WasilaBlessing the stream on the mission’s property on the Great Feast of Theophany.

Saint Juvenaly and His Companion Mission, Wasilla, AK, recently was awarded a second-year Church Planting Grant from the Orthodox Church in America.

“It has been a great help for our mission to receive this grant,” said Archpriest Mikel Bock, Priest-in-Charge, who has been a part of other missions that started with little and has witnessed how through consistent prayer and work they were able to grow.  “This grant helps relieve some of the financial worries of the priest, so that more focus can be put into the mission, and all missions have their ups and downs.”

WasilaFr. David Rucker conducts a mission seminar at St. Juvenaly Mission.

And Saint Juvenaly’s, like all missions, has had its ups and downs, Father Mikel added.

“When Saint Juvenaly’s was planted, it was said that anyone can build a building, but building a church begins inside each and every one of us,” Father Mikel continued.  “The commitment that we make to Christ is to carry the message of the Gospel to as many as we can throughout our community—this is how a church grows.  This same commitment to Christ and His church is what gets us through the ups and downs that take place.”

Father Mikel is quick to add that “this commitment we make also has to be long term, because it is very easy on the downside to get discouraged.  We have to remember that if we are fulfilling Christ’s will, He will provide.

WasilaFaithful receive Communion during Vesperal Liturgy on Great and Holy Saturday 2017.

“Because of seasonal work, some months’ finances are good, while others not so good, but the Planting Grant offers the ability to focus on the work of the church, which helps the church become more stable and grow,” Father Mikel continued.  “Many outreach programs have been established already, but the goal is to be more prominent in aiding those who are in need, whether the sick, less fortunate, or people in prison.”

Father Mikel noted that “one of the good things about having our own building is that we are able to hold services often.  Throughout the year, we celebrate services for all the major and minor feasts, as well as for many of the saints’ commemorations, which helps bring the people together more often.  We are fortunate to have a stream on the back of the property, with a warm spring, which is ideal for Theophany, no matter how cold it gets.”

As with all growing mission communities, the faithful of Saint Juvenaly’s anticipate ongoing work and ministry, from the spiritual to the physical.

WasilaFaithful celebrate Holy Pascha.

“The Planting Grant enables me to be available for the building up of the community, whether it be through the celebration of services and sacraments or for counseling, visits and talks,” Father Mikel said.  “We visit the men’s prison—an hour and a half drive—three to five times every month, in addition to the women’s prison.  And then there are always those things that need to be done around the church.  The planting Grant has been a great help, and will continue to be a help in bringing the faith to the Wasilla area.”

Follow the growth of Saint Juvenaly Mission on-line.