Langley BC Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church 1975
Langley, BC, Church of Saint Herman of Alaska, 1975
In 1971, at Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dr. Edward Paul and Vivian Maria Hartley entered the Orthodox Christian Church with their family. They had been drawn by the beauty of icons and the faithfulness of Holy Orthodoxy to the apostolic Christian Faith. They soon felt the need of an English-language Orthodox parish in which to raise their children and to draw others into Orthodoxy.
In 1975, a group of parishioners from the predominately Russian-speaking Holy Resurrection Church in Vancouver, decided to begin an English-speaking mission in the Lower Mainland. This was an undertaking that was blessed by the saintly Bishop Joasaph (Antoniuk) of thrice-blessed memory, who was the rector of Holy Resurrection at the time. He had true paternal love for Dr. Edward Paul and Vivian Maria Hartley (†2013), who were the leaders of this small missionary group.
A few faithful persons, encouraged by this blessing, gathered regularly with Edward and Vivian Hartley, and they began to hold Reader’s services in their private back-yard domestic chapel (which Bishop Joasaph also blessed with the name of Saint Herman of Alaska). This was in Whalley/Surrey. Dr. Hartley, a self-taught iconographer, produced a large quantity of hand-painted icons of various feasts and saints of the Church. These were the first icons to be used by the mission, and very many icons produced by “the good doctor” were the first icons to be used in very many mission communities in western Canada.
Fruits of prayer and faithfulness
Eventually, they found a priest who would serve them, the Priest Stephen Slipko, then of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA under Metropolitan Andrey (Kuschak). Thus it happened that the English mission was received into this Ukrainian jurisdiction (even though none of its members was Ukrainian, and all its services were in English).
The mission (which for a time bore the name of Saint Nicholas, Langley) was served by a succession of clergy, some resident, some visiting. One of the more notable of these was the Priest Andrew Morbey. By 1986, the mission was again without a priest. After a year of holding Reader’s services in the back-yard chapel, through the arranging of the (then bishop-elect) Priest Seraphim (Storheim), they learned that a seminarian at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, soon to graduate, was interested in coming to Canada in order to do English mission work. This candidate, the Priest Lawrence Farley (originally a Canadian), arrived in Vancouver, and he led some services and visited the people of the mission in May, 1987. The mission parish decided then to “return home” to The Orthodox Church in America so that Father Lawrence could be assigned by Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor) (then locum-tenens for the Archdiocese of Canada. Thus, after 10 years of ups and downs and various clergy and jurisdictions, the little community had come into the Archdiocese of Canada under the patronage of Saint Herman of Alaska and there was a new and permanent pastor.
Foundation within the Archdiocese of Canada
From 1987, the mission parish, now newly-returned to the OCA, continued to hold services in the Hartleys' backyard domestic chapel while Father Lawrence served the small community and worked full-time at a series of secular jobs in order to support his wife, Donna, and their 2 young daughters. The mission grew in size, and it eventually outgrew the original cozy chapel. By this time, the mission community was tending to overwhelm the Hartley residence by their numbers. The mission then found rented quarters for a time, first in an Anglican church in Surrey, and then for a longer time in a century-old disused but historical United Church in Langley (the former Saint Andrew's Presbyterian/United Church at 9025, Glover Road). This is in the Milner rural village of Langley Township. During this rental period, the pews were removed and an iconostas was constructed (everything removable).
Growth ; necessary moves ; the work of yeast
At length, the parish grew enough that Father Lawrence could resign from his secular job in order to serve the parish on a full-time basis. By this time, the mission parish consisted mostly of young people, students, and young families. Although, of course, the community is welcoming to Orthodox persons of all ethnic traditions, it nevertheless consists largely of converts. For many years, parishioners have found the community through various means. Living in many different places all over the Lower Mainland, many of the flock live an hour’s drive or more distant. They continue to be very zealous in their missionary activity.
On 1 April, 2007, the Subdeacon Kurt Edward Jordan was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at Saint Herman's Church. He continued to take an active part in parish life while he pursued studies towards becoming a physician.
More than 4 young men, converts within the parish, pursued a call to serve the Church in Holy Orders. Some of them have left the parish in order to take more formal education in preparation for fulfilling this goal. They have all been involved in other missionary activities.
