Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I’d like to announce that a new worship space has been created at St. Anna’s. Well, sort of.
Our monthly Paraklesis to the Holy Ancestor of Christ, our Matron St. Anna was held yesterday morning. Anyone who has been around the church the past week has seen that there’s been a sharp escalation in construction activity. While Phase II of construction is complete, minus finishing details, the entire east wall of the building has been demolished and removed. And the north wall of the church (or the south wall of the Sunday School Hallway) has already been erected. I could not believe the progress that was made in five short days.
But when we went into the church to pray the Paraklesis, a couple things were also at play. Once again, major dust was kicked up into the sanctuary due to all of the dismantled walls. And the electrician was drilling through an exterior wall to install new fire protection strobes. This young man had a job to do, and I did not want to send him away while we prayed. This project is “on the clock” with some very specific deadlines at this point. So we were blessed with an opportunity to be creative.
Forever in our parish history, we will record the first prayer service in new space was in the Bookstore! Even though there were only four of us in attendance, it was so special and intimately powerful. The small group sang out, chanting the service. The sounds of construction equipment, saws, blaring Latin music (always upbeat and fun), and the flurry of activity outside the windows, accompanied us in our prayer. They were not distractions, but background accompaniment in celebration of the moment. We honored our Matron Saint for her unique ministry in history, her unique relationship with the Christ, and her unique role in our lives. All in a setting that was actively engaged in furthering her name and influence within our broader community.
It was just such a blessing to have a clean, enclosed and dignified space in the midst of chaos.
Changes are happening at a rapid pace at this point, but our mission of prayer and service will continue through the dust, debris, noise and confusion.
Please be aware that beginning tomorrow, post-Liturgy fellowship will take place out on our new, north patio – just steps out of the building. You will be surprised at how perfectly everything has been set up for the purpose of us being together. Never underestimate our ability to wire and plum a commercial coffee maker to the exterior of a building. It can be done!
Please be aware of a couple more milestones on the near horizon:
Next week, the footings for the new steel in sanctuary will be prepared. We are basically engineering a fortified cage in the middle of the building to accommodate the church design. Included in this new structure, will be a ceiling beam that will travers the length of the new worship space from east to west. In the next couple of Sundays, we will make it available to be signed by the parishioners of St. Anna’s before it is raised up. Your personal prayer, message or simple signature will part of our permanent structure.
I initially wanted to have the beam brought into the church for a grand and prayerful spectacle. I got my way with bells and crosses…but I suppose a huge beam was a bit too large of an ask.
So, we’ll go outside, Sharpies in hand, and enjoy a moment in the sun. More details to follow when we have the day secured.
Lastly, and though this is a month away, I want to announce from now that on the occasion of our Parish Feast Day, His Grace Bishop Constantine of Sassima will be with us on the evening of Saturday, July 22nd, and for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 23rd. Our Annual Name Day Picnic will take place on that Saturday in celebration of His Grace’s visit. Again, more details to follow, but please make plans to be with us the weekend before the Feast of St. Anna.
With Much Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony Savas