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Successful PLC is Held in "The City of Holy Faith"

Bible BowlBible BowlVIEW THE PLC PHOTO ALBUM​​​​​​​​

In June 2018, the largest gathering of Orthodox Christians in the 420-year history of Santa Fe, New Mexico occurred during the Diocese of Wichita Parish Life Conference. It was held for the first time ever in this city and state and was hosted by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. Santa Fe is the oldest city in New Mexico and one of the oldest in the United States. Santa Fe is known as "The City of Holy Faith" and also "The City Different." It is the oldest continuous seat of government in America and yet, the true seat of government – the Altar of God and the greatest event in the cosmos – was celebrated by dozens of clergy and our Beloved Bishop, His Grace Bishop BASIL, during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

The location was the Eldorado Hotel and Spa and the conference attendees enjoyed the largest Hospitality Suite in the history of PLCs! It was in the hotel's Presidential Suite with more than 1,500 square feet of interior space and a 2,200 square foot penthouse patio offering stunning panoramic views of the city and the Sangre de Christo Mountains.

The youth service project was a very special event. The teens completed an ecological landscaping project which was based on a water catchment to maximize rain runoff from the street and funnel it into a garden walking path. The teens planted seeds which should beautify the space next spring. They also painted rocks with scriptures to witness to people who come to walk the park. Future plans are being made for fruit trees and any fruit will be shared with local groups who feed the less fortunate. Feedback we received from the youth was their delight in being able to actually complete a full project at a PLC.

The Kids' Club made trips to two local museums where they learned about art and got to try their hands (and faces!) at making some interesting works of art!

A final note about the Santa Fe PLC is about our parish itself. We are a small parish with a large footprint – many parishioners live outside of Santa Fe. Hosting the PLC was a challenge for us and we give glory to God, through the prayers of the saints that it was one of the best PLCs ever with 454 registrants!

The workshops offered were:

  • "Fostering a Nurturing Community: Problems and Addicts Welcome" – Fr. Seraphim and Kh. Masha Gisetti, St. John Chrysostom, Lakewood, CO
  • "Orthodox Missions in China and Japan: Practical Lessons for Evangelism" – Fr. Symeon Kees, St. George, Houston, TX
  • "Fasting and Feeding the Hungry" – Ashley Veronika Zappe, Holy Trinity, Santa Fe, NM
  • "Asceticism of Parenting: A Conversation about Orthodox Parenting" – Dn. Thom Crowe, St. Antony the Great, Tulsa, OK
  • "The Blessed Surgeon Speaks to a Modern World" – Dn. Luke Stauffer, St. Thomas, Fredricksburg, TX
  • "Antioch: From BC to Yesterday, AD" – Fr. Joseph Honeycutt, St. Joseph, Houston, TX
  • "Silence: Not for the Fainthearted" – Isaac Sandretto, Holy Trinity, Santa Fe, NM
  • Hieromonk Silouan of Archangel Michael gave keynote presentation: "Only With the Heart Does One See Rightly: Holiness and Ontology in Acts 2:42"

The Executive Committee for the PLC planning was led by The Very Rev. John Bethancourt and had three Co-Chairs: The Reverend Deacon John Shumack, Peggy Katherine Powers and Shary Magdalene Tompkins. We had two Treasurers: Nathan Lemons and Susanna Eagan. Shamassy Mari Basilea Bonilla was our Secretary. Other key committee leads were: Ben Anthony Dolan-Fundraising, Claire Monica Brandenburg-Vendors, Phil McClanahan/Acacia McCombs-Registration, Macrina Lewis-Kids/Teens, Katie Doyle-Hospitality, Isaac Sandretto-Worship.​

​For the Bible Bowl this year, we had 2 Pre-Teen Teams, 10 Teen Teams, and 5 Adult Teams. This year's Teen Bible Bowl winners were from St. George in Houston, TX, and the Adult Team winners were from St. John Chrysostom in Lakewood, CO. The Oratorical winner from DOWAMA was Cassidy Lee Irwin from St. Paul's in Katy, TX, who also won the national competition.

Additionally, Subdeacon Miguel Sifuentes of St. George in El Paso, Texas was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by The Right Rev. Bishop BASIL at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Saturday, June 16th.