Religion News: May 2018

Carolyn Rhondeau plays familiar songs at Mountainside. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Tea Party Offers Refreshment, Comfort to Mountainside Elders

For the past 18 years, a group of volunteers from Emmanuel Episcopal Church have visited the residents of Mountainside Senior Living in Crozet twice a month. Tuesday afternoon is the time for these long-running gatherings, first organized by Gren and Jeri King, who also continue as regular volunteers. Church members meet in the dining room of Mountainside at 2:30 on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. They come bearing cakes and cookies, chips and cupcakes, but there’s another purpose to their visit, said Liz Huffman. Visitors greet residents with smiles and hugs. In April, Carolyn Rhondeau played popular songs with a springtime theme, then launched into old hymns, as many residents sang along. Nancy Avery made the rounds with Pearl, a puppy she’s training to be a service dog. Alice Sirianna, a geriatric nurse, made sure that everyone present received a few minutes of individual attention. 

“Some of the residents come every time and do not have many other visitors,” said Mountainside administrator Penny Goldman. She said there’s also a twice-monthly men’s group from Emmanuel that offers companionship and counseling to Mountainside’s men, offered by Gren King and John Poor. 

St. Nicholas Turns 20

The St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Greenwood celebrated its 20th birthday with a festive service and lunch in late April. The occasion was marked by the attendance of spiritual leader Metropolitan Antony and other attendants. In keeping with tradition, the visitors were welcomed with flowers, as well as bread and salt.

Metropolitan Antony greets St. Nicholas congregation.

In the remarks during and after the service, Met. Antony noted that while most Orthodox churches serve fairly stable communities, the local church ministers to a constantly changing group of faithful, representing the fluid community of students and professors at the University of Virginia.

Fr. Robert Holet of St. Nicholas said that even in the course of those short stays, “the parish has been deeply touched by so many faithful people coming from a variety of backgrounds.” It’s been a journey, he recalled, with early liturgies being held in various temporary homes including a Holiday Inn and attended by memorable people, including a man wrongfully imprisoned, a woman who in retirement became a full-time missionary, and two members who went on to become ordained in the church.

While at the church, Met. Antony consecrated the icon of Christ Pantocrator recently installed in the dome of the church sanctuary.




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