Архієпископ Даниїл Завершив Перші Архієрейські Відвідини Новоствореної місії св. Апостола Фоми у Маунтейн Хом, штат Аркенсас
Precisely 1006 miles away from the Spiritual Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, in a town of about 12,448 residents is located the newest mission of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
The city of Mountain Home, Arkansas is a home for St. Thomas the Apostle Mission of the UOC of the USA.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Primate of the Church, Archbishop Daniel made his first archpastoral visit to the parish family in order to formally bless the creation of the mission. Rev. Fr. Samuel Seamans (with his wife pani-matka Olga and two children) serves the pastoral needs of the new mission.
Taking into consideration the latest spread of COVID-19 pandemic, Vladyka Daniel took every precaution while traveling to Mountain Home, AR for the celebration of the first Eucharistic worship with the pastor and parishioners of the mission. Assisted by seminarian of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary Subdeacon Yaroslav Bilohan, the archpastor led the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, while reflecting on the Gospel narrative for the 23 Sunday After Pentecost.
In his sermon, Vladyka Daniel stated: “… Jesus said to the man from whom He expelled the demons in today's Gospel, "RETURN TO YOUR HOME AND DECLARE HOW MUCH GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU." Don't preach a sermon… Just tell what God has done for you… Has the Lord made a difference in your life? Has He forgiven you? Has He changed your life? Then share it with someone around you. Let them know from your first-hand experience that God is real, and invite them to know Him, too. "RETURN TO YOUR HOME AND DECLARE HOW MUCH GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU," said Our Lord.
The world’s greatest good news which is proclaimed from pulpits weekly remains the best kept secret in the world. It was not so with the early Christians. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the first Christians announced everywhere the good news of the mystery of Christ. They could not be held back in announcing to others that God is in love with you. That you are redeemed, that your sins are forgiven, that the devil is defeated, that death is overcome, that you now have eternal life in Christ Jesus. This is the same good news that is proclaimed every Sunday. This is what God has done for you. Don't keep it a secret. Share it. "RETURN TO YOUR HOME, AND DECLARE HOW MUCH GOD HAD DONE FOR YOU…"
… If you really love your faith, you can make it stronger by inviting someone to share it with you. And you don't have to go far. Just think of the hundreds (and I'm not exaggerating) of persons whom you have met in your life, but who are alienated or estranged and seldom if ever participate in the life of the Church and our local communities. We need to begin evangelizing our own baptized. Jesus said: "RETURN TO YOUR HOME, AND DECLARE HOW MUCH GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU…"
Meeting the parishioners of the community, Archbishop Daniel not only prayed with everyone in attendance, but also spent time getting to know the faithful of the new mission (especially the youth of the mission), while being introduced to each parishioner at the informal dinner in honor of the establishment of the mission.
Archbishop Daniel presented to the mission’s pastor – Fr. Samuel Seamans the consecrated antymins for the celebration of the Eucharist Divine Liturgy as well as the container with the Holy Chrism – the symbols of Christian Unity between the bishop and the spiritual flock of the Church, thus enabling the mission to begin various outreach projects in the community.
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Mountain Home is the county seat of Baxter County, Arkansas, in the southern Ozark Mountains.
It has been listed numerous times in the top 20 cities in the U.S. for sportsmen in Outdoor Life magazine, was ranked #2 for Field and Stream's Best Fishing Towns in America and today it is primarily known as a retirement and resort destination.
According to the 2010 Census, Mountain Home has a total of 12,448 in the city, and a total of 41,307 with the city and micropolitan combined which encompasses the majority of Baxter county. Mountain Home also serves as an economic and retail hub for an eight-county region, serving 256,000 people in a 55-mile radius.