Sunday, 12 September 2010, we were truly blessed to be part of a banquet celebrating 110 years of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in Madison, IL. We wanted to be there for several reasons:
First, our friends of many decades, Steve and Nancy Rydgig are members there;
Second, we know people there and it was good to be with them on such an occasion;
Third, but not least: Metropolitan JONAH was present.
His Beatitude is most certainly a blessing to the Church! As you know, his journey to his present office was a pretty quick one ... and his becoming Metropolitan of the OCA wasn't one of those "planned" things, from what I read. He is a humble man, a true shepherd.
He noted that in this parish of more than five generations, those generations were evident in the people of every age present. From wee infants to the grand parents and great grand parents of those wee ones, all were present. He spoke of family, of our union in Christ, and of our mission to welcome all to that family with open arms.
After the "official" banquet, Katherine and I were able to spend a few moments with His Beatitude. We gave him one of the pens that I turn .. .but while we were doing that he was most interested in the folk dance going on right in front of us! It was a joy to see him with the children: he allowed one young lady to thoroughly examine the large medallion that he wears as symbol of office, and he seemed to enjoy having his picture taken with children and adults alike.
It was a joyous day!
We pray that His Beatitude will have strength for his many duties, and truly give glory to God for all things!