We took a remarkable step this past Sunday, voting with no dissent (and one abstention) to purchase property for our Snyder County Outreach, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. It was an affirmation of a core value we have had since our inception: we do not exist merely to minister to ourselves and the immediate community: Our church exists to build up the Church beyond our parish.
Your overwhelming vote of confidence for our Beavertown brethren allows the Chapel to close on a 0.55-acre tract of land that will become an active base of ministry in due time. Strategic planning is already underway to expand outreach opportunities in order to facilitate construction of a permanent building. In fact, earlier this week, on the very day a team from the Chapel completed an intensive two-day church planting workshop, Holy Trinity surpassed its $9,000 fundraising goal. When added to offerings from the Chapel proper, these generous donations ensure that enough money is available for both the land and closing costs (approximately $42,000 in all), while keep-ing funds in reserve for future expenses.
The Chapel forms an integral part of Holy Trinity’s life, providing sacramental ministry for the over ten percent of our parish that lives as far away as Lewisburg and Selinsgrove. In England, such an arrangement would be known as a chapel-of-ease, providing pastoral care and service to people living at some distance from the parish church.
Currently, the Chapel meets in the home of Dave and Brenda Smith in Beavertown, but space has become a problem attempting to accommodate more worshippers. Attendance averages between 25 and 30 on the Sundays when the Divine Liturgy is held.
Since 2009, Fr. Basil has been serving the Chapel as priest-in-charge, increasing services from only one vespers per month to two liturgies and two vespers per month. Additional services are forecast for the not distant future.
Special thanks to everyone who have contributed so sacrificially to this effort, as well as to those State College residents who take turns traveling to help the Chapel learn all the “ins-and-outs” of Orthodox liturgical life, especially Dr. Bob Roberts and members of the Holy Trinity Choir.
— Fr. John