Planted as a “mission station” in May 2011 and granted mission status in August 2012, the community has flourished under Father John’s leadership, in part due to the Church Planting Grant offered by the Orthodox Church in America. In the fall of 2018, the Holy Synod of Bishops renewed the mission’s grant for its second year.
“Great Vespers for the feast was followed by a joyous communal dinner at which we read from the testimonies of Saint Tikhon of Moscow and others, written following Saint John’s death,” said Father John. “The following morning the Divine Liturgy was celebrated with joy and thanksgiving to God for the witness and ongoing intercessions of our heavenly patron.”
Saint John was responsible for building Chicago’s historic Holy Trinity Cathedral and for planting several other communities in such diverse locations as Streator, IL; Buffalo, NY; and Hartshorne, OK before he returned to Russia in 1907. Ten years later, he became the first clergyman to be martyred at the outset of the Russian Revolution.
“The entire celebration was marked by a deep sense of joy, and several persons commented that the services and the dinner had a paschal character,” Father John added. “Through the prayers of Saint John, may we all be strengthened to bear witness through our lives and deeds to the Kingdom of God!”
Qualifying Church Planting Grant missions receive grants—$24,000.00 for the first year, $20,000.00 for the second year, and $16,000.00 for the third year—which must be matched by mission faithful for the purpose of supporting the full-time ministries and missionary outreach of their assigned priests. Granted missions pursue the development of robust stewardship plans to ensure their ongoing growth after they “graduate” from the Planting Grant program.