A “daughter” mission was founded in Comox-Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, under the heavenly protection of the Holy Apostle Barnabas, and it was led by a former parishioner. The next such mission became the parish of All Saints of Alaska in Victoria (on Vancouver Island), which was re-established under the leadership of a former parishioner, and it was next led by a friend of Saint Herman’s parish. The next mission became the Church of Saint John of Shanghai in Vancouver, led by a former parishioner, and it became a visible testimony for the Orthodox Christian Faith in central Vancouver. The next mission became the Church of Saint Aidan in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and it was founded by a former parishioner. The second priest to serve there was also a former parishioner. The next mission established was the Mission of the Holy Apostles in Chilliwack, British Columbia. It was founded by yet another former parishioner. All are “children” of the parish of Saint Herman of Alaska in Surrey/Langley.
A new building
In the meantime, the community, which had become the Church of Saint Herman of Alaska, purchased a new building of its own in the city of Langley. It has long been hoped to expand this facility and to rework it so that it would better accommodate the large size of the congregation. However, there are very many obstacles to these plans, and the community does its best to accommodate the steadily increasing numbers of people and the many activities that occur in this space. “Patience, prayer and work accomplish all in Christ”. In moving to the new building, the parishioners discovered how to make improvised bells by custom-cutting metal tanks. Until such a time when other, standard bells might be available, these improvised bells were found to make an adequate substitute.
Forty years of English language parish life and service in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia were celebrated at Saint Herman’s Church in Langley during 2016.
The first event of the year took place in the parish library on Sunday, 24 January. At the end of the Sunday Divine Liturgy, the clergy went in procession to the Hartley Library (as it is now known). They squeezed into the small room along with parish founder Dr. Edward (Reader Paul) Hartley and his family. Dr. Hartley’s daughters Andrea and Maria (son-in-law Gavin Campbell) and grandson Herman took turns hammering in the nails to mount commemorative materials on the wall, including a plaque, an icon of Saint Herman made for the parish by Dr. Hartley, a photograph of Dr. Hartley and his late wife Vivian, and a Paschal poem written by Vivian Maria, previously published in "The Handmaiden", a journal for Orthodox women. Subdeacon James Hartley, their son, was absent at the time, because he was out of the country. Father Lawrence then blessed all the family members with holy water, and the tropar of Saint Herman was sung by all.
Hartley Library with Dr. Edward Paul Hartley in the centre
Persistence and hard work have been rewarded in Christ with growth, and the Langley building now owned by the parish came to include the small room off the narthex which in 2009 was converted to an Orthodox library. It was all organised by Vivian and her daughter Andrea, and then decorated by Diakonissa Victoria Jordan. New books have been added year by year, including a large collection of Orthodox children’s books. Some 40 members checked out books to read at home during the previous year. One of Ed and Vivian’s (many) godchildren, Wendy McGee, was the librarian in 2016.
The 40th anniversary celebrations came to their apogée on Saturday, 24 September, 2016, with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy served by Archbishop Irénée (Rochon), followed by a banquet.
In the summer of 2017, Matushka Donna Farley published an article on the archdiocesan web-site, in the “Canadian Orthodox Messenger” section, which was entitled ‘Death and the Funeral: An Orthodox Perspective’. This article was a sharing of her interview with Zane Zaccheus Green, a funeral director in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. He expressed his desire to be able to provide for Orthodox Christian believers the traditional Orthodox Christian care for the body of a believer who has fallen asleep in the Lord. The article considers both the back-ground of the subject, and the specific elements of each of the steps from the repose to the interment of the person who has reposed. This article is related to a presentation by Zane Green at the Triennial Assembly of the Archdiocese of Canada in July, 2017, in Edmonton, Alberta.
On Friday, 16 March, 2018, after a meeting in Vancouver of the Archdiocesan Council, Archbishop Irénée (Rochon) visited the parish of Saint Herman of Alaska. On that evening, at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, he ordained the Subdeacon Symeon Donovan Price to the Holy Diaconate. Protodeacon Jesse Isaac and Deacon Nicolas Svetlovsky assisted at the ordination. Deacon Symeon Price was attached at this parish.
On the next morning, Saturday, 17 March, 2018, Archbishop Irénée (Rochon) served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Temple. At the Divine Liturgy, he ordained Subdeacon Zaccheus Zane Green to the Holy Diaconate. Protodeacon Jesse Isaac and Deacon Nicolas Svetlovsky assisted at the ordination. Deacon Zaccheus Green was attached at this parish.
Parish activities and organisations
Within the parish, there are many avenues in which a person may serve Christ within the community.
