New Mission Opens in Urban Chicago
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the USA has announced the formation of a new mission in the urban Chicago area. St. Moses the Ethiopian Mission will be under the leadership of Fr. Charles Turner, pastor. Father Charles is assisted by Father Daniel Williams. Both priests were formally clergy of the African American Orthodox Church, before being received into the UAOC Archeparchy of Cleveland and the Americas.
[pictured to the left] Father Charles (right) with Fr. Boris Zabrodsky, Pastor of St. Nicholas Church, Homewood, IL.
Besides the pastoral and liturgical ministry that the parish will offer to all residents of the area, among the priests' mission is to provide a link between ancient African Christianity and the African-American experience. Father Charles explains that:
"Ancient, apostolic, Orthodox Christianity has gone full circle, from continent to continent, from Christ to his Apostles, from the Apostles to ancient Africa, from Africa to America and from black Americans to their sons and daughters. The ancient African Christian tradition is beginning to be passed on and take root in America today, growing out of the seed of the blood of black American slave-martyrs for Christ. There is a deep resonance between the faith of the early church and the heartfelt Christianity born out of the slaves' experience on American soil. The "sad joyfulness" that characterized the African Desert Fathers and Mothers of the 4th. century and that permeates traditional Orthodox Christianity today, is the legacy of the suffering church of the African-American slaves, for whom these saints are 'elders in the faith.'"
Some of those elders include St. Moses the Ethiopian and St. Mary of Egypt, the latter of whom the church commemorates on the Fifth Sunday of Lent.
Father Charles' message of Ancient African Eastern Christianity and its spirituality is important for all people to hear. It is a message of holiness that Christians of diverse backgrounds can imitate and learn from.
More news about the progress of the new mission will be provided in the near future.
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