Ministering in a University Town

Author: 
Fr. John Matusiak, Oca.org

Fr. Joshua Lollar administers the Sacrament of BaptismFr. Joshua Lollar administers the Sacrament of BaptismSVOTS alumnus Fr. Joshua Lollar (2006) and faithful recently took yet another step toward the establishment of a “permanent home” for St. Nicholas Mission in Lawrence, KS.

“We are in the process of remodeling a bungalow on its property for use as a chapel, while plans are made and funds are raised to build a temple,” said Fr. Joshua.  “All interior walls have been ripped out and a support beam has been installed to open up the space for liturgical use.  The community continues to clean up the surrounding property and is excited to begin the process of planting fruit trees for the establishment of a small orchard.”

The community welcomed two converts into the life of the Church in August and continues to pursue a variety of ministries, made possible in part due to funding it receives through the Orthodox Church in America’s Planting Grant program.St. Nicholas Mission construction projectSt. Nicholas Mission construction project

“Recently, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at KU participated in a work project with the OCF chapter from Omaha, NE, at Kansas City’s Reconciliation Services,” Fr. Joshua added.  “The Omaha OCF is led by Fr. Alexander Lukashonok of All Holy Spirit Greek Orthodox Church in Omaha.  Students helped clean out the basement of the building used by the ministry and had time to speak with Reconciliation staff members about ministry in the inner city.”

A number of KU students remained in Lawrence during the summer, so the OCF continued to gather weekly with Fr. Joshua for prayer, fellowship, and discussion of the book, Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit.” The group also braved the summer heat for a Kansas City Royals baseball game in July,” Fr. Joshua chuckled.

This fall, Fr. Joshua will be teaching his course on Western Religions again in KU’s Religious Studies department.  He also will be traveling to Berlin, Germany in September 2014 to participate in an international conference on the philosophy of Saint Maximus the Confessor, at which he will deliver a paper on Saint Maximus’s understanding of the consciousness of time.  His paper on the contemplation of nature in the Greek fathers has been accepted for inclusion in a volume dedicated to the 500th Anniversary of the repose of Saint Iosif Volotsky, which will be published by the Association for the Study of Eastern Christianity.