Thursday, February 15, 2007

Contribute to Missions

UPDATE: 1/12/2010 This article was written in 2007. It is my understanding that the local ministry and mission efforts of this church have been put on hold. Those wishing to give to missions may give to: The Haitian Orthodox Mission Effort.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ,

I have the privilege of introducing you to one of my dearest friends and one whom I consider a Father in the faith, Father Denzil Roland. Father Denzil is a trail-blazer and a visionary who, with his entire church, is in transition to the Antiochian Orthodox Church. He is under the care and guidance of our Arch-Diocese and was recently made a catechumen along with all the members of his church. He is making steady progress under the tutelage of Father Keiser as he heads toward chrismation and ordination.

Saint Paul’s Mission in Hot Springs, Arkansas was established as a Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC) about five years ago. The historic building in the historic tourist town and boyhood home of Bill Clinton, is perfectly positioned to make a great impact for the Kingdom of God in our neighboring state as a Western Rite Antiochian Orthodox Church. Father Denzil’s desire to follow God to the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, required that he leave the communion of the ICCEC, and has created great financial need both for the Mission and for his family.

Cynthia and I ask that you join us in supporting Saint Paul’s mission in whatever way possible until they are firmly rooted and fully included into the faith. Please look at the information provided here and consider how you may help to support this great cause for the Kingdom.
Sincerely Yours,

Nathan Lee Lewis
Member Saint Ignatius Orthodox Church

Father Denny (on the left), Bishop Antoun and Terrell Metheny (on the right), share a meal after the Liturgy at Saint Paul’s Mission. Terrell Metheny and his wife Carol are products of Father Denny’s ministry. Terrell, a retired radio executive, has housed another ICCEC mission in the town of Fort Smith, three hours from Hot Springs. Father Denny journeyed twice a month on Sunday afternoon for several years to Fort Smith to minister. Terrell and Carol Metheny have followed Father Denny as he has led them to the Orthodox faith. They were the first to be chrismated late 2006 and are active members of a Russian church in their city. Father Denny continues to be the catalyst bringing others to the faith as he communicates and encourages other former ICCEC churches and their priests in Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia to become part of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Western Rite. Should all continue in their process it will be the largest inclusion of established churches into the Antiochian Church since the movement that brought Saint Ignatius to the faith 20 years ago. Father Denny has had the privilege of meeting personally with Father Stephen Rogers, Father Gordon Walker, Father Peter Gilquist and others as he continues toward chrismation and ordination. The Diocese is also flying in Father Keiser to Hot Springs once a month to personally train Father Denny and assist Saint Paul’s Mission in its transition. Above: Father Denny at the Altar at Saint Paul’s.

Bishop Antoun and Father Denny Roland see eye to eye in more ways than one. Two mighty men of God blessed above their stature! Father Denny and Saint Paul’s Mission are in transition to the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Father Denny spent ten years in the International Communion of the Charismatic Church (ICCEC), until integrity and desire for truth compelled him to solicit his ICCEC Bishop to release him from his Holy Orders. This brave act requires that we, as his fellow brothers and sisters, pray for him and support Saint Paul’s Mission financially until they are established and self supporting. Please pray about what you can do to assist.

Father Denny Roland and his family had a recent visit from Bishop Antoun. Bishop Antoun spent the day with Father Denny and was excited to see the sights in Bill Clinton’s boyhood home town. The photo was taken in the fellowship hall of Saint Paul’s. Bishop Antoun also visited Holy Trinity Church in Little Rock whose Priest, Father Joseph Bittle, has befriended Father Denny and lends him brotherhood and encouragement. Holy Trinity, Eastern Rite, is also a small and growing Mission in Arkansas. Holy Trinity is the first Church where the me and my family were introduced to the faith and first started inquirer’s classes. Interestingly, Father Bittle is from Tennessee and was ordained a deacon at Saint Ignatius in Franklin. Saint Paul’s Mission and Holy Trinity Mission are about 1 hour from each other.

Saint Paul’s Mission, in transition to the Antiochian Orthodox Church-Western Rite, is housed in a historic building in the heart of Hot Springs, Arkansas on  Central Avenue. Directly behind then building, is the rectory where Father Denny, Ellana and their 6 children live. The building was built in the 30's as a Lutheran Church. When Father Denny led his congregation to purchase the building, it was being used as an antique store.

Some interesting facts:
  • The house next door is a Palm Reading business.
  • The motel across the street is used for prostitution and low income renters.
  • The Mission is a couple of miles from the Horse Tracks.
  • The building houses a ministry for recovering Meth addicts as well as an on-going ministry to occultists and Wiccans.
  • All members of the congregation, formerly Charismatic Episcopalians (ICCEC), were made catechumens in late 2006 under the direction of Bishop Antoun.
  • Father Denny Roland has a wife and six children.
  • Although he just completed 8 years of education in the ICCEC, spending thousands of dollars, Father Denny must start all over again in order to fulfill his educational requirements in the Antiochian Orthodox Church through Saint Steven Seminary.
Elanna Roland gave birth to their sixth child December of 2006, yet she is actively attending nursing school through Pell Grants. Father Denny watches the children, studies for seminary and fulfills his pastoral duties while she is in class. There are currently about 15 regular members at Saint Paul’s, including Father Roland’s Family. Few of these are able to give financially to the Mission. Average giving from all sources is currently only $1300 to $1400 a month. They must also maintain the parsonage where Father Denny and his family live. The basic monthly bills of the Church are about $2000. This does not include seminary expenses or salary for the priest. Father Denny must do odd jobs and commissioned art work (icons) to supplement and purchase groceries. Saint Stephen Seminary alone costs $750 a year for three years. Books are about $250-$300 a semester.

I recently had the privilege of returning to Saint Paul’s, my former ICCEC church whose members are now catechumens in the Antiochian Orthodox Church. At Father Denny’s invitation, I gave the homily and encouraged the people in their transition to the faith. The historic Spanish architecture building, currently being considered for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, is a wonderful addition to the Antiochian Diocese, and a perfect setting to grow a thriving church in the heart of this tourist town. Both the Church and the Parsonage were purchased for the
amazing price of $150,000 but $120,000 is stilled owed. The monthly payment is about $1200. Helping pay off this debt will allow this small congregation to spend its sparse recourses on other vital aspects of the work of the ministry and support of the priest and his family.

How can you help?
You can commit to:
[ ] $375 for a semester of seminary
[ ] $750 for a year of seminary
[ ] $2250 for full three year seminary
[ ] $300 for a semester of books
[ ] $1200 for all seminary books
[ ] $1200 for a month of mortgage payments
[ ] $800 for one month of utilities and insurance
[ ] $125,000 to pay off mortgage debt
[ ] $_________ for monthly groceries or other needs.

Make Checks payable and mail to: (See Update Below)
Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Mission
1700 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR. 71901
God Bless.

UPDATE: 1/12/2010 This article was written in 2007. It is my understanding that the local ministry and mission efforts of this church have been put on hold. Those wishing to give to missions may give to: The Haitian Orthodox Mission Effort.

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