Our parish in Lake Odessa, Michigan, named in honor of St. Herman of Alaska, celebrates their annual feast day on the very day that most Americans celebrate the Nativity of our Lord: 12/25 December. This alignment of dates provides both benefits and drawbacks. For those who do not have many non-Orthodox relatives celebrating Christmas this day it is possible to come to the feast without any difficulties, even from throughout the vast Michigan Deanery. For those with many non-Orthodox relatives celebrating Christmas this day, attending the feast day services in Lake Odessa can indeed be a challenge.
On the eve of the feast the Rector of the parish, Archpriest Michael Carney, led the Divine Services with parish Deacon Elias Reeves. On the feast itself Fr. Michael bolstered the parish choir and Dean of Michigan Parishes, Archpriest Gregory Joyce, led the Divine Liturgy with Deacon Elias.
Following the Divine Liturgy, at which most of the many faithful who gathered partook of the Holy Mysteries, the parish offered a meal to those in attendance. Many lingered far into the afternoon discussing the day’s activities, feast days past in Lake Odessa, the the future of the parish’s efforts to bring the Gospel to those living in this rural area of mid-Michigan.