Hierarchical Divine Liturgy - 11/21/2004Torrance, California
The weekend of November 20-21 reflected the joy of the theme, ‘With God, All Things Are Possible’, at St. Matthew parish in Torrance, California celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Starting with Great Vespers, officiated by His Grace, Bishop Joseph, of the new Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, the glorious weekend was capped by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, celebrated as well with Fr. Simeon Corona, Pastor, Fr. Paul Doyle, Pastor Emeritus, Fr. Duane Pederson, Archdeacon George Shishim and Deacon Joseph Harb (of West Palm Beach, Florida, and a long-time friend of Fr. Simeon and the parish). Sandwiched in between the services was the celebratory banquet at the Blue Gill Restaurant along the waterfront of Redondo Beach.
The banquet featured messages by several founders of the parish, along with inspiring presentations by the clergy and His Grace. Master of Ceremonies was the Parish Council Chair, Steve Kary, who reflected on the theme. Barsoum Barsoum presented a powerpoint show, featuring pictures of our parish family from its first days as a Mission Station in 1983. Named to be under the tutelage of St. Matthew in December 1984, the parish has grown to serve the large South Bay communities of Los Angeles County.
Parish ‘old-timers’ Ron Zraick and Phil Tamoush reminded the 100 banquet attendees of the early days of the mission, which was founded by St. Luke parish of Garden Grove in Orange County as its 25th Anniversary ‘gift’ to the Archdiocese. Support was provided by clergy of both the Antiochian and OCA jurisdictions, as the parish established as its priority goal the desire to provide a true worship experience without an ethnic ethos, but rather a uniquely (in those early days) American English-language experience. The parish has grown and flourished with that attitude, and a wonderful congregation that itself chants the whole liturgy without a separate choir. The beauty of 100 voices singing from the nave cannot be matched as a worship experience. His Grace reminded those gathered of the struggles implicit in a small parish having to take all the steps necessary to maintain a priest like Fr. Simeon and his family as we grow together. Bishop Joseph challenged the congregation to remember its spiritual history and to continue to grow in Christ. Other speakers at the banquet remembered the early struggles to bring together peoples in the area from all backgrounds, Arabic, Russian, Romanian, Serbian, Greek, Egyptian, as well as converts from various Protestant and Catholic origins.
The Liturgy on Sunday, attended by over 200 South Bay communicants capped an inspirational weekend. As Fr. Simeon reflected in his message in the ad book, we are now one generation old, and as we move on with new generations of leaders in the parish, we know that we can grow more and succeed. As was said by one of our founders, ‘the best is yet to come’.By: Subdeacon Philip Tamoush