When I first moved to Boston from the Midwest in the mid 90’s, I used to long after the land of my fathers. It has been a long time since I last visited. But now I get the chance to return to my home state of Ohio this weekend for a clergy retreat.
Fr. Basil Rusen, our host, tells the story of how St. Herman of Alaska Eastern Orthodox Church in Hudson, Ohio began in 2003. First, the faithful met in a small cemetary chapel, then a store front, and by God’s grace, eventually bought an old grange hall that they turned into an honest to goodness temple. Fr. Basil’s care for his flock and the people’s love for their parish is palpable in every nook and cranny. Besides the roof and windows, EVERY OTHER improvement and renovation was performed by the rational flock!
The sanctuary is bright, clean, and welcoming. Each pew contains a hymn book with music for the current Liturgical season with the page turned to the upcoming Sunday. The walls abound with large vibrant images of all the heavenly host of saints. The fellowship hall features ample seating and a large lending library with carefully selected works to nourish the soul.
I am full of gratitude and wonder to find such a warm, welcoming Orthodox Church in the very land of my ancestors who, from the early nineteenth century, farmed the black loam of Northwest Ohio. The corn, the flat land, the wide open sunrises and sunsets fill my soul with both nostalgia and hope: Nostalgia, for the strong foundation in the Holy Scriptures this land bequeathed to me; hope, that those Scriptures may cause this land to blossom into the fuller revelation of worship to God in Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Glory to God for St. Herman of Alaska Eastern Orthodox Church, witnessing to this fullness of Trinitarian faith in the land of my German-American fathers!
I’m not sure what I believe anymore other than that this groupthink mentality that is taking over society is utterly wrong and must be opposed in some way.