On Saturday, 25 September, the Apodosis of the Nativity of the Theotokos, the clergy of the Central States Deanery gathered for a celebration of the Divine Liturgy and a Deanery meeting.
The Festal Divine Liturgy was served by Dean of the Central States, Fr. Joshua Genig, and concelebrated by Fr. Timothy Barna (St. Michael, Redford), Fr. Lawrence Bacik (St. Elias, Battle Creek), Fr. James Anthony (St. John Chrysostom, Grand Rapids), and retired clerics, Fr. Roman Star and Fr. Paul Waters. Also serving were Hierodeacon Seraphim (Balagtas, St. Innocent, Redford), Deacon Michael Cook (St. John Chrysostom, Grand Rapids), and Reader Andrew Shauver (St. Andrew, East Lansing). A number of St. Innocent parishioners joined the clergy for the celebration of the Feast.
After the Divine Liturgy, the clergy served the Short Panakhida for the newly departed Deacon Michael Bishop. Following this memorial, the clergy enjoyed a wonderful luncheon prepared by the Sisterhood of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr. After lunch, the clergy commenced their Deanery meeting.
The meeting of the Deanery clergy began with a theological presentation by Fr. Joshua on the role of the priest as one who stands “in the person/face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:10). Following Fr. Joshua’s presentation, each parish provided an update on their efforts to remain faithful and prayerful during the COVID-19 pandemic. A lengthy discussion was had regarding the Moscow Patriarchate’s recent conference on the pandemic and available vaccines. Special attention was also given to the importance of the faithful receiving their pastoral care and guidance from the local parish and to avoid internet theologians and conspiracy theories.
Other matters of importance to the Deanery were discussed and deliberated, leaving the clergy feeling refreshed and accomplished.
The Deanery clergy completed their meeting prior to the start of All-Night Vigil, departing for their home parishes promising to continue to pray fervently for each other.