Needless to say, I have a personal interest in this because my husband (Archpriest John Tomasi) is the rector and together, with family and friends, we have been here since the beginning. We started with one other family in 1995, when we rented a house that had a one-car garage, which we converted into a chapel. Soon, we moved into a home with a 2-car garage and suddenly our church capacity doubled! In 1999, we found a 1200 sq. ft. storefront wherein we set up a chapel, Orthodox bookstore, and small activity room. One year later, we were officially accepted into the Orthodox Church in American (OCA) and have been in the OCA Diocese of the West ever since.
Now, 17 years later we are in our third location and at times can handle 100+ worshippers, even though several may be spilling out into the hallways, dining area, kitchen, children’s room, and bookstore.
So far, we have pledges of $1.5 million toward a purchase, yet everything we look at in our West Los Angeles region is $2.5 million and up (mostly up). Our faith in God and in the generosity of others drives us forward, and at this point we have two serious properties on the table for review. Within 3 months we will need to generate another $500,000 in donations, as we prepare for the loan we will be taking out as a church to make the final purchase.
Those who help to build a church are called “Church Founders,” and they are deeply revered in Orthodoxy. As upholders of the “chief corner stone” their generosity will allow for a church to stand on a firm foundation until the very Second Coming of Christ. And at every communion service throughout the ages, the church prays for its founders in the litanies.
Both in the Old and New Testaments, references are given to the chief corner stone. St. Paul explains this to the Ephesians in this way:
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you are also being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” [Ephesians 2:19-22]
We know that the Lord blesses us in these times and forever. Thank you so very much for considering this request.