World Orthodoxy, we entered the gates of the Church through the Genuine Orthodox Church of America (GOC) under the pastorate of His Eminence Metropolitan Pavlos of the Cathedral of Saint Markella in Astoria, New York. Having been under the careful catechism of GOC priest, Father Anastasios Hudson, who pastors GOC missions in Raleigh and Greenville, North Carolina, we traveled to His parish in obedience to Holy Spirit and the Church, for the blessed weekend. We were baptized Nathan, Xanthia, Seraphima, and Chloe' after the blessed saints of the same name. We will forever ask those saints to pray for us as we continue in the theosis of our souls.
Immediately following our Holy Baptisms and Chrismation, Xanthia and I submitted to the sacrament of Holy Marriage. To know that our union of 29 years is, finally, sacramentally blessed, is a fulfillment that a few words cannot describe. Our newly-baptized daughters were asked to participate in the sacrament by chanting a portion of the liturgy scriptures. We spent a few precious hours with the faithful members of the two missions, and ate a wonderful meal. We were treated with sincere hospitality and love by our new brothers and sisters, who were the epitome of servanthood.
Even before our hair was dry from our Holy Baptisms, I told Xanthia that, rather than feeling a sense of having arrived, I felt a sense of readiness to fulfill the great commission of our Lord Jesus to, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Living in the Nashville, Tennessee area, we know that there are thousands of souls who are not part of His Church and, "How will they hear without a preacher?" The Exaposteilarion from our first Reader's Service (since our Holy Baptism) speaks directly of this mission,
"Let us gather with the Disciples on the mount in Galilee to behold Christ in faith, saying, I have received the power of those on high and those below. And Let us learn how to baptize all the nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and how He is present with His initiates to the end of the world as He promised."
There is now a Mission Station of the Genuine Orthodox Church of America in Tennessee, by virtue of the fact that there is at least one baptized family in the Nashville area. My family and I will continue to worship the One God through a Reader's Service and will travel to North Carolina and other GOC parishes as often as we can. Father Anastasios will also come to visit the Nashville area as often as possible. We will also welcome all who inquire about the GOC with the loving embrace that is characteristic of this blessed communion-in-Christ.