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Wonders of the Small Church

The small church has incredible importance and value, although it may not carry the pomp of churches in Europe and elsewhere. I have one particular small church in mind: ours.

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Bruce Maxwell Chrismation

The Holy Trinity Church community welcomed Mr. Bruce E. Maxwell into the Orthodox Church by the Sacraments of Chrismation and sealed at the reception at the Eucharistic Banquet on Sunday, October 18, 2020. It was a joy-filled day for our community, one that we will remember for quite some time.

Bruce had been a Catechumen shortly after he began attending Holy Trinity approximately 18 months ago. He has been extremely devoted to Holy Trinity, as noted there was just one time he was absent. The doors had mistakenly been locked, and Bruce, as humble as a man as there is, did not want to knock on the front door and possibly disrupt the beginning of Divine Liturgy, so he returned home. During the time of our closure (mid-March through June 21), Bruce participated in every one of our Zoom calls. He is ever-present, and loved by all. Bruce became the 21st person to receive either baptism of chrismation at Holy Trinity since 2010.

“Given the current church and civil protocols and guidelines that at this time does not allow for a seeker or inquirer to simply walk into church unannounced, then perhaps this is our final Chrismation in the foreseeable future," host pastor, V. Rev. Marc Vranes, noted. "Our entire community recognized that today, and so there was a bitter sweet feeling. But the overpowering feeling were those of respect and love for Bruce.”

Bruce was joined today by his wife, Heather, who was celebrating her birthday on this day. As is parish custom, Bruce, followed by his sponsor and witness, Barbara E. Lacey, were the first two to receive Holy Communion today.

"On the physical plane, Holy Trinity is a little church on the corner of Valley Street in Willimantic, Connecticut," Bruce noted in his words offered to our community at the conclusion of Liturgy. "But on the spiritual plan it is a tall lighