Thanksgiving, Sorrow, and Joy

With much joy, St. Athanasius Orthodox Mission welcomed their beloved archbishop, his eminence, Dmitri, for an archpastoral visit the weekend of December 2-3, 2006. We were also blessed by the presence of Father Stephen Freeman, who is the dean of our Appalachian Deanery and priest-in-charge at St. Anne Orthodox Church, Oak Ridge, TN. During the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, Christopher Gregory Kies, David Bibeau, and Simeon Siskar were tonsured as readers, and Simeon was then named a sub-deacon. Reader Kevin Rigdon from St. Anne Orthodox Church was ordained to the diaconate at the hands of Archbishop Dmitri. We give thanks as we recognize and name what God is doing in the lives of these people.

At the same service, with tears we said goodbye to our founding priest, Father David Rucker. Father David and his family are moving to Saint Augustine, FL to serve the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). We welcome our new priest, Father Justin Patterson, his wife, Tamara, and their son. The Pattersons had previously served at St. Anne Orthodox Church.

It was a tremendous weekend and a blessed time with his eminence. We give thanks to God for his goodness and love for us and we praise him as we are reminded to by Saint Athanasius:

The faithful and true servants of the Lord, knowing that the Lord loves the thankful, never cease to praise Him, ever giving thanks unto the Lord. And whether the time is one of ease or of affliction, they offer up praise to God with thanksgiving, not reckoning these things of time, but worshipping the Lord, the God of times. Thus of old time, Job, who possessed fortitude above all men, thought of these things when in prosperity; and when in adversity, he patiently endured, and when he suffered, gave thanks. As also the humble David, in the very time of affliction sang praises and said, ‘I will bless the Lord at all times [Ps. 34:1].’ And the blessed Paul, in all his Epistles, so to say, ceased not to thank God. In times of ease, he failed not, and in afflictions he gloried, knowing that ‘tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and that hope maketh not ashamed [Rom. 5:3-5].’ Let us, being followers of such men, pass no season without thanksgiving.
— St. Athanasius the Great, Letter III for Pascha 331A.D.

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