Category Archives: LUM Staff

LUM Website — Offers Many New Features

website


After over 18 months of planning, copy-writing, and designing, LUM is thrilled to announce the launch of the new LUM website. Many thanks to Sylvia Mohler for her work designing and maintaining the former site for several years.

The new website was produced by the new LUM webmaster, Pablo Malavenda. Additional thanks go out to Wintek Corporation for their technical support and to the LUM volunteer IT consultant, Greg Veldman.

LUM is confident that you will find our new website much easier to find what you need — and to make your connection to LUM more meaningful. The launch of the new LUM website was celebrated this week at a reception where Malavenda was able to share some of the exciting new features (pictured below).


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Having a strong web-presence is vital for today’snonprofits — and LUM is thankful to all of those who have made it possible for Lafayette Urban Ministry to have (in our humble opinion) the best website around. Please take some time to browse around our new website soon—www.lumserve.org.


Highlights of the New LUM Website


 

  • Easy to find LUM Program information
  • Easy to find LUM Volunteer opportunities
  • Easy to Donate online using secure PayPal links
  • Online Volunteer Applications now available
  • Online Registration & payment for events like Hunger Hike, HH5K Run & Follies
  • Online volunteer sign up for events like the Community Thanksgiving Celebration
  • Google Map to easily get directions to the LUM Office
  • Language translation feature translates any page using Google Translate
  • Live Weather posted for Downtown Lafayette
  • Calendar of LUM Events linked to Google Calendar
  • Blog posts for in depth look at LUM programs, clients, volunteers, events, staff, etc.

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New LUM Emergency Shelter Coordinator

ShelterCoordinatorKaleigh Basan is the new LUM Emergency Shelter coordinator. She is from Rockville, Indiana and is a student at Purdue University.

At Purdue, Kaleigh is working toward a degree in Human Services with a minor in Early Childhood with Exceptional Needs.

After graduation, she plans on pursuing a Master’s degree in children’s ministry. Kaleigh plans on continuing to do mission work and hopes to work in foster care, helping place children into better homes.

 

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Brouillette appointed to City Commission

{Pictured above, L to R: John Rivera, Susan Brouillette & Mayor Roswarski. Photo courtesy of the City of Lafayette.}

L to R: John Rivera, Susan Brouillette & Mayor Roswarski. Photo courtesy of the City of Lafayette.

Recently, LUM’s very own Susan Brouillette was sworn in by Mayor Tony Roswarski and City Clerk Cindy Murray as a member of the Lafayette Human Relations Commission along with John Rivera. In a statement from the City of Lafayette, it was shared that “Citizen involvement in local government is so important, and we welcome Susan & John.”

The City of Lafayette Human Relations Commission was created in 1968, and consists of nine citizens appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council.

The Commission’s main objectives are to end prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination in the City of Lafayette, to encourage respect and understanding of all individuals and groups, and to investigate complaints of discrimination in the City of Lafayette.

Congratulations to Susan Brouillette on this appointment!

 

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Meet LUM Volunteer – Jim Frantz

Jim Frantz is the new LUM Maintenance Volunteer with responsibilities for kitchen upkeep, routine maintenance, minor repairs, andJimFrantz handy-work.

Jim lives in Lafayette with his wife, Marilyn. Jim & Marilyn are members of the Lafayette Christian Reform Church and have three grown sons — all like their father, have served in the military — Navy, Air Force & Army. Their middle son, Matthew, was killed in action in January 2006 while serving in the US Army in Al Huwijah, Iraq.

Jim is retired from his work at the power plant at Purdue and his service with the Navy and the Army National Guard.

Please join us in welcoming Jim to LUM.

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LUM Announces New “Dream Team” Research Fund

LUM Founders Donate $40,000 to Initiate “Dream Team” Research Program


2014-09-17 Dream Team at Board Meeting 051 (2)

LUM Dream Team — the Rev. Don Nead, Thomas Hull Ph.D, the Rev. Ron Elly and James Davidson Ph.D

This week Lafayette Urban Ministry announced the creation of a new fund to support program-related research and evaluation at LUM — the LUM Dream Team Fund for Research and Evaluation. The LUM Dream Team members — James Davidson Ph.D, Thomas Hull Ph.D, the Rev. Don Nead, and the Rev. Ron Elly — were among the early planners and developers of what became the Lafayette Urban Ministry. In 1976, only four years after LUM was incorporated, these four individuals conducted a research study that led to the formation of the LUM board model of participating member churches, which is still in place today. (This study was funded by the Lilly Endowment.) Recently, the Dream Team gave a combined gift of $40,000 to LUM to start this new research program, whose purpose is to further research and evaluation to benefit the children and families served by the Lafayette Urban Ministry.

