The Latest News in the Diocese

Multicultural Yolka

Fremont, CA - The youth of St. Christina of Tyre Mission in Fremont, CA presented their annual Nativity Play and Talent Show on Sunday December 5. The players presented "St. Nicholas' Favorite Story" in which St. Nicholas reminds the woodland creatures of the true meaning of Christmas and the gift of our Lord coming and dwelling with us as one of us. Following the play the audience enjoyed listening to youth play their instruments, sing holiday songs, present mexican and hawaiian dances, and even tell jokes. Every year the event is a gift from the kids to the rest of the mission.
For more information on life at St. Christina's visit our website at www.stchristinaorthodox.org.

“The Search for More”

Fremont, CA -- Youth from a variety of parishes in Northern California gathered December 10-11 for the annual Nor-Cal Youth Lock-in at St. Christina of Tyre Mission in Fremont, CA. Participants coming from multiple Orthodox jurisdictions, came together to explore the theme "The Search for More.." which focused on evaluating and prioritizing their values as Orthodox Christians.

Bishop Benjamin in Kiev for OCA

On Tuesday, November 23, 2010, the Orthodox Church in America was represented at the festal celebrations held in honor of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine at the Kievo-Pechersky Lavra in Kiev...

St. Raphael Celebration at Raphael House

It was with great joy for the Live-In Orthodox Community of Raphael House in San Francisco to welcome His Grace Bishop Benjamin to celebrate the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for our Patronal Feast of the Holy Archangels on Monday, November 8th. All weekend long the Community busied itself like “bees at a BBQ” in the final preparations for the service and the Feast following.

New Website Launched

With the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Benjamin, the Diocese of the West officially launched its new website on November 18, 2010. We invite you to take a look around and familiarize yourself with our new look. Should you have any questions or comments, please direct them to our webmaster.

Coffee for Orphans

With our beloved Bishop now on the board for Project Mexico, and hundreds of faithful throughout our diocese having participated in and benefitted from the work of Project Mexico, we would like to offer the following funding opportunity.  ”San Inocencio” is an extremely nice Fair Trade Organic roast that benefits our neighbors to the south twice:  1) it originates from the Oaxaca region of Mexico from a limited number of small family farms; 2) 100% of all proceeds will benefit the ongoing work of St. Innocent’s in Tijauna.

Future Deacons Gather

A dozen men from Oregon, Washington State, and California gathered at Milwaukie's Annunciation Church for a weekend practicum in diaconal liturgical practice.

The participants are enrolled in the Orthodox Church in America's Diaconal Vocations Program or are in the process of discerning a diaconal vocation.  Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov, coordinator of diaconal and late vocations for the Orthodox Church in America, led the retreat. Archpriest Mathew Tate, Rector of Annunciation Church, Archpriest George Gray, Priest Nicholas Kime and other local clergy took part in the divine services and in panel discussions on the holy diaconate.  The practicum was organized by the Diocese of the West with the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West.



To the Reverend Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West

Dearly beloved: 

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

[Jesus] assumed a body capable of death, in order that it, through belonging to the Word Who is above all, might become in dying a sufficient exchange for all, and, itself remaining incorruptible through His indwelling, might thereafter put an end to corruption for all others as well, by the grace of the resurrection. It was by surrendering to death the body which He had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that He forthwith abolished death for His human brethren by the offering of the equivalent. For naturally, since the Word of God was above all, when He offered His own temple and bodily instrument as a substitute for the life of all, He fulfilled in death all that was required. Naturally also, through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all men were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. (St. Athansius, On the Incarnation)

As we gather once more to joyously celebrate the Lord’s Incarnation — His taking upon Himself human flesh — we are left to ponder God’s infinite love for us. Were any of us given the gift of acting as God, it is abundantly clear that we would not have dealt with the Fall, Death and corruption in the wondrous manner God chose. No, we would probably choose some sort of divine infliction of “power” — some type of coming in glory, maybe with thunder and lightning, striking fear in all of creation.

Instead, in complete and self-emptying love, He became one of us. He took upon Himself everything that we were and are, including sin and death. In uniting the divine nature with our own fallen, human nature, He ensured the destruction of death and has given us the hope and, indeed, the Promise, of resurrection. His coming has restored hope to all of creation. All of creation can now look to the Kingdom made present in the Lord Himself as His gift to us.

But this coming, and the promise that came with it, demands of us a response. We live in a redeemed creation that still groans under the weight of sin and corruption trying to seduce us into a rejection of the Gift. Look at our world right now; we can witness the raging fires that destroy everything in their path, we witnessed in our own diocese the horrors of the October 1 attack in Las Vegas, and we can look around our own neighborhoods and see crime, homelessness, hunger and the distortion (and destruction) of family and the unborn.

So what is the response demanded of us? It is simple, and yet so difficult. The response is to witness to the Coming of the Lord, to respond in faith to His eternal presence in His Church, and live lives worthy of the calling He has given to each of us, His beloved creation. We reflect the new-born Christ in such fidelity, holding on to His teachings and precepts in the face of a creation and culture that is soaked in blood, pornography, and death. Only by living such lives of faith can we, as His children and servants, begin to transform the world around us into the Cave that shone with His divine Light, but also foreshadows His death and resurrection.

In the incarnation in the flesh of our Savior, we are indeed “clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection.” Let us not diminish this great and holy gift by reducing our celebration to the dim lights and consumption that our culture suggests is the real celebration. Let us strive with every fiber of our being to be clothed daily in the incorruption which He, and He alone, offers us!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

In the new-born Child,

Archbishop of San Francisco and the West

Scenes from SF Walk for Life

His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, began the West Coast Walk for Life with a prayer and led the numerous Orthodox Christians present. Thanks to Subdeacon Johann Morse for pictures.

Go Fund Me Campaign For Matushka Priscilla Shipley

After years of suffering from chronic pain and other enigmatic symptoms, Matushka Priscilla Shipley was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). According to the MS Society, symptoms of MS are often mistaken for other conditions including Lyme Disease for which she tested positive for several years ago.  Mat. Priscilla has tried every treatment under the sun to address what doctors thought were Lyme symptoms, all the while leaving her MS untreated for years.  Unfortunately, the MS progressed rapidly and just recently Mat. Priscilla was rendered blind in one eye and unable to walk.  Last week they went to Stanford, and had a very long informative appointment. It turns out that not only does Mat. Priscilla have MS, she also has a rarer disease called Neuromyelitis Optica or NMO. It's similar to MS, but much more serious and can be fatal. She will have to do more tests to rule out cancer, and then if there is no evidence of cancer start treatment for the NMO as soon as possible. This means immune suppressing infusions and steroids, among other things.

Her husband, Fr. Ian (the full time priest at Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Chico, CA) has been caring for her at home.  Doctors are unable to tell whether these debilitating conditions will be permanent or not.  Until then, the family is in great need of outside assistance while they travel to Stanford and UC Davis so that Matushka can begin her tests and treatments.  We ask for everyone’s prayers, and we also ask that you please consider helping to contribute financially, not only so that they might be able to work with home health aides who can provide much needed support, but also to help fund necessary renovations to their bathroom (to accommodate a wheelchair), travel expenses to and from Stanford and probably UC Davis and any additional medical costs not covered by insurance.  Thank you.  

To help support the Shipleys in their time of need, click on the link: https://www.youcaring. com/priscillashipley-1089613