“A vineyard of red wine! I, the Lord, keep it, I water it every moment; Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.” (Isaiah 27:2-3)
SMSJ, the Past, the Present and the Future
This day, January 25th, 2019 we are celebrating God’s graciousness and fruitful ministry. Our God is worthy of our gratitude, praise, service, worship and adoration. Through the grace of God, SMSJ congregation and building has been established. We give thanks to God for His goodness and all the great things He has done through all the years of worship in SMSJ. God Has made His church victorious in every trial and trouble.
The very beginning of SMSJ started with a Bible study meeting in one of Richmond Hill’s Coptic family homes. The plan was put into the hands of God.
In December of 2002, Father Abraam had the blessing of meeting the Coptic pope, H.H. Pope Shenouda III in Egypt where His Holiness approved and blessed the beginning of the new church in the Richmond Hill area.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. (Haggai 1:7)
This day, on January 25, 2003, 16 years ago, the seed was planted for the dedication of St. Mary and St. Joseph to be a house of God. On this day, we were blessed to pray our first Divine Liturgy at Victoria Square Community Hall under the auspices of H.H. Pope Shenouda III who delegated H.G. Bishop David to pray the inauguration Liturgy. The service continued in this location till April 2008.
It was on the Good Friday of 2008 that the occupancy permit was granted to the newly built church. SMSJ small congregation carried all of the church’s belongings from Victoria Square to the new building, and set up the new place for the first time with enormous efforts in order to celebrate the prayers of the feast of the Resurrection on April 27, 2008.
At the end of year 2013, was the completion of St. Paul’s chapel and phase II (Child Care and Multipurpose Hall) of the church’s original plan.
And many nations shall come, and say: “Come; let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” (Micah 4:2)
This day, January 25, 2019, we celebrate all the joys that have been birthed in these 16 years, we celebrate all the accomplishments and all the hardships and struggles. We have travelled through all these 16 years under God’s protection and love.
Loving God, we thank you for the selfless service, whole heartedly devotion and the holy guidance of our priests, Father Abraam, Father Yousef and Father Shenouda who procure the salvation of souls with their loving, caring and humble souls. Bless their labors with abundant fruit. May the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them.
‘Yes, the priest stands at the altar, the priest stands there and makes a long supplication, not in order that fire from heaven may consume the things that lie to open view, but that grace, lighting on the Sacrifice, may thereby inflame the souls of all, and show them brighter than silver purified in the fire.” St. John Chrysostom
We praise You Heavenly Father as we come before you today, as we reflect on the history of SMSJ and celebrate our 16 years of ministry. SMSJ has been a place of worship and fellowship.
We pray and desire that we might be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that we might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.
We continue to pray for Your Holy Spirit to work though us that we may continue to proclaim the Good news of Jesus to the world.
“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:17
Gracious God, as we celebrate our past, rejoice in our present, we also look forward to a fruitful future. We ask Lord, that You would continue to keep, guard, and protect Your work. We pray that You protect us, guide us, sustain us and strengthen us as we go forth. Deepen within each of us Your love, give us a zeal for worshiping You and serving You. Make this church a blessing to those who seek You and a powerful channel of Your saving power that they may find You and be filled with joy and peace through Jesus Chris, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen