The Church in Southern California is growing! Saturday morning was a cool cloudy morning in LaVerne, CA, but many hearts were warmed by the glory of God and the joy of the growing Orthodox faith.
Fr. Damaskinos Alazrai, Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne, and Fr. John A. Peck, rector of All Saints of North America in Sun City, AZ gathered with family members for the baptism of Jeffrey Hutson, 37, of North Hollywood, CA after several months of catechism.
Mr. Hutson works as an air traffic controller, and must regularly and often travel back and forth from both coasts, making his catechism more difficult. Fr Damaskinos asked Fr John, who has decades of experience in teaching and catechizing people who wish to become Orthodox, to take charge of Jeffrey’s catechumenate and instruction in the Orthodox faith.
This man is the first in southern California, to be instructed in this manner, but not the last. Fr. John runs two online catechism classes per week, getting participants from several states, and even other countries. In southern California, there are already others who are making their preparations for baptism and entrance into the Orthodox faith. Fr. John actually visited one on his way into town, stopping to chat and drop off catechism materials. Fr. John runs the website ministry Journey to Orthodoxy. Soon, his work in southern California and far beyond will become well known.
The newly illumined took the name of Geoffrey after St. Geoffrey, Abbot and Confessor of Wearmouth and Jarrow in England (also known as St. Ceolfrith). An icon of the saint was present for the baptism.
Following the baptismal service, Fr. Damaskinos also presented the newly illumined Jeffrey, his fiance Katya, and his sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Haitham and Abbey Khoury with crosses of a matching design to commemorate this special event. Afterwards, a magnificent feast took place with great joy put on by Mr. and Mrs. Khoury at their home.