2015-01-12 DreamTeam 003 (2)

Joe Micon, LUM executive director, with LUM Dream Team members: Thomas Hull, James Davidson & Don Nead

The new Lafayette Urban Ministry Dream Team Fund will support research and evaluation that will foster LUM’s goals and address its needs.  Research funded by this permanent fund will document societal-level, state-level and local-level trends in poverty, explain fluctuations in various types of poverty, give the LUM board the data needed to modify its policies and programs and show how participation in these programs impacts low-income people over time. The Dream Team Fund will allow LUM to subsidize original studies, secondary analyses and meta-analyses of societal trends related to the causes and consequences of poverty, the circumstances that foster poverty among individuals in our community (and other comparable communities), the effects poverty has on Hoosiers and their families, churches efforts to serve the poor and build a more just and equitable society, and the implications that theses analyses have on the policies and programs of LUM and its member churches.

If you wish to invest in this research, please consider a donation to the LUM Dream Team Fund for Research & Evaluation. To donate, click here: http://lumserve.org/donate.html.

Additional information on the LUM Dream Team Fund, please call or email:

Joe Micon
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry
jmicon@lumserve.org
765-423-2691 office


To view the announcement of Lafayette Urban Ministry Dream Team Fund for Research & Evaluation with remarks from Joe Micon and Dr. James Davidson, click here:



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LUM Founders Donate $40,000 to Initiate “Dream Team” Research Program

LUM Founders Donate $40,000 to Initiate “Dream Team” Research Program

2014-09-17 Dream Team at Board Meeting 051 (2)

LUM Dream Team — the Rev. Don Nead, Thomas Hull Ph.D, the Rev. Ron Elly and James Davidson Ph.D

Lafayette, IN — A combined gift of $40,000 has been made to the Lafayette Urban Ministry by the LUM Dream Team — James Davidson Ph.D, Thomas Hull Ph.D, the Rev. Don Nead, and the Rev. Ron Elly. The purpose of the gift is to further social scientific research to benefit the children and families served by the Lafayette Urban Ministry.

Please join us for the announcement of the new Lafayette Urban Ministry Dream Team Fund for Social Scientific Research, learn more details about what will be accomplished and when, and meet and interview each of the four Dream Team members whose legacy will be honored through this fund.

  • What: Announcement of LUM Dream Team Fund for Social Scientific Research
  • Date: Monday, January 12, 2015
  • Time: 10:00 a.m.
  • Place: LUM Ray Ewry Program Center (525 N. 4th Street, Lafayette)

These four individuals were among the early planners and developers of what became the Lafayette Urban Ministry.  Each 2014-09-17 Dream Team at Board Meeting 039 (2)contributed to publish a 1976 Lilly Endowment funded evaluation of LUM that resulted in the original LUM board model of participating member churches.  They were the early “dreamers” of LUM if you will.

The new Lafayette Urban Ministry Dream Team Fund for Social Scientific Research will support research and evaluation that will foster LUM’s goals and address its needs.  Research funded by this permanent fund will document societal-level, state-level and local-level trends in poverty, explain fluctuations in various types of poverty, allow LUM the data it needs to modify its policies and programs and show how participation in LUM programs impacts low-income people over time.

2014-09-17 Dream Team at Board Meeting 052 (2)

The Fund will allow LUM to subsidize original studies, secondary analyses and meta-analyses of societal trends related to the causes and consequences of poverty, the circumstances that foster poverty among individuals in our community and other communities like it, the effects poverty has on Hoosiers and their families, churches efforts to serve the poor and build a more just and equal society and the policy and/or program implications theses analyses have for LUM and its member churches.

