A small Tampa, FL suburban town of Dover is a home to about 3700 individuals with 760 some households. It is also a town for the famous Florida strawberry plantations. Namely in this town a small Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Protection of the Birth-Giver of God is located and served by Very Rev. Fr. Harry Linsinbigler, under the spiritual care of the Ruling hierarch of the Eastern Eparchy of the UOC of the USA His Eminence Metropolitan Antony.
However, this small town, as well as the entire state of Florida, came to mind of every American in the past several weeks, especially as the news about powerful hurricane Irma hit the Western part of the State of Florida and the suburban Tampa and Orlando, FL areas.
The prognosis of powerful and life-threatening winds shut down and paralyzed various towns and Metropolitan areas of the State. The same was true for the entire Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Another parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA – Holy Archangel Michael community is located in Pinellas Park, FL - Very Rev. Fr. Ivan Petrouchtchak – pastor).
Both communities, taking into consideration the declaration of the State of Emergency, evacuated the church premises and prepared for the worst possible outcome. While various church families, businesses and individuals suffered great loss of physical property and the loss of life, both communities of the UOC of the USA sustained moderate damages. In fact, Holy Archangel Michael Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Pinellas Park, FL did not suffer any major physical damage, outside of typical post-hurricane clean up.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Prime Hierarch of the UOC of the USA, Archbishop Daniel in his capacity of the President of Consistory of the Church traveled to Dover and Pinellas Park, FL parishes in order to examine the damages and to offer words of comfort to the clergy and faithful of the Church.
Touring both properties, Vladyka Daniel received first hand knowledge about the devastating destructive force with which the parish of the Protection of the Birth-Giver of God was hit.
Broken dome, another damaged dome on the church building, destroyed church bell, leaks in the roofs of three different buildings, broken fences and palm trees – these are some of the damages that the parish family is now faced with.
While the parish has an insurance policy, the parish community does not expect much help from the insurance due to the high deductible premiums of the policies. That is why, following his visit to the parishes, Vladyka Daniel gathered enough information to present to the membership of the Consistory in order to release emergency assistance funds that were collected by the faithful of the UOC of the USA for the needs of religious communities and individuals of the disaster declared areas.
Please continue to pray for the clergy and parishioners of both parishes of the Church. More detailed information about the provided assistance will be released as it becomes available.
If you would like to contribute and offer assistance in rebuilding efforts of our parish communities, please consider making a donation by following this link.