Randolph, NJ:  Holy Trinity Church to honor Choir Director for 50 years of service

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Carol Wetmore

On Sunday, May 6, 2018, Priest David Fox and the faithful of Holy Trinity Church, Randolph, NJ will honor Choir Director Carol Wetmore as she marks the 50th anniversary of her service to the parish.  The celebration will begin with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, at which His Eminence, Archbishop Michael will preside.  An anniversary banquet will follow at the Meadow Wood Manor.  [Reservations may be made by contacting Suzette Eremin at suzseremin@aol.com.]

When Carol first came to Holy Trinity Church on the Sunday after Pascha—April 28, 1968—the parish was still in its infancy, meeting at Knox Hall at the First Presbyterian Church in Dover, NJ.  While she possessed considerable musical training, her Protestant upbringing did not quite prepare her for Orthodox Liturgical practices, but through her hard work and with the love and support of Archpriest George Hasenecz, now retired, and the Holy Trinity community, she is today recognized within the Diocese of New York and New Jersey and the Orthodox Church in America as a leader in introducing the wealth of Orthodox musical traditions at the parish level.

Carol was born into a family with extensive musical talent.  Both her father and uncle led orchestras in the 1920s, while another uncle was a prominent choirmaster at a number of Morristown, NJ churches.  Several of her cousins attended full-time choir schools in New York City and went on to serve as soloists, choir directors, and organists throughout the region.  Her sister, Nancie Nichols, was a noted soloist in many choirs.  Carol graduated from Duke University with a degree in English (with Honors) and Music.  She went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Music from Rutgers University.

Carol has served as a singer, director, and Board member for many choral organizations, including the Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir, for which she also served as President.  She co-chairs the Diocese of New York and New Jersey’s Commission on Liturgical Music and has personally organized many music workshops across the Diocese.

Professionally, Carol worked for the US Army at Picatinny Arsenal as a Human Resources Manager for 31 years.  During this time, she earned a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University, which led to her “next career”—providing hospice counseling to patients and families.

In honor of Carol’s 50 years of faithful service, the parish will be dedicating a new bell tower in her honor.  Carol was personally responsible for providing Holy Trinity Church with its first bell, salvaged from a decommissioned Navy ship, the USS Salamonie, in 1971.  She and her husband, Alfred (Aleksei), also led the efforts to purchase the parish’s current tuned bells.

May God grant Carol many years on this monumental occasion in her life and the life of Holy Trinity Church.

Wilkes-Barre, PA:  Fr. David Shewczyk honored by parish, seminary upon retirement

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On Sunday, January 28, 2018, the faithful of Holy Trinity Church, Wilkes-Barre, PA honored their long-time Pastor, Archpriest David Shweczyk, who retired after 22 years of service to the parish.

His Eminence, Archbishop Mark of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, presided at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, together with His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska.  Concelebrating were Archpriest Steven Voytovich, Dean of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA, and Archpriest Joseph Martin, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Board Member and retired Pastor of Wilkes-Barre’s Holy Resurrection Cathedral.  The cathedral’s Protodeacon Sergei Kapral also served.

Following the Divine Liturgy, Father David and Matushka Sharon were honored at a testimonial dinner.  Gregory Polk, Holy Trinity Church Choir Director, served as Toastmaster.  During the dinner, Father David joined the parish choir in singing the Great Prokeimenon, as his tenor voice is as strong as ever.  Matushka Sharon also was recognized with a bouquet of flowers for her active role in parish life, in addition to her ministry as a nurse.  Their sons Nicholas and Timothy also took part in the celebration.

In addition to his parish ministry, Father David served as Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Theology at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, a position he has held since 1989.  A 1975 graduate of Saint Tikhon’s, he also holds degrees from Siena College (Bachelor of Arts in Psychology) and Marywood University (Master of Arts in Counseling).  He has served as the seminary’s Assistant Director of Field Education and liaison to Wayne Memorial Hospital and Wayne Woodlands Manor, and has codirected the seminary’s annual Integrative Seminar.

The seminary community also honored Father David and Matushka Sharon at a dinner on Monday, January 15, at which time he was presented with a jeweled cross.

In retirement, Father David and Matushka Sharon will reside in Myrtle Beach, SC.  May God grant them many years!

Toronto, ON, Canada:  Archbishop Irénée presides at Pan-Orthodox Vespers

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Archbishop Irénée.

At the invitation of the Orthodox Clergy Fellowship of the Greater Toronto Area, His Eminence, Archbishop Irénée of Ottawa and Canada presided at the annual Toronto Pan-Orthodox Vespers for the Feast of Orthodoxy on Sunday, February 25, 2018.  The service was celebrated in the chapel of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, hosted by the Orthodox School of Theology at Trinity College, a graduate theological school offering MTS and MDiv degrees to prepare clergy and lay people for service in the Orthodox Church in Canada.

Joining the school’s Codirector, Archpriest Geoffrey Ready, were 23 priests and two deacons.  Several choirs — from the Orthodox Church in America, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church, in addition to cantors from the Greek and Romanian traditions — sang the responses and contributed to a beautiful and prayerful service.  More than 220 people were in attendance, filling the chapel to capacity.

Following the service, Father Geoffrey spoke about the work of the Orthodox School of Theology, as well as Orthodox campus ministry and Orthodox Christian Fellowship at the University of Toronto.  A collection was taken to support the work of OCF.