On April 30, 2015, St. Vladimir's alumnus Fr. James Bozeman (SVOTS 2012) and the faithful of St. James Church in Beaufort, S.C. marked their patronal feast day with the celebration of the blessing of the newly acquired site on which their future church will be built.
Joining them were Fr. James' former classmate Archimandrite Gerasim (also Class of 2012), administrator of the Diocese of the South for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA); the Very Reverend Marcus Burch (SVOTS 1997), chancellor of the Diocese; alumnus the Very Reverend Thomas Moore, dean of the Carolinas Deanery; Alumnus Fr. John Parker, chair of the OCA's Department of Evangelization; and Fr. Christopher Foley, priest-in-charge of Holy Cross Church, Highpoint, NC.
Archimandrite Gerasim offered an inspiring sermon that illumined the true purpose for which God gives land to His people—to provide a place for His people to keep His commandments.
St. James Mission was planted on April 30, 2012 with the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon. Father James, who was assigned Priest-in-charge two months later, celebrated the community's first Divine Liturgy on July 1, 2012. The mission was initiated under the direction of Fr. John Parker and the efforts of three Beaufort families who met in a classroom of a local Baptist church. St. James—one of five mission communities receiving a Planting Grant from the Orthodox Church in America—has grown to 20 families who meet in a rented facility.
"I am grateful to our parishioners for their support and vision for the future of our mission," said Fr. James. "We began with a small handful of people, meeting in a borrowed space, and possessing very few of the things we needed to celebrate divine services. In less than three years, through the support of our local sister churches, our deanery and diocese, and the OCA's Planting Grant, God has regularly provided for our mission's needs. By His grace, St. James is becoming a true 'Church family' with a vision not only for a beautiful building on a beautiful piece of land, but for Christ's name to be proclaimed in its fullness here in Beaufort and in coastal South Carolina."
Along with a goal of raising funds, breaking ground and building within the next five years, Fr. James and his parishioners continue to focus on missionary outreach in Beaufort and in building on this foundation a strong, growing and spiritually healthy Church community.