St. John The Divine Orthodox Church Welcomes You!
Faces of St. John The Divine
A Note From Fr. Constantine
As of September the 26th 2015, St. John the Divine Church passed a major milestone: it celebrated its 100th birthday! I am in the fortunate position of being the priest while this Church crosses the 100-year line that all the many, many, faithful and clergy before me earned with their blood, sweat, and tears!
You see a hundred years ago a group of faithful Orthodox Christians, took a risk and bought a piece of land adjacent to the Ford plant, where most of them worked. So much has changed since then, but that vision of those faithful founders has not changed but survived, planting Orthodoxy in Windsor.
There’s a remarkable picture of a group of men, hand digging out the church hall. It is remarkable because all they had were shovels, pick-axes and wheelbarrows. Their great physical effort proved their faith that they believed this church was here to stay!
I have often said that I wish the church walls could talk what stories would be told: of marriages-baptisms-more marriages and funerals. I like to reflect on all the holiness, ie. all the Paschas, all the Divine Liturgies, all the times bread and wine became the Body and Blood of Christ! All the rejoicing, all the celebrations as well as all the heartaches and sorrow, all the lives that this church has changed, and all the souls that received salvation and how the vision of Orthodoxy of those first faithful, survived.
But its ethnic diversity was also its vulnerability for it had continual attrition as whole ethnic groups left to form their own churches. St. John is the Mother Orthodox Church of Windsor.
Interestingly, the diversity of people which once caused its attrition is now St. John’s strength for we attract mixed marriages where one spouse speaks only English, enquirers to Orthodoxy and many who simply attend to worship God and not practice their ethnic heritage.
I wonder if those founders in 1915 thought about the possibility of this day, 100 years in the future. They built a sturdy church for often contractors who have worked on it have noted that St. John could serve as a tornado shelter with its 18 inch thick walls and a roof that could support the weight of elephants. In other words, it is built to last.
But that is what contractors see, but what I see is the steadfast faith of followers of Christ Jesus, in this church community both then and now, that made it last because throughout the past 100 years the faithful have survived.
So you see why I feel so privileged, on the 100th anniversary, enjoying this history making day in the life of St. John the Divine Orthodox Church, for so many faithful, who went before me made this day possible.
But at the same time, I can picture many people who are now contributing their time, talents, and treasure with that same resilience, a faithful vision, so it would not just survive but thrive! So as I thought about this 100th birthday I am encouraged by what the next 100 years will bring?
I pray that the Holy Trinity will continue to bless the faithful of St. John the Divine, so that, our Orthodox faith, the vision that was born 100 years ago in Windsor, will be passed on to many more generations to come!