Contact:
Joe Micon
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry
jmicon@lumserve.org
765-491-0127 mobile
765-423-2691 office



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Mary Anderson celebrates 20 Years with LUM


2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 003 (3)Twenty years ago this month, Rev. Carl Malmgren saw something special in Mary Anderson and recommended that she be offered the three-month, part-time position with LUM to coordinate Jubilee Christmas 1994. Malmgren was a member of the LUM Board of Directors and was the chair of the search committee for this position. Joe Micon, executive director, was pleased with Mary’s work with Jubilee Christmas and invited her back in the Spring of 1995 to be the co-director of LUM Camp – another three-month, part-time position. Opportunities like this continued for Mary and in the next few years she served as the Shelter Director, the director of the Summer Lunch program and the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry Director.

In 1998, Mary found her niche when she became the director of the LUM Advocate Program, now known as the LUM Good Samaritan Fund Program. During these early years, Mary was also the director of the Summer Lunch Program and Jubilee Christmas. The LUM Board of Directors demonstrated their confidence in Mary’s work and ability when they asked her to serve as the interim LUM executive director from 2004-2008 (during Joe Micon’s leave of absence to serve as the Indiana State Representative for the 26th District). This was an important time for LUM because they were beginning a capital campaign which would enable LUM to initiate new programs and move into a new office building.

During her tenure with LUM, moving was nothing new. In 1994, Mary started her work with LUM on 8th Street; she served as the director of the food pantry out of a storefront on Main Street; and in 1995 moved to 525 N 4th Street, a new building that would serve as the LUM emergency shelter, youth programs center, and administrative offices. Her final move was in 2010 to her current office in the new administrative building at 420 N 4th Street.2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 010 (2)

Today, Mary Anderson could not be more perfectly suited for her role at LUM. Mary directs one program which she founded and another which she has enhanced and modified over the years – the ID Clinic and the Good Samaritan Fund Program, respectively. Reflecting on her 20 years of service to the LUM clients and families, Mary is confounded by how much has changed as well as how many things have not.

Mary looks to two pivotal points in our country’s history as catalysts for change in her work with low income families: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the recent recession. After 9/11, our country implemented laws and practices that greatly affected the poor and the homeless. Caring for the “least of us” is no longer a priority in our nation – as it was during the Great Depression and again in the 1960’s – and it may never be again. We must accept this and continue to do the best we can within those parameters. This has made Mary a strong advocate for eliminating the Voter ID law – which makes it very difficult for the homeless and low-income individuals to obtain picture ID and to vote. She is proud that her deposition was included in the US Supreme Court case brought against the Indiana Voter ID law.


2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 018 (2)


Mary enjoys getting to know those she serves. It gives her joy and hope to work face-to-face with individuals looking for a little bit of assistance to get past a difficult time. These interactions sometimes also give her some sad moments – especially when she sees poverty passed from one generation to the next. Before this recent recession, Mary saw mostly individuals who were “generationally” poor or “gradually” poor. Recently though there have been more and more individuals who are “suddenly” poor and in need of assistance for the first time in their lives. Individuals who used to help others are suddenly asking for help. Upon reflection, Mary shares that she couldn’t do this work if there wasn’t a social justice component at LUM. She is hopeful and see better days in the future only if there is a focus on changing our laws and priorities to serve each and every one of our neighbors.


2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 003 (2)


Through all of this, Mary still feels like she has the greatest job around. She emphasizes that one must be realistic on how much one’s able to offer – and must find ways to keep your perspective. Mary proudly proclaims that she has a life outside of the walls of LUM – and engages in some meaningful activities with her church. She also gives her family much of the credit for keeping her grounded. Originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mary met her husband while attending Purdue and has been here since. Today, Mary and Mike have three sons and four (of the world’s best) grandchildren.

Twenty years have flown by for Mary Anderson. But for this community, for LUM, for the families and individuals served by LUM – we are so much better off for Mary’s years of service – and her vision for what could be done at LUM which has served as a road map to a better future for all.

 



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My Jonah Experience – Freedom Summer 1964


Preface

don neadDon Nead (one of the original members of the LUM dream team and retired Presbyterian campus minister) and his wife, Caryl, were recently invited to an advanced screening of the PBS American Experience new film, Freedom Summer. When Don Nead responded to the invitation he shared that he had been directly involved in the Freedom Ballot work in Mississippi in the spring of 1964. WFYI then asked if Don would be willing to share some of his stories from that work. And of course his response was YES.
As a member of the Presbyterian Church USA staff working in Texas in the early 1960s, Don Nead had an opportunity to travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi in April of 1964 to participate in the voter registration initiative called the Freedom Ballot. Don’s eyes were soon open to the seriousness of the racial issues in Mississippi at the time and the difficulties faced particularly by African-Americans to simply register and vote — issues that have reappeared in today’s political landscape. It wasn’t until this invitation to attend the preview of the American Experience: Freedom Summer, that Don Nead wrote and spoke about his reflections and experiences of that historic work. Don Nead shared his story last week; and now he invites you — and LUM encourages you — to read his entire story below entitled “My Jonah Experience – Trip to Mississippi to Participate in the Freedom Ballot Voter Registration Campaign in Hattiesburg.”



My Jonah Experience
Trip to Mississippi to Participate in the Freedom Ballot Voter Registration Campaign in Hattiesburg, Mississippi – April 6-10, 1964

by Don Nead


50LogoSquare_new_450The Presbyterian Church, USA, was involved in the Civil Rights Struggle of the early 1960s in several different ways. Through its Social Education and Action program a Commission on Race and Religion was established with a staff of three at the national level. Since I was a member of the Board of Christian Education Field Staff I got to know this staff pretty well and spent time with them at national meetings of the Board. They were involved in recruiting PCUSA clergy to go to Hattiesburg in late 1963 and through the year of 1964. This was also true for a number of other denominations. The clergy involvement was to be as support and witnesses to the work of the “freedom ballot” workers who were attempting to register African-Americans to vote in the 1964 elections. It was a protest against the restrictive voting laws in the state of Mississippi.

I was living in Denton, Texas at the time and was a member of the Synod Staff of the United PCUSA (covering the states of Texas and Louisiana). Early in 1964 at a national meeting Metx Rollins, one of the staff members of the Commission on Religion and Race confronted me with an invitation to go to Hattiesburg and gave me the specific dates. I looked at my calendar and said that I was sorry but I had two commitments that particular week that were stated meetings and could not be moved. So he said OK, but they would call again. It was about three weeks later when I got call from Metx and he had another set of dates, and again I had conflicts and had to say no. Then about a month later he called again and this time I looked at my calendar and the week was without meetings, and so I had no other alternative then to say I would go.

After making the decision to make this journey I informed my boss, the Synod Executive, J. Hoytt Boles, that I was doing it and asked him if he would help me if I was arrested. He said that he could not support the idea of what I was doing, but that if I ran into trouble he would personally step up and help me with financial aid to pay for legal assistance, if I got into trouble.


Freedom Summer volunteers and locals canvass in Mississippi in 1964 to get black people to the polls. Photo by Ted Polumbaum/Newseum

Freedom Summer volunteers and locals canvass in Mississippi in 1964 to get black people to the polls. Photo by Ted Polumbaum/Newseum


So on the morning of April 6, 1964, I headed for Hattiesburg and arrived there in late afternoon. I had good directions and so I made my way to the church where we were to stay and where daily meetings were held to lay out the work of the day. The work to be done was picketing the courthouse for a couple of hours each day, generally in the morning. Then in the afternoon we were paired with a young African-American man to do canvassing in the black communities of Hattiesburg, to get people to register for the Freedom Ballot vote. Each evening in one of the African-American churches of Hattiesburg they held a prayer meeting and worship service. Each evening the service was closed with the singing of We Shall Overcome, and in that context this spiritual took on a new meaning for me, because it was sung not only as a prayer, but also a statement!


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In addition to the evening meetings and prayer services – which were always done with a spirit of hope and celebration, I have remembrances of five other happenings of that week. These encounters are as follows:


Encounter with a Mother and Daughter.

The mother was 92 years old and the daughter was 70. When we asked the mother if she wanted to register to vote – she responded with a strong affirmation, and then she looked at me and said Reverend – I would like to be able to vote at least on time before I die!


Encounter with a Man, who was Native American, Afro-American and Caucasian.

He was very bitter and angry, as he was looked at as a nobody. He had served in the military during WWII, but when he was discharged he came back home and was rejected because he was a mixture of three races. He responded when asked if he wanted to register, and his response was YES – so that he could vote NO!


Encounter with a Mississippi State Trooper.

That day I was paired off with an Afro-American college student who had dropped out of school for the semester to work on the Freedom Ballot Registration project. We had just finished canvassing a small neighborhood off of the state highway on the southeast edge of town and were heading for another pocket of residents about a half mile away. We were walking on the edge of the highway when this trooper pulled up in front of us and stopped. He got out and came back to us and basically ignored the young man with me and addressed me directly. He was very courteous to me, but he made it clear in no uncertain terms that I was not welcome to be in this county and Mississippi and that I should go back to where ever I had come from! And then he made it quite clear to me that while I was still in the state that I had better obey all of the laws.


A Break from the Tension on a Drive out into the County.

On one of the afternoons we had a break from the work to do; and so, another clergy person and I hopped into my car and drove out into the county for about an hour. That part of Mississippi is very pretty with rolling hills and beautiful wooded lands, as well as fields for crops. A lot of cotton but also other crops, but cotton was the high cash crop. It wasn’t until later that year that I realized how dumb we were to take that drive, when I heard the news about the disappearance of three white college students who were in Mississippi to work for the summer on the Freedom Ballot. Later they were discovered buried in an earthen dam in a location not far from Hattiesburg.


A New Mississippi Law Enacted on April 9, 1964.

At the strategy meeting on the last night that I was in Mississippi we planned the strategy for the next day. It had been announced earlier in the day that the State Legislature in Jackson, Mississippi had passed a law making it illegal to have a picket line on public property. We were quite aware that this new law was focused on the voter registration picket lines, and we felt sure that it would be enforced in Hattiesburg the next day. The decision at the strategy meeting that night was that the picket line would be put in place the next morning and stay until confronted by the state authorities. Since I had already made my decision to return to Texas the next morning I did leave before the picket line took its place in front of the courthouse. I have often thought, did I compromise my commitment to racial justice by not staying and confronting the authorities by engaging in an act of civil disobedience? After 50 years I still struggle with that question.


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The occasion that has finally bought me to the point of writing this experience was an invitation by WFYI – Channel 20, our public TV channel from Indianapolis, to attend a preview of the PBS American Experience film, Freedom Summer. In responding to the invitation I shared with them that I had been a participant in the Freedom Ballot work in the spring of 1964. Their response was, would you be willing to share some of your experience? I said YES, and then started doing some reflection and developed the outline for this piece of my work history.


It was one of those life experiences that stay with you throughout your whole life!



PBS American Experience – Freedom Summer

american-experience-freedom-summerAfter viewing the film last week, Don Nead encourages you to watch the PBS American Experience film, Freedom Summer — which premiers June 24, 2014 on PBS from 9-11 p.m. EST (locally on WFYI—Channel 20—Indianapolis).

Here is the PBS description of the film:

Over 10 memorable weeks in 1964 known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states.

More information about the American Experience: Freedom Summer film may be found on the PBS website — click HERE.



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Icon of Saint Xenia to be presented to LUM by Founder

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***


LUM Founder presents Icon of St. Xenia to Lafayette Urban Ministry


St Xenia 003

On Wednesday, May 21st, Don Nead – one of the founders of LUM – will present the Icon of St. Xenia to Lafayette Urban Ministry. Nead will present the Icon of St. Xenia, explain the significance of the icon, and share the story behind this historic gift. The Icon of St. Xenia will be on permanent display at Lafayette Urban Ministry.

Please join us for this event which will include presentation and remarks by Don Nead, the blessing of the Icon of St. Xenia by Father Gregory Allard (St. Alexis Orthodox Church, Lafayette), an opportunity to meet the LUM Board of Directors, and light refreshments.


The Icon of St. Xenia Presentation event details are as follows:

  • Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – Meet the LUM Board; 6:45 p.m. – LUM Board business meeting; 7:00 p.m. – presentation and blessing of the Icon of St. Xenia
  • Place: Lafayette Urban Ministry, 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, Indiana

The journey that led Don Nead to commission this piece and present it to LUM is quite interesting. This presentation of the Icon of St. Xenia to LUM was 26 years in the making – going back to 1988, the Millennial celebration of the Russian Orthodox Church. Don Nead traveled to St. Petersburg in 1988 and again in 2012 – resulting in commissioning the Icon and presenting it to LUM. Don Nead, a retired Presbyterian campus minister, was struck by the story of St. Xenia and the parallels of her story to the mission of Lafayette Urban Ministry.


