T-minus 6 hours 45 minutes and I’ll be blasting off for a day trip down to Victoria, Texas, to visit All Saints Orthodox Mission. It’s an OCA mission that’s managed to put down deeper roots in 4 short years then many parishes accomplish in 10. In the last year they’ve built a brand new Orthodox-style church in a growing area of town, and planted 100 olive trees and pastured a flock of 150 sheep on their 90 acre church property. That is absolutely amazing, and I’m not just talking about the sheep. (Clarification – the church itself owns 17 acres of the 90 acre property; the remainder is owned by a parishioner.)
Tomorrow’s trip is a parish lenten retreat for members of St. Anthony’s to join our brothers and sisters as they celebrate the official entry into their new church, called the “opening of the doors” or Thyranexia. It is a blessing and prayer service, kind of a dedication service. And of course we’ll have a lenten lunch afterwards. Nothing is really “official” in the Orthodox Church unless it’s finalized with a pot luck and lots of coffee. All Saint’s priest, the Very Rev. Fr. Dimitri Cozby, was actually the priest who received me into the Orthodox Church almost 20 years ago. He was St. Anthony’s longest serving priest for more than 20 years, then left and started this mission. You couldn’t ask for a more wonderful and godly priest to serve a new mission.
I’m also going to combine pleasure with pleasure. The rest of the group isn’t as crazy as I am to leave at 5:45 am, but I’m going to be doing a little bird watching before the service starts at 11:00 am. Victoria has got some great birding spots and it’s also going to be kind of nice to just visit around town. My in-laws lived in Victoria for more than 25 years until they retired and moved to Corpus Christi a few years ago. I think this is only the 2nd time I’ve been back since they left. I tried to get my kids to go with me, even bribing them with a trip to The Texas Zoo (yes, Victoria even has a really great little zoo), but they just couldn’t be talked into it.
I’ll post more when I get back. In the meantime, check out some of the great coverage the Victoria Advocate newspaper has been giving All Saints with this video and news article.