Report on the progress and status of the St John the Wonderworker Mission in Nanaimo BC

01:41 AM

The city of Nanaimo is located in the center of Vancouver Island, the population is a little under 100 thousand and it is the only other city on Vancouver Island, other than Victoria. Nanaimo is located 90 minutes north of Victoria and there is a ferry connecting Nanaimo with Vancouver on the mainland.
I began trying to serve liturgy in the city of Nanaimo around Theophany last year. The first service held was the Great Blessing of the waters at Long Lake; this is a prominent lake in the center of the city. Following this I attempted to secure a location to serve liturgy. Renting temporary spaces on a Sunday proved to be expensive, complicated and in many cases the spaces were highly undesirable and impractical.
After an extensive and exhaustive search I secured a space in a professional building beside city hall. The size and dimensions have been quite adequate for us for most of the year – even on Nativity and our Feastday the space was sufficient. It may be a bit small for Pascha this year.
We have a large sign at the entrance of the building and a 3 meter banner on our balcony which is visible from the commercial streets nearby, as we are located on a hill. I also developed a well-designed website for the parish and enhanced our online presence where possible – this has proved to be profitable as a number of people have come to the church after doing a web search.
We have been serving liturgy weekly since Palm Sunday last year (April 28th), and we have celebrated all of the major feastdays, including St Nicholas, St Herman, App Peter & Paul, etc. Vigil is served on a more irregular basis. While we struggled with the choir for the first 6 months, we now have a number of people who can do an adequate job, even when my matushka is not there. Our services are done in English and our people come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
When the Kursk Icon came, we had more than 40 people present for the Moleben and Akathist, and there was a large newspaper article in the newspaper about the event which brought many new people in.
People attending the parish come from Nanaimo, but also from the surrounding regions – for example one of our regular families drives 90 minutes each week. Our parish is mixed ethnically, we have primarily had Converts, Greeks, Romanians, and some Serbians. The Russians that we have had coming are isolated, or have only moved to the community recently.
On Theophany we again did the blessing of the waters at Long Lake, and had approximately 25 people present.

Priest Philosoph Uhlman