Please join us on Wednesday, May 21st at the LUM Office to see the Icon of St. Xenia and be a part of this historic presentation.


Contacts:

Joe Micon
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry
Phone: 765.423.2691
Email: jmicon@lumserve.org

Mary Anderson
Program Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry
Phone: 765.423.2691
Email: manderson@lumserve.org

Don Nead
Phone: 765.491.7267
Email: donnead@aol.com

####


To read a written account of the entire story written by Don Nead, click HERE.



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Icon of Saint Xenia Arrives at LUM

Icon of Saint Xenia Arrives at Lafayette Urban Ministry

By Don Nead


This is the story of the weaving of the fabric that brought the Icon of Saint Xenia of St. Petersburg, Russia to the Lafayette Urban Ministry in Lafayette, Indiana in the USA.

In 1988 two threads of this story took place. The first was the canonization of Xenia Grigoryevna Petrova (1719/1730-c.1803) as St. Xenia of St. Petersburg by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church during the year of the Millennial celebration of the church. Xenia Grigoryevna Petrova had been wedded to Colonel Andrey Fyodorovich Petrov, an officer in the Russian army and a chanter at the St. Andrew Cathedral. She was widowed at the age of 26 and she spent the rest of her life as a “fool for Christ,” giving away all that she had and serving the homeless, hungry, unemployed, and children in distress. She wandered the streets of St. Petersburg dressed in the military coat of her deceased husband.

The second thread of the story was on one of my trips to the Soviet Union to celebrate the Millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church. I was in Leningrad (renamed St. Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet in 1990’s) and was taken to the chapel and gravesite of St. Xenia in a cemetery on Vasilievsky Island in the Smolenka River in the northwest of the city. After hearing her story and seeing the Chapel of St. Xenia, I acquired a small reproduction of St. Xenia which hangs on the wall of my study even as I write this story.

The third thread in this fabric didn’t occur until late in 2011 when my wife Caryl and I made the decision to make a trip to Russia late in 2012. In preparation for this trip, I attempted to revive some of my contacts from my earlier trips into the USSR and then into Russia after the fall of the Soviet. In the late 80’s an organization that I helped organize at University Church at Purdue in 1983 called the John T. Conner Center for US-USSR Reconciliation developed a “sister church” program. This program was designed to make connections between churches of the USSR with churches in the US.

St Xenia 003One of the successful sister church relations was between the Community of Our Lady of Fyodorovskaya, St. Petersburg, Russia and First Presbyterian Church of Middletown, Ohio. It still has connections and visits between the members of both communities. I had visited First Church when a small Russian delegation was present, back in the late 1990’s. One of the members of that delegation was the daughter of one of my good friends from my previous visits to St. Petersburg, Fr. Vladimir Sorokin, whom I first met in 1984 when he was a priest at St. Nicholas in St. Petersburg. In 1986 he became the Director of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. It just so happens that the priest of Our Lady of Fyodorovskaya is Fr. Alexander Sorokin, son of Fr. Vladimir. Just a side note for any who read this, this church was the one located near the Theological Academy that had been converted to a dairy in the Soviet period and had pipes running out of its roof. Since the fall of the Soviet it has been returned to the church and restored.

In an effort to renew contacts in St. Petersburg I called the pastor of First Presbyterian in Middletown and he was able to give me the names, address, and email addresses of several people in St. Petersburg who had been a part of contacts made between the two churches.

Through this, the fourth thread in the fabric was identified and that is an iconographer, Philip Davydov of St. Petersburg, who is the director of the Sacred Murals Studio of St. Petersburg. In making contact with Philip he was able to get me in contact with Fr. Sorokin. And so it was on our October 2012 trip to St. Petersburg that I was able to visit with Fr. Vladimir and renew an old friendship. It was a beautiful renewing of our friendship and exciting to see him in his new position as Dean of the Cathedral of St. Prince Vladimir in St. Petersburg. At the conclusion of our time together he asked if there was anything that he could do for us to make our trip to Russia complete. I responded by asking if there was anyone in the congregation that we could employ for the next day to serve as a guide and interpreter. His response was yes he could and also he would supply us with a car and a driver.