The parish council works together with the rector to conduct the business of the parish community. Of course, finding a way to increase the space for worship and fellowship remains a constant agenda item.
Altar servers assist the clergy with their liturgical work and keep the Altar, iconostas and candlestands clean and tidy.
Readers are under the direction of the priest and deacon to read the Epistle and to chant verses.
The choir leads the congregation in liturgical worship. Rehearsals are scheduled as needed. Bell-ringers are also organised under the authority of the choir. The choir also operates an apprenticeship programme for children capable of meeting the requirements of being a choir member.
The cleanup crew leads the entire community in cleaning up the hall and nave after major services and meals.
The “Diakonia Charity” (“diakonia” is a Greek word for "service") collects funds and goods for local and international groups, e.g. the Salvation Army "Gateway of Hope" in Langley, and "Doctors Without Borders". It also supports the local food bank. Collections are made every Sunday for the food bank in the basket in the prothesis chapel at the front of the Temple. The contents are taken to the food bank afterwards. Needed items for the homeless are collected in a bin in the narthex.
Meals for the home-bound are prepared and delivered by volunteers to new mothers, those recovering from hospital stays, and other such persons in the parish.
The bookstore offers quality Orthodox books, icons and other church goods at good prices.
The "Three Hierarchs/Hartley Family Lending Library" has a collection of mostly Orthodox material, not always easy to find in general libraries or book stores. There is a large selection of Orthodox children's books for use in the church building or at home. Members must sign out books and sign them back in on return.
Men's and women's fellowship gatherings take place every month or 2 at the Temple, or in the homes of various parishioners.
The "Saint Tabitha Vestment Guild" produces and cares for all fabric arts in the parish as required.
The prosphora makers provide the bread for weekly and special services of the Divine Liturgy.
The church decoration group provides flowers, candles and such, as appropriate for particular services.
The church school meets in the library during the lunch hour after services. Several times a year, there are all-day Saturday events as well.
The "Abbotsford Dinner and Study Group" meets at a parishioner's home, monthly or bimonthly, on a Tuesday as announced.
Father Lawrence has written many books and commentaries, which are available from Ancient Faith Publishing and Saint Vladimir’s Press. He has also produced many podcasts, which are available online at "Ancient Faith Radio" at "Coffee Cup Commentaries" and "No Other Foundation".
In 2018, the majority of the parish consists of converts, just as were its first founders, as well as some members from several different traditionally Orthodox backgrounds. The parish community, with a great number of young families, has again mostly outgrown its present quarters, and it continues to pursue developing a building project that would allow them to worship in a larger and more fully Orthodox style of Temple, with a more suitable hall facility.
Most importantly, the parish works very hard at making the riches of the Orthodox Christian Faith accessible to the residents of the Lower Mainland. It has produced its own prayer book, as well as liturgical booklets consisting of the Church’s services of Vespers, Matins, Liturgy and Presanctified Liturgy. The Sunday morning homily is available on podcast.
All services in this parish are offered in English.
This parish is a part of the Deanery of British Columbia & Yukon, of the Archdiocese of Canada, of The Orthodox Church in America. The dean is the Mitred Archpriest Michael Fourik. The bishop is Archbishop Irénée (Rochon).
This parish follows the New (Revised Julian) Calendar.
The Altar Feast-day of this parish is the Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska, 13 December.
Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church
7221-198 B Street,
Langley, British Columbia
Telephone : 604-588-6166
E-mail : email@example.com
Web-site : http://www.saintherman.net
By car :
Langley is 47 km (30 mi) east of Vancouver via Highway #1 east (Trans-Canada).
From Highway #1 (either from Vancouver or from the east) :
From Highway #1, take the 200 Street (Langley) exit south to 72 Avenue. Turn right (west), and drive 1 block to the Temple.
The Temple is found at the corner of 72 Avenue and 198 B Street in Langley, British Columbia.
Mailing address :
Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church
PO Box 324
8840-210 Street, #505
Langley, British Columbia
Archpriest Lawrence Farley
Parish office telephone : 604-588-6166
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Deacon Gregory Vadim Wright
Home telephone : 604-534-3994
Deacon Symeon Price
Deacon Zaccheus Green
Additional information :
’Bishop Irénée’s Visit to St Herman’s, Langley, BC’ (14 September, 2014. Feast of the Holy Cross)
Pascha 2015 short video
‘St. Herman’s Langley to celebrate 40 years’ in “Archdiocesan News” (24 September, 2016)