I would like to tell you about some help that is being given to the "St. Innocent of Alaska Missionary Prayer Society" - a project of Outreach Alaska. With the blessings of His Grace Bishop BASIL, the first Outreach Alaska booth and a workshop on "St. Innocent of Alaska Missionary Prayer Society" was provided during the Antiochian Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (DOWMA) Parish Life Conference in 2001. This is a commitment to pray the Akathist to St. Innocent once a week - on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. All at the workshop signed the pledge for this prayer society and thus Outreach Alaska began with prayer throughout the country. Before we begin - first we must pray.
As Our Lord would have it, a young man was on the website and joined the Prayer Society in August 2016. He then contacted me and asked if he could be of any help to the Outreach Alaska mission that had been going since 1999. As we communicated further, I learned that he coordinates Missionary care for OCMC and that he and his wife are God's chosen workers for ResilientMissionary.org - a website that supports Christian workers to be "united in marriage & resilient in ministry". This is how I came to know Geoff and Kriss Whiteman. As we talked further I told him I could use some help with the "St. Innocent Missionary Prayer Society" and he accepted this need to help me to rebuild the program of prayer for Alaska.
This is a new step for me and I look forward to providing all of the information on our past and present prayer participants to Geoff so that he will be able to communicate with them and further build on what was started years ago. Geoff's work in missionary care-which involves mobilizing the faithful to support our orthodox missionaries both practically and spiritually makes this a natural initiative for him to volunteer his time and expertise to Outreach Alaska and I look forward to working with him on this project. You will be able to join on line and print the Akathist to St. Innocent to begin participation. As soon as you sign up, a message will be sent to verify that you are with us and you will be contacted by Geoff. He will keep all members posted with how the prayer society is growing and who the members are as they join us.
Thanks to IOCC and Outreach Alaska, the seminary was in receipt of a huge donation of furniture. The seminary kept a number of beds, dressers, and desks to be used in the student housing. The surplus goods were distributed to other local non-profits and families. A youth group mission team from Church of the Annunciation in Milwaukie, Oregon, did most of the heavy lifting and were assisted by parishioners from Holy Resurrection Cathedral as well as Kodiak's local Roman Catholic priest and volunteers from the Baptist Mission. It was a real community event! The grateful organizations that received the extra furniture included Native Village of Afognak, Kodiak Women's Crisis Center, Kodiak Island Housing Authority, Kodiak Baptist Mission, Kodiak Wildlife Refuge, and others.
*The furniture was donated to IOCC and then offered to St. Herman Theological Seminary through their USA projects. Due to the extreme costs of shipping, an anonymous donor gave half of the funds necessary to Outreach Alaska specific for this project. Without this committed Outreach Alaska donor, the gift to St. Herman Theological Seminary and others in the Kodiak area of Alaska, may not have received this most needed gift. Our gratitude and appreciation to those who give so generously to Outreach Alaska and to IOCC.
On Memorial Day, Kodiak comes to honor those lost at sea. It is a special occasion, come rain or shine. Blessed water from the beginning of the year is stored for this occasion. The Russian Orthodox Clergy comes out for the event with paintings of St Herman, Kodiak's local Saint and a true supporter of the natives during the Russian occupation in the 1700s and 1800s.
Prayers are said and hymns are sung. Water is readied for the arrival of the boats as they line up to approach the pier. A blessing and a sprinkling for all willing to receive, whether large or small. And a wreath has been prepared, to be given to the "Raven", with the families of the departed to carry to their loved one's resting place.
And as the audience feels the grief, a pet wonders what is happening, while an Officer looks out to sea.