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“Receiving the OCA Church Planting Grant has made it possible for me to devote the time and energy necessary for the development of our mission and strengthening its relationship to the wider community,” said Archpriest Mikel Bock, Priest-in-Charge of Saint Juvenaly Mission, Wasilla, AK in the fall of 2017.
Since that time, the mission has continued to experience spiritual, material and numerical growth.
“One of the blessings of receiving the Grant is that during the Great Fast this year, we were able to celebrate an intense cycle of services, which were well attended,” said Father Mikel. “During Holy Week and Bright Week, services were celebrated daily as we journeyed with Christ to the Cross and our Lord’s Resurrection. And then on Pascha, after spending 48 days fasting, we broke the fast after the blessing of the baskets, and again after Paschal Vespers, as most of our faithful gathered at a local restaurant for a meal and fellowship.”
The mission’s faithful likewise joined together in almsgiving during the Lenten season, collecting funds to assist a less fortunate family in the Wasilla area—even as they put the “finishing touches” on their recently completed church building.
“One of the major projects we’ve recently completed was the installation of a cupola on top of the church building,” said Father Mikel. “It took a few years of fundraising to get the cupola purchased and shipped to the church this past February. The cupola is very visible and can be seen a ways off. The fundraising effort was not only a way to underwrite the costs associated with completing the church, but served to raise our visibility in the community.”
As a result of the Grant, Father Mikel also was able to attend a week-long retreat for the clergy of the Diocese of Alaska in April.
“There are always tasks unfolding before us that we must deal with,” said Father Mikel, who looks forward to Saint Juvenaly Mission’s “graduation” from the Planting Grant program at the end of 2018. “Some are related to the church building itself, others to the life of the parish and the greater Wasilla community, and still others to the development of programs and ministries to benefit the Church. In pursuing all of these tasks, we see how God’s hand is guiding us.”
Follow the growth of Saint Juvenaly Mission online.
The Church Planting Grant Program is made possible in part due to the generous support of the Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America. See what you can make possible by becoming a Steward today!