The growing mission parish of Four Evangelists in Bel Air, Maryland, celebrated yet another milestone on Saturday, October 31st with the ordination of Reader Charles Sanderson to the Holy Deaconate through the laying on of the Apostolic Hand of His Eminence Archbishop Antony. The joyful day marked His Eminence’s second visit this year to Four Evangelists since the parish moved into their new location in June, a tremendous blessing to the community. His Eminence was joined at the altar by Rev. Gregory Czumak, pastor of Four Evangelists; Protopresbyter Frank Estocin of St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA; V.Rev. Stephen Hutnick of Sts. Peter and Paul’s parish in Wilmington, DE; V.Rev. Robert Holet of St. Nicholas’ parish in Charlottesville, VA; V.Rev. Gregory Matthewes-Green of Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum, MD; Rev. John Haluszczak of St. Vladimir’s parish in Pittsburgh, PA; Rev. Anthony Perkins of St. Michael’s parish in Woonsocket, RI; and Rev. Deacon Borislav Kroner of St. Andrew’s parish in Boston, MA. Assisting were Subdeacons James Guba, Vasyl Pasakas and Andriy Matlak; Reader Basil Athas; and altar servers Nicholas Czumak, Ben Klopcic, and Reader Charles’ nephew, Aaron Sanderson.
The eventful day marked the first ordination at Four Evangelists, which has been blessed with much growth in recent years. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, with responses sung by the parish choir under the direction of Peggy Mukai, was a powerful manifestation of the sacramental unity of the local church with its Hierarch and Archpastor. In his sermon, His Eminence preached about the unique vocation of the Holy Diaconate as a distinct ministry with a vital pastoral role extending well beyond the Liturgy and confines of the church building. The deacon, His Eminence emphasized, must be a man of faith, devotion and constant prayer, dedicated to serving others and extending the healing ministry of Christ to all those in need, whoever and wherever they may be – a very difficult ministry in today’s highly secularized world, but one desperately needed. After the Anaphora and consecration of the Holy Gifts, His Eminence had subdeacon Charles brought forward and, praying for the Divine grace “which always heals what is infirm and completes what is lacking,” elevated him through the laying-on of hands to the Holy Deaconate. Following the communion of the clergy and faithful and the conclusion of the Liturgy, the parish enjoyed a festive and beautifully prepared luncheon provided by the parish’s St. Olympia Sisterhood.
Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Rev. Deacon Charles Sanderson is presently a third-year seminarian at Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ, and is a graduate of the three-year St. Stephen’s Course of Studies in Orthodox Theology, a program of the Antiochian House of Studies. He holds a Doctorate in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and has research interests in religion and politics, the alignment of political and ecclesiastical boundaries, and autocephaly. Committed to extending the healing ministry of the Church to those in acute need, Fr. Deacon Charles commenced work last year on a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Johns Hopkins Hospital system in Baltimore, a program he hopes to resume and complete after finishing his seminary studies. His Eminence has assigned Fr. Deacon Charles to Four Evangelists’ mission parish.