The Beginning of St. Michael
Rev. Dr. John Flora
January 4, 2004
Saint Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission offered its first
worship service as a community of catechumens in the chapel of Saint
After thirty-one years of ministry as a priest of the Episcopal Church,
I led worship as a
layman in a Western Rite Mission of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian
On our first Sunday most of the congregation were former members of
the Episcopal parish
I served for 21 years as rector.
first contact with Orthodoxy was during my studies at the General
in the late sixties. I became a member of the Fellowship of Saint
and Saint Sergius, an ecumenical dialogue group comprised of Anglicans
I also frequented the services of the Coptic community which worshipped
in the seminary
chapel on Sunday afternoons.
1976 I was married to a very devout Catholic woman who for the sake
of unity in our family
became an Episcopalian. The following year during our first summer
vacation as a couple
she insisted that we attend a Russian Orthodox Church in East
both loved the beauty and power of the liturgy and felt nurtured by
the warm welcome we
received. Today, we know that God was speaking to us and calling us
to Holy Orthodoxy.
1982 to 1986 I worked on a doctorate in liturgy from the Virginia
My dissertation was entitled, “Pastoral Leadership and Eucharistic
Presidency in the Pre-Nicene
”For my research I read many Patristic sources
and Orthodox theologians and began to love and embrace the theological
vision of Orthodoxy.
1989 I took my first trip to the Holy
Land and I became
acquainted with the Palestinian
Christian community which is overwhelmingly Greek Orthodox. I have
had the privilege to
experience Orthodox Holy Week in Jerusalem
seven times and studied at Saint
an Anglican school dedicated to the study of the history and the religious
of the Holy Land.
During my time there I was exposed to the life and worship of the
I came to love the Palestinian people and the faith that has sustained
Christian Arab community through over fifty years of occupation.
since the beginning of Eighth
Day Books Warren
Farha has been a friend to both me
and my wife. Warren and
his wife Chris have been a source of strength to us as we struggled
with being a clergy family in a denomination that was increasingly
rejecting the very foundation
doctrines of authentic Christianity. Through both of them and others
at Saint George’s God
was calling us home.
years ago we decided that when I retired we would become Orthodox.
Episcopal Church decided to confirm the election of a homosexual priest
as Bishop of
New Hampshire my wife and I said, We cannot remain Episcopalians any
after this decision I had my first of many meetings with Bishop Basil
and Fr. Paul O'Callaghan.
The result of our praying and talking will be realized when Saint
Michael's has it first service
of Matins on January 4th. The warm welcome we have received from the
Cathedral, its clergy,
people and Parish Council is confirmation that the journey we are
making is God's will.
willing our little mission will grow and offer spiritual safety to
others who feel betrayed by denominations which are abandoning Christianity.
On Easter Day 2004 I was ordained to the
holy priesthood and Saint Michael's Mission
was established as the third Antiochian
congregation in Wichita and Kansas'
first Western Rite parish. It has been a long journey
and it is so good to arrive Home.
years in the Chapel of Saint George Cathedral we moved into our new
facility on Palm
Sunday 2010. We are now housed in what was Saint Alban’s Episcopal
Church at the Art Park on
E 29th Street N. It is the ministry of Saint Michael’s Church
to reach out to those in Wichita and the surrounding communities with
the message of the Gospel as enshrined within the life and worship
of the Holy Orthodox Church. Too those who are seeking the authentic
Christian Faith preached
and lived within a family oriented community we say, “Come Home
to the Ancient Faith of the West.”