Utukufu kwa Yesu Kristo! Glory to Jesus Christ!
The ecclesiastical New Year on September 1st marks yet another major transition in my life. I am now on the road, traveling full-time for the next few months as I visit parishes to raise awareness and support for my upcoming long-term OCMC missionary service with the Orthodox Church in Tanzania. Be sure to visit the new website http://jhargrave.ocmc.org for updates and a calendar of events.
This past weekend I was hosted by dear friends at St. Justin Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, Florida. St. Justin has been very active and influential in my life and in the lives of many back home in Gainesville. This parish has provided pastoral support for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) at the University of Florida, and when my own parish in Gainesville was faced with a crisis last year with the sudden illness and death of our priest Father Peter of blessed memory, it was St. Justin’s parish who responded immediately by sending a priest to bear our burdens and minister to us through Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha. So spending time with the beloved faithful here in Jacksonville has been a great joy and encouragement.
Before coming to Jacksonville, I spent a week back home in Gainesville, and even got to be with OCF for the first meeting of the semester. There’s no place like home.
The past month has seen me at a different church every Sunday, and it’s been wonderful to meet and reconnect with so many people. God is responding to your prayers by continuing to raise up a solid team of parishes, families and individuals committed to regular, long-term support of my upcoming missionary work. It takes around forty to fifty people giving $25 – $100 faithfully every month to fully fund all aspects of my training, travel, and ministry, and in addition to many generous one-time donations I’ve seen five partners added to this team in the last week alone.
Two weeks ago today I put my parents on a plane to Kenya, and then packed up and moved out of the house where I’d lived for the summer. From now until the middle of November I’m living out of a van, staying somewhere different every few days. By God’s grace I have either confirmed or almost confirmed lodging in every city I’ll be visiting on the way. I’m grateful for the generous hospitality so many people have shown already, and am looking forward to spending quality time with even more folks.
At the end of this email is my current itinerary. A few almost-confirmed events have been left out. Please check the calendar at http://jhargrave.ocmc.org for updates. If you would like me to visit with your parish, OCF, Philoptochos, Sunday School, or just chat over coffee, please let me know. Last Friday several parishioners at St. Justin’s got together for “Tapas and Tanzania,” to visit over hors d’ouevres and then hear a presentation about my upcoming missionary work. It was a great chance to develop relationships at a level deeper than is typically possible at coffee hour (four of the five new partners joined at this event), and I’d love to do something similar while visiting you.
Thank you as always for your prayers, friendship, hospitality and financial partnership. I thank God for you every day. Stay in touch!
By your prayers,
Fall Itinerary, confirmed as of 9/1/2009
September in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky:
Sunday, Sept 6 Holy Ascension Orthodox Church, Mount Pleasant, SC (Liturgy 9:30 am)
Monday, Sept 7 Orthodox Christian Fellowship in Charleston, SC (time TBA)
Tuesday, Sept 8 Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in West Columbia, SC (Liturgy 9:00 am)
Saturday, Sept 12 Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Aiken, SC (Great Vespers 6:30 pm)
Sunday, Sept 13 St. Philothea Greek Orthodox Church in Watkinsville, GA (Liturgy 9:30 am)
Wednesday, Sept 16 St. John of the Ladder Orthodox Church in Piedmont, SC (Vespers 6:00 pm)
Thursday, Sept 17 Orthodox Christian Fellowship at Clemson University, 7 pm (location TBA)
Saturday, Sept 19 Holy Cross Orthodox Church in High Point, NC (Vespers 5:00 pm)
Sunday, Sept 20 Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Winston-Salem, NC (Liturgy 10:30 am)
Thursday, Sept 24 Orthodox Christian Fellowship at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (time TBA)
Wed 9/23 – Sat 9/26 in Johnson City, TN
Sunday, Sept 27 St. Athanasius Orthodox Church in Nicholasville, KY (Liturgy 10:00 am)
Monday 9/28 – Sunday 10/11 in Cincinnati, OH
Sunday, Oct 4 Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Cincinnati, OH (Liturgy 9:30 am)
Sunday, Oct 11 TBD (possibly Louisville, KY)
Saturday 10/17 – Saturday 10/31 in Los Angeles and San Diego, CA
Sunday, Oct 18 St. Matthew Orthodox Church, Torrance, CA (Liturgy 10:00 am)
Sunday, Oct 25 St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthodox Church, El Cajon, CA (Liturgy 10:00 am)
Saturday 10/31 – Sunday 11/8 Denver, CO
Sunday, Nov 1 St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church, Littleton, CO (Liturgy 9:30 am)
Friday, Nov 6 St. George Monastery, Denver, CO (time TBA)
Sunday, Nov 8 TBD (Denver, CO)
Wednesday 11/8 – Monday 11/15 Vancouver, BC area
Wednesday, Nov 11 TBD (Langley, BC)
Thursday 11/12 or Friday 11/13 St. Maria’s Centre, Victoria, BC
Sunday, Nov 15 St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church, Langley, BC (Liturgy 10:00 am)