After a year of renovations, St John Cassian Chapel had its first services in their new temple, located at 1731 13th St N, in Bessemer, Alabama, this past weekend.
Move in day on Saturday the 5th was a herculean effort by members of the mission. We began by taking down, packing, and loading up all of the furnishings, furniture, and holy things at the old chapel space, and hauling it over to the new building. The painters were still finishing up as we were moving things in, so it was a bit tricky at times to get things in without disturbing them or messing up the new paint. The ladies worked hard, cleaning and mopping the space to clear out the sheet-rock dust and other debris associated with any construction project, and the men of the mission began the task of unloading and placing the liturgical furniture and boxes (mostly of icons!) into the space.
Everyone worked exceptionally hard, and that evening, Priest Justinian Burnett blessed the building before beginning Great Vespers. At the end of the service, he thanked everyone who came and worked so hard, and who stayed for the first service in the building.
On Sunday, February the 6th, the Sunday of Zaccheus and of the commemoration of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Priest Justinian served Matins and Divine Liturgy, and during the homily he pointed out that just as salvation came to the house of Zaccheus when the Lord went to stay there, salvation had come to this new house of God, raised to His glory and to the glory of the mission’s patron, St John Cassian. There were 20 in attendance, and 16 partook of the Holy Mysteries. After the Divine Liturgy, the community shared a potluck meal and fellowship. In all, it was a joyful celebration, and a milestone achievement for the little community that began just over 7 years ago meeting in the living room of two of the parishioners for reader’s typika.