Fr. John Fenton of Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church (AWRV) in Detroit, Michigan, sent out this e-mail this afternoon:
Yesterday afternoon, despite slippery roads and typical Michigan weather, negotiations for the purchase of a church home for Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church were successfully concluded. Fr. John Fenton, priest at Holy Incarnation, signed the closing documents. Witnessing the closing were David Lichtenstein, the Holy Incarnation Parish Council Chairman, and Allen Runkis, the Holy Incarnation Treasurer.
The closing culminated a year-long search for Holy Incarnation's own building, and met a goal that Fr Fenton established when the parish held its initial Mass on 18 February 2007. After the Mass, Fr Fenton announced that the newly formed Parish Council should set the goal to "be in our own home" by Easter 2008.
During the past year, the parish has leased a worship facility. "Our hosts this past year have been very gracious and accommodating," said Fr John Fenton, the pastor of Holy Incarnation. "However, there have also been understandable limitations and the hassle of 'church-in-a-box.' Most of all, there's been a sense of temporariness and a yearning to establish roots. I rejoice that the Lord has graciously heard our prayers, and that Metropolitan PHILIP and Bishop MARK have blessed our efforts."
The new church building is an important step in the re-establishment of a Western Rite Orthodox parish in metropolitan Detroit. Western Rite parishes are Orthodox parishes utilizing the liturgical tradition of European Christianity. In particular, the Sunday Mass follows the historic Latin or Roman rite. "All of our services are in English," explained Fr Fenton, "but the order of worship, customs, and liturgical art follows a pattern familiar to most Christians in Europe and America."
From 1975-2001, Incarnation Orthodox Church in Detroit served the liturgical needs of Western Rite Orthodox Christians in and around Detroit, and was the cornerstone of the Western Orthodoxy in the Midwest. Fr Fenton explained that Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church builds on the legacy of the former Incarnation parish. Fr Fenton stated the new building will further the permanent re-establishment of a Western Rite presence in Detroit. He also remarked that the new building will increase the Orthodox presence and mission in the downriver area.
The newly purchased building is located in Lincoln Park, Michigan, a near suburb in the downriver area of Detroit. Built as a worship and educational facility, the building has served various Protestant congregations during the past 50 years. "With classrooms and a liturgical space, this building fits our needs perfectly," said Fr Fenton.
Fr Fenton reports that the building is in good repair, but will require renovations so that the worship space is suitable for the Western Orthodox liturgy. "There is some work to be done, but it is our hope and prayer to begin Orthodox Lent in our new facility," reported Fr Fenton. In particular, an altar and choir (chancel) will need to be constructed. The priest estimates that this work should be completed in 30 days.
The move to the new facility will result in a change in service times for the Orthodox parish. Currently, Sunday Mass is celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Once the move has occurred, the new Sunday Mass time will be 9:30 a.m.
For updates concerning the move, and to learn more about Holy Incarnation, readers are invited to visit the Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church website.
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