So the next morning enters yet another thread in the fabric and this is our meeting with our interpreter for the day, a young lady, Olga Makarova, a member of St. Prince Vladimir Cathedral. She teaches English to Russian speakers and Russian to English speakers at the University and the Theological Academy. We also met another Vladimir who was our driver both the day before, and then again for this day. We had a delightful day with both of them and got to see more of St. Petersburg as a result.

The follow up with Olga occurred when we returned back to West Lafayette and I checked my email, and lo and behold Olga had found me on Facebook. She had sent us a message welcoming us back home and hoped that we had a good journey. Early in the summer of 2013 we received an email from Olga that she accepted a job in the Russian House at William and Mary University in Williamsburg, Virginia. She was coming to serve as a tutor in the fall semester and as a teacher and tutor during the spring semester.

Now yet to another thread in this fabric. In the fall of 2013 I developed and taught a six week class on Eastern Orthodoxy and used my many experiences with the Russian Church as my window into the world of Orthodoxy. As I developed this class I realized that I had to spend one session on the subject of icons and their significance in the world of the Eastern Church. I relied on the internet, as well as my contacts with Philip Davydov and Olga Makarova. Olga gave me the insight of a lay person and Philip gave me his insight as one who writes icons as well as frescoes and other pairing of religious objects. Let me insert at this point for the non-Orthodox, icons are not painted but are written and follow a very rigorous discipline in their creation as they are regarded as windows into Heaven.

It was through the preparation for this class that I had re-visited the Icon of St. Xenia and I began to think about my long contact and relationship with Lafayette Urban Ministry. I was involved in the evolution of this organization in its beginnings as a consultant and then again after ten plus years in expanding the rationale for such an approach to the urban scene. A few weeks after this thinking I received word from Olga that she was going to be going home over the Christmas season. Then my mind started clicking and I wondered if Philip Davydov would be interested in writing an icon of St. Xenia for me to present to LUM.

I contacted Philip and we exchanged emails over the next couple of weeks. He suggested that he would like to do an icon of Jesus feeding the 5000 for placement with LUM. Then I explained to him that such an icon would be an excellent one for LUM/St. John Food Pantry, but that the one of St. Xenia would be better for the office of LUM. Then I identified Xenia for Philip as the first of the urban ministers in the Christian tradition. I further suggested that maybe he could do two icons for us, one for the office and one for the Food-Pantry. He responded very graciously and said that he would do the two. Then I moved quickly to contact Fr. Bradley Pace of St. John’s to get his endorsement of the placing of a Russian Icon on one of the walls of the Food Pantry. Fr. Pace’s response was affirmative. Following this conversation then I called a friend, who is Orthodox and a member of St. Alexis our local Eastern Orthodox Church, to see if Fr. Gregory, the priest at St. Alexis, would be willing to be involved in the process. Fr. Gregory has committed to doing a blessing of the icon at the time of the public recognition of it at the office of LUM. This will be done sometime in the near future.

Finally, I asked Philip as to when he could have the one of St. Xenia finished, explaining to him that I had a courier who would be St Xenia 002willing to bring it back to the states after her Christmas visit in St. Petersburg. His response was yes it would be done, but that he needed information from Olga for the permit to take the icon out of Russia. This was done and Olga went home with a mission to return with the icon in January.

A running question with this was how would we get it to the Lafayette area. Part of what kicked this whole thing off was the fact that Caryl and I had planned to go to Williamsburg in January to spend time with Olga. So on January 19, 2014, Olga passed the icon on to me to bring back to Lafayette.

St Xenia 001Upon returning to Lafayette we left the package intact until we could arrange a time with Joe Micon, Director the Lafayette Urban Ministry, to meet with Caryl and me to unpack the icon. This was done on February 6, 2014. It was a very inspiring event for the three of us as we unpacked the icon. The three of us were very excited to view this icon of one of the first urban ministers in the life of the Christian community. It was quite an ecumenical experience, Caryl an Episcopalian, Joe Micon a Roman Catholic, and myself a retired Presbyterian Campus Minister, admiring an icon of a Saint in the Russian Orthodox Tradition.

Now the fabric has been woven and we are ready to place the first icon in the office of LUM in the near future. In all of this I see the world of the computer and the internet as agents of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Amen.

This event is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 21, 2014 in the evening in the office of the Lafayette Urban Ministry, at 420 N. 4th Street, in downtown Lafayette, Indiana.



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Filed under Giving, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, LUM Staff, St. John's/LUM Food Pantry