In the coming weeks we will be awaiting a formal letter from Archbishop Benjamin for our proposal to disband the mission. Faced with loss of a worship space (we rent our current space from Anglicans that are losing their building to their former Episcopal diocese) and low membership, we felt we did not have the resources to continue on.
“We are grateful for the resources and clergy the Diocese has provided us over the last three years. As we have celebrated many liturgies together, this mission has provided a home for our families to share our faith and join in prayer through many ups and downs. We have attempted many different avenues to grow the mission parish during this time and have had several individuals come and go without baptizing any new members outside of our own immediate families. Regrettably, we have reached a point where we feel our best efforts have not been fruitful enough to continue in the capacity as a full-fledged mission parish…
…We are absolutely open to working with the Diocese should future mission planting opportunities arise in Kern County with available community support as described in the OCA’s 2005 Mission Planter’s Resource Kit. Please keep us informed of any such activity so that, God willing, we can offer our support towards furthering the Gospel in this area.”
Last night, we heard from Fr. Matthew Tate, Dean of Missions for the Diocese of the West which said, in part:
“…We too are sorry that it has come to this decision, but certainly understand why.
I know that you have checked out all possible options to continue, and that this is the only realistic option at this time…
…It is also our hope to work with you again in the future. Let’s pray that day will come.”
Our last Liturgy will be March 25. The remaining families will continue with in-home Reader’s services and visits to nearby parishes and monasteries to remain connected to the wider Orthodox world.