UOC of the USA Establishes New Mission: St. Thomas the Apostle Community in Mountain Home, Arkansas
УПЦ США Відкрила Нову Місійну Громаду Святого Апостола Фоми у місті Маунтаін Хом, штат Аркензас
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA formally established a new community - St. Thomas the Apostle Orthodox Mission, located at 96 County Road 420, Mountain Home, Arkansas, which celebrated its first gathering with a Typika Service on June 21, 2020 with the blessing of the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Church – His Eminence Archbishop Daniel.
The faithful of the mission, along with their pastor – Rev. Fr. Samuel Seamans, who was recently received into the clergy ranks of the UOC of the USA, have been awaiting formal reception and the archpastoral visit of Vladyka Daniel to Mountain Home, AR. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and travel cancellations, Archbishop Daniel held several conversations with the representatives of the mission, and finally while meeting via ZOOM videoconference, a formal blessing was granted for the establishment of the mission family.
Mountain Home, Arkansas, is nestled in the Ozark Mountains of North Central Arkansas, with a county population of 42, 000 people, while the City of Mountain Home, the county seat, is home to about 13,000 people.
The mission is comprised of approximately 20 people at the moment, and St. Thomas the Apostle is the only Eastern Orthodox Church in the area with the nearest Eastern Rite Orthodox Church being over a two-hour drive. It has been very challenging to begin a mission during the time of the response to the Corona Virus, but God has provided for the community in very dramatic way.
After about one month of searching for a place to assemble, an area realtor contacted Fr. Samuel (Seamans), the pastor of the mission, and said that he knew where a vacant church building was and that he was confident that the owner would rent it to the community. The owner of the building is a local land and real estate developer, and when he learned that the Church wanted to start a new church he authorized a very generous renovation of the property that included: a brand new A/C unit, complete painting on the inside, steamed power washing for the exterior, bathroom renovations, new carpet, a new entry way handicap accessible ramp, a new gravel parking area, and new trim work and carpet for the pastor's office.
The Mission is now on Facebook and any calls for the community can be directed to Fr. Samuel at 870-421-2986, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The faithful of the Mission Community are grateful to God for the evangelical heart of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel, and they are beyond thrilled to be a part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church USA and all the wonderful work that God is doing through her.
We ask your prayers for the days ahead, and for all the missions and parishes of the UOC of the USA as we make Christ known together.