Clergy | Ministries | History


Clergy

  • Fr. Justin Mathews, priest
  • Fr. Dn. Theophan Frazier, deacon
  • Fr. Dn. Micheal Wilson, deacon
  • Sdn. Tikhon Flores, subdeacon

What to expect when visiting for the first time:

“Orthodox worship is different! Some of these differences are apparent, if perplexing, from the first moment you walk in a church. …” Read more >

Parish ministries

  • Bible Study and Introduction to Orthodoxy class
    During Lent: Meets on the fourth floor on Wednesdays at 7:30pm. All are welcome!
  • Choir
    The choir leads the congregation in singing during the Divine Liturgy. Choir practice is on alternate Saturdays at 4:45pm on the first floor. Coordinator: Jacque F.
  • Church School
    Classes meet during the school year at the end of Divine Liturgy on Sunday. Children three years old through high school seniors are welcome. Coordinator: Mat. Jodi M.
  • Greeters
    Greeters welcome people into the church on Sunday mornings and assist with elevator rides, service books, and other information as needed. Greeters are present both at the Troost entrance and at the back of the sanctuary. Coordinator: Ian F.
  • Hospitality
    The hospitality team ministers to the parish community by preparing for and cleaning up after the Sunday agape meal. Coordinator: Alberta A.
  • Communications
    The communications team coordinates the parish email list, website, and social media presence. Coordinator: Robyn H.
  • Archangel Gabriel Memorial Society
    Motivated by the belief that each person is a living icon of God and affirming that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints” (Gen. 1:26, Ps. 116), the mission of the Archangel Gabriel Society is to lovingly care for those the Lord brings to St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, before and during the final moments of their earthly life by preparing for death, burial, and memorials according to Orthodox Christian tradition and to comfort the grieving.
  • St. Moses the Black Brotherhood
    Over two thousand years ago, a young Virgin and her Child found refuge in Africa from threatening forces. Since that time, Christianity has developed extensive roots in Africa. More information here.
  • Reconciliation Services
    A separate non-profit organization operates from the first and second floors of the church building and involves a number of church members.  It is a pan-Orthodox and community-based attempt to meet the needs of the poor in our area.  Reconciliation Services provides a scope of services including therapy, addiction support services, and case management.  See the Reconciliation Services website for more information.
  • Friday Meal
    Each week, a different Orthodox church prepares and serves a meal for those in the local community. Run by Reconciliation Services.

History

In November 1987, a group of interdenominational and multiracial Christians formed a ministry called “Reconciliation Ministries” in the inner-city of Kansas City, Missouri. What began as an outreach to help the physical needs of the neighborhood gradually emerged into an Eastern Orthodox Christian community, known as St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church.
Recently, Professor Cornel West wrote in his best-selling Race Matters that: “The genius of our black foremothers and forefathers was to create powerful buffers to ward off the nihilistic threat, to equip black folk with cultural armor to beat back the demons of hopelessness, meaninglessness, and lovelessness. These buffers consisted of cultural structures of meaning and feeling that created and sustained communities; this armor constituted ways of life and struggle that embodied values of service and sacrifice, love and care, discipline and excellence… These traditions consist primarily of black religious and civic institutions that sustained familial and communal networks of support.”
Creating such a buffer has been the byproduct of this group seeking to simply put into practice the teachings of Jesus. Despair, violence, chemical dependency, abuse of all kinds had touched the lives of both those they were serving, as well as some of the volunteers. As these issues surfaced, they began to search for deeper answers. It resulted in discovering for themselves the ancient wisdom of the African desert fathers and mothers. They began to apply their advice on prayer, how to deal with one’s own spiritual blindness, and how to be restored when one’s emotions and desires were disordered. The community little by little was being led to the path of the ancient Orthodox Church. They drew inspiration from the ancient Egyptian monastics, the writings of The Philokalia, and the lives of the holy ones from the Northern Russian forests. In addition, the many saints in urban areas that had combined inner prayer with works of mercy provided models for the kind of Orthodox community they were seeking to become.
St. Moses the Black was a 4th century gang-leader along the Nile that had become one of the desert fathers. St. Mary of Egypt was a 6th century prostitute that left her way of life to spend 47 years in the same desert where St. John the Baptist lived. These radical transformations are but two examples of the deep changes wrought through this ancient path. As the group continued to search through the lives of African saints, they were introduced to hundreds of other examples of inspiration. In 1993, their core community became Orthodox. Each year more and more have been baptized and chrismated.