UPDATE (May 26, 2020): With Centre County moving to the Green Phase of Reopening on Friday, May 29, the parish’s full liturgical schedule resumes Saturday, May 30, with heightened cleaning, a reduction in the Nave’s capacity, and other temporary measures.
Because we have been asked to stay home by our civil and ecclesiastical authorities through at least May 8, the following resources are available so Holy Trinity Orthodox Church can continue its mission to Build Up the Church Beyond the Parish, even when the building is closed.
To stay connected by prayer with your parish family, an updated list of all current and prospective members of Holy Trinity and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit—including their spouses and children—is now available. The list also contains names of departed parishioners (newly-departed and historical), current members of the armed forces, and those who have asked the parish to pray for them.
If you are in need of immediate pastoral assistance (sickness or death of a loved one), or financial assistance through Matthew 25, the Parish Office is remotely open 24 hours a day by calling (814) 231-2855. For non-emergencies, you may email/text firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palms will be blessed at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church on Lazarus Saturday morning (April 11) and will be available for pickup at the weekly “Open House” (for personal prayer and meditation) that afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Parishioners in a high-risk category—those over 65, those with serious medical conditions, those with any symptoms of illness of any kind, and those with family/household members who in the past 15 days have been with COVID-19 patients or high-risk individuals—should and may arrange contactless delivery of blessed palms through the Parish Office.
His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek has issued a directive that effective immediately all parishes of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania are to immediately cease all services, activities, social gatherings, etc. with the exception of the following:
Each parish priest may open his church on the coming two Saturday afternoons (March 21 and March 28) for two to three hours of his choosing for the faithful to come and offer a private prayer and light candles. While we are not encouraging people to do this in light of the governmental guidelines, it is realized some people will gain much strength from this visit. It is imperative that people in high-risk categories (i.e., senior citizens/individuals with on-going health problems/people not feeling well currently) not consider this act. Individuals are reminded to maintain “social distancing” during this visit and avoid interacting with large numbers of people.
Holy Trinity’s “open houses” as described above are 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday and next.
His Eminence’s directives go on to say:
Except for so-called “death-bed confessions,” confessions are suspended until this period of time has concluded. (This, of course, does not preclude informal spiritual discussions between our priests and our parish penitents via the phone and emails…)
You can reach the parish’s clergy through the Parish Office—814-231-2855 (phone); email@example.com (text/email)—which remains open with as regular hours as possible should a need arise in our parish family or the broader community. While routine pastoral visits are to cease per His Eminence’s directives, our clergy, following proper personal safety protocols, are still available to you to respond to any emergency situation requiring immediate pastoral attention.
Attached is a service that can be prayed by the faithful of the Archdiocese regularly in front of their prayer corners concerning this virus. The Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, while closed to visitors during this period as per Holy Synod directives concerning all OCA monasteries, will probably continue to live-stream the monastery’s services; their web address for more info is: orthodoxmonasteryellwoodcity.org.
The work of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church continues even though we cannot gather as Christ’s people. With Fr. Ignatius’ blessing Matthew 25 met virtually earlier today with the deacons to postpone the Lion’s Pantry Drive and Soup-er Sunday to the Sundays of October, but will continue to offer immediate assistance to the State College Food Bank and other charities. We will have more on this in letters to the parish and in the April Trisagion, but in the meantime, please remember the parish through your stewardship if you are able.
UPDATE (May 26, 2020): With Centre County moving to the Green Phase of Reopening on May 29, 2020, the parish’s regular worship schedule will resume with Great Vespers on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at 6 p.m.
In addition to the measures put in place in March 2020 (see the ORIGINAL POST below), the following additional measures are temporarily being enacted to allow all to participate in the liturgical life of the parish (parishioners and visitors alike) according to their personal consciences and preparedness:
Even though religious organizations in Pennsylvania are technically exempt from the Governor’s mandates, Holy Trinity will continue to not only practice the heightened sanitation protocols set forth immediately before the closure (see below), but also ask parishioners and visitors to voluntarily keep the church at 50% of declared occupancy or 74 persons.
Volunteer greeters will keep the current attendance constantly updated and posted on the doors of the Nave. Should the number exceed you or your family’s comfort level, you may opt to view the liturgy from outside the church, from the Parish Hall, or from the Lower Level or Atty Lounge areas of Trinity House via closed-circuit television (a scannable link will be posted on the doors to the church if you would like to view the service on a mobile device on parish grounds or in your vehicles); Holy Communion will be brought to these areas at the appointed time by a deacon.
So all are able to make “a sacrifice of praise” (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom) Sunday Typika services will continue to be available. To ensure Communion is available to all parishioners who have prepared themselves through prayer, fasting, and recent confession, Fr. Ignatius will distribute the Eucharist by appointment to those unable to physically attend on Sundays (for whatever reason). This will be done primarily at the church throughout the week, using PPE upon request.
The weekly bulletin will be posted online and available to download to your mobile device via a scannable QR code. (Yes, Father is allowing you to use your phones and tablets in church for holy purposes only! 😇). Printed bulletins will be placed in the tract rack, located on the south wall of the Narthex.
Finally, because we will be worshipping in several locations (at home, the Parish Hall, Trinity House, on church grounds, etc.), Coffee (Fellowship) Hour will be discontinued until further notice. The parish will also schedule Virtual Coffee Hours from time to time.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Church Office at (814) 231-2855. Our clergy and ministry leaders are here to serve you. Thank you to all who kept vigil at home during the pandemic, allowing the parish’s mission to continue unabated.Read more here.
ORIGINAL POST (March 13, 2020): In accordance with guidelines released Friday, March 13 by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, Fr. Ignatius updated parishioners, guests, and visitors on measures now in place to ensure that the parish continues praying for the health and salvation of the world, while at the same time adopts common-sense, temporary precautions to limit the spread of infectious disease.
The worship schedule remains unchanged and all faithful not in a high-risk category are encouraged to offer thanksgiving to our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, and receive His Holy Mysteries. However, it is imperative that anyone who exhibits symptoms of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (a.k.a. COVID-19)—fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.—self-quarantine for fourteen days. Father also fervently asks you to seek medical assistance and let a member of the clergy know if this is the case so that they may provide you pastoral support and visitation to the furthest extent possible.
There will be no changes to the way Holy Communion is administered, however, the parish is adopting the following changes through at least the end of March 2020 (in addition to the aforementioned guidelines mentioned above):
Antidoron—the blessed, but not consecrated, holy bread taken to cleanse one’s palate after receiving Holy Communion—will be cut and distributed by one healthy adult only, who has prepared himself according to the parish’s standard practice (washing of hands and application of hand sanitizer); as opposed to the open bowls on the sides of the church.
To minimize the amount of surfaces touched, our Greeters will assist by opening the main doors of the church for you, and the doors leading into the Nave will remain open for the entire service. (To create a prayerful atmosphere for all, parents with young children are asked to give them their necessary breaks in the Nursery, which is located at the east end of the Parish Hall; audio from the service is piped in.).
Fr. Ignatius can bless you over the head with the Cross at the conclusion of each service, as opposed to the traditional hand blessing. The veneration icons will remain in place—and they will continue to be cleaned as usual—but you may reverence them by simply bowing before them, if you so choose.
Sunday School will resume March 15 and remain in session during this time, but teachers will sanitize all classroom surfaces before the start of class.
Bagel service has been discontinued until at least Sunday, April 5, and the rest of Coffee Hour will be scaled back to include only coffee and items that are served by hosts wearing gloves; there will not be an open table in the Parish Hall for the time being. (Because Soup-er Sunday has always been served in this manner, the Sunday, March 29 fundraiser luncheon is still on! Parents and teachers will take extra care to ensure our youth food preparers and hosts take all the appropriate precautions.)
Likewise, at each of the remaining Wednesday Lenten Potlucks, please place your covered food in the kitchen before the Presanctified Liturgy to be served by volunteers cafeteria-style. If you are interested in assisting with this task, please let Deacon Alex know.
Please join your fellow clergy and all members of the parish in praying for all those afflicted with and adversely impacted by COVID-19. Thank you for your continued stewardship of the parish—including the Matthew 25 Ministry (student food insecurity will remain a problem after the current crisis abates)—so we can continue ministering to the least among us and Building Up the Church Beyond Our Parish.
Now that the parish has a rector, Holy Trinity and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit is updating the online and print directories for 2020. Our goal is for all individuals and families in the parish to be included.
Like three years ago, photography will be professionally done through Lifetouch. All participants will get a free copy of the directory along with an 8” x 10” portrait. Photography will take place in the Parish Hall the Thursday and Friday of Cheesefare Week, February 27-28, 2020. Afternoon and evening sessions are available on a first come, first served basis. Appointments are required.
Mark your calendars: All-parish photographs take place after the Divine Liturgy on Forgiveness (Cheesefare) Sunday, March 1, 2020.
For your convenience, all photography will take place in the Parish Hall. A variety of shots will be taken: One pose will be selected for the 2020 Parish Directory and you will receive a complimentary 8″ x 10″ for you to keep in appreciation for your time. Participants will have the opportunity to buy portraits on the day of your session. No purchase is necessary—you are no obligation to order additional prints. Lifetouch’s portrait price lists are available in the church office for those who wish to review them prior to their portrait reservation.
Please take advantage of this opportunity to be professionally photographed. To schedule a time for you and/or your family, click here. You may also sign up in the Narthex following each Sunday Divine Liturgy in February or call the church office at (814) 231-2855 for assistance.
After the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek revealed his choice for the next rector of the parish—the Rev. Priest Ignatius Hunter.
Father Ignatius joins us via of St. Innocent Mission in Napakiak, Alaska and St. Michael’s Church in Mount Carmel, PA, where he lived with his wife, Matushka Seraphima, and two children, Daniel and Elizabeth. He holds bachelor degrees in Religion, History, and General Economics from Lycoming College and master degrees from Asbury Theological Seminary, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and the University of Alaska. Father Ignatius officially begins February 1, at which point Fr. David and Dn. Alexander’s terms as Interim Priest and Acting Administrator, respectively, will end. Father David will resume his role at Holy Trinity as Associate Rector—keeping his regular office hours in State College through the month of February to assist Fr. Ignatius in the transition—and remain Priest-in-Charge at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Deacon Alexander will remain on staff full-time with a title and roles to be determined.
May God grant Fr. Ignatius, Mka. Seraphima, and his entire family many years!
The parish met in both locations yesterday to authorize the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Beavertown to enter into a new $150,000 mortgage (0% APR for 25 years) with the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania. The loan, which was pre-approved by the Diocesan Council and included in the 2020 budget passed last November, will pay off the Chapel’s existing $62,500 mortgage. The remaining balance will be used toward a 12- by 24-foot addition on the east end of the building to house the altar. When construction is complete this Spring, the community will have a dedicated sanctuary and nave, and 50% more space in which to worship.