raise funds to buy the half-acre lot, attending the all-parish meeting at Holy Trinity on July 31 to discuss and approve its purchase, and checking the progress at its new Web site, holyspirit-oca.org.

Join us in Supporting the Chapel

CHS Choir

The Chapel’s choir completely fills the back of their current worship space making finding a new home more necessary.

There’s now even more good news about spreading the Good News in Snyder County!

Last month, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit made an offer on a half-acre parcel of land in Beavertown. It was everything we were looking for: central to our mission field, attractive, easily accessible, visible, with plenty of street parking. Our offer of $40,000 was accepted (the asking price was $56,000), and we now have 90 days to close.

Already about $24,000 has been saved since the Chapel first started earmarking funds in April of 2008, a few months after the community’s first reader’s service. Last month, Chapel members immediately gave another $9,200, leaving us only $7,000 shy of the total we will need (not including closing costs).

Here is how you can help: Prayerfully consider a one-time donation/pledge to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit Building Fund to help us raise the remaining funds.

The entire month of July is being dedicated as “Chapel of the Holy Spirit Month” at Holy Trinity. Each Sunday a special offering will be taken to receive your gifts toward this work. We would really hate for this deal to fall through. Can we count on your support?

Think about it: we can make this happen by God’s Grace if only:

  • one (1) donor gives $1,500,
  • two (2) donors give $1,000 each,
  • four (4) donors give $500 each,
  • eight (8) donors give $250 each,
  • ten (10) donors give $100 each, and
  • twenty (20) donors give $50 each.

This would give us more than enough to meet the sale price and the costs of closing. Of course, each person’s circumstances are different, and anything you can donate helps our cause. If need be, your offering may even be made in six installments, one per month through the year’s end.

We pray God’s blessings on you and earnestly hope that you will join us in spirit and in prayer in this undertaking. To give, simply detach the enclosed form in the July Trisagion Download now and return it (and your check, if possible). Specify “Chapel of the Holy Spirit Building Fund” in the memo line.

Thank you in advance!

– Fr. Basil and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit Community

* August 2, 2011 Update: We have reached our initial goal of $40,000 plus closing costs. Thank you for your generosity!

Parishioners to Attend Architecture Seminar

On, Saturday, June 25, Andrew Gould, well-known for his design of several Orthodox churches, will present an overview of the history and development of church architecture at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. To further their own journey towards the construction of a new temple in Snyder County, Chapel of the Holy Sprit faithful will join Holy Trinity members in taking a weekend retreat to the seminary, attending the daylong seminar and worshipping on campus.

Participants will depart from Holy Trinity at 4 a.m. on Saturday, stopping in Beaverton at 5:15 a.m. before heading to New York. The group will then attend the two-part presentation focusing on traditional Byzantine architecture and its practicality in American culture today, examining church aesthetics, iconography, and furnishings. It culminates with a discussion geared to help attendees devise solutions for designing and decorating an Orthodox church today. The day will end with Vespers, dinner, and fellowship. Before arriving home late Sunday afternoon, the group will also attend the Divine Liturgy together at St. Vladimir’s.

This trip is open to everyone. Holy Trinity will sponsor transportation, registration, and overnight accommodations. Travellers will be responsible for meals, except Saturday lunch, which is included. Register by June 11 by contacting Dn. Alexander.

 

New Arrival at Holy Trinity

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Heidi Elizabeth Wagner, newborn daughter of Andre and Megan Wagner! She was born April 30 at 1:22 p.m., weighing 7 lbs., 2 oz., and measuring 17.5 inches tall. Many years!

Enthusiasm Builds in Beavertown

by Fr. Basil Biberdorf

One of the oldest churches in America—and the world—has finally reached into rural Snyder County.

The Chapel of the Holy Spirit Choir sings the Divine Liturgy at their current location, 350 Old Orchard Road in Beavertown.

So began an article in Snyder County’s local newspaper, The Daily Item, last month. (Copies are posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall.) The reporter, having spoken with Reader David Smith, Michael and Beth Mitchell, Fr. John, and me, described the enthusiasm accompanying the establishment of an Orthodox Christian community in an area that has never (to our knowledge, anyway) had one before.

Indeed, the excitement is building, for, as the article explains, the faithful at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit hope to have a real Orthodox temple within a year. While several options are currently under consideration, the Chapel community, with the support of the Holy Trinity Parish Council, has decided to make an offer for a property in Beavertown near to where we currently hold services.

The parcel is about .55 acres in size, located in the borough of Beavertown (with municipal water and sewer), only one block off U.S. Hwy. 522 [with] large amounts of street parking in the immediate vicinity. With an all-cash offer, it is our hope that we could begin planning for construction immediately after closing the sale.

Is this “the one”? We don’t know; only God does. The seller must first accept our offer. If he does, then our hard work really begins…

The possibility that a permanent Orthodox presence would be realized in Snyder County this year is an exciting one. Even if this particular opportunity is not the one our gracious God has in mind for us, we know He has plans.

I ask each of you here at Holy Trinity to undertake the spiritual work of prayer in support of this outreach you yourselves planted. May God bless all of us as we devote ourselves to sharing the abundance of salvation in Christ with those who’ve not yet had the chance to hear about it in Snyder County.

New Arrival at Holy Trinity

We are pleased to announce the arrival of George Thomas Biberdorf, newborn son of Fr. Basil and Mat. Dea.  He was born Monday, April 11 weighing 8 lbs. 11 oz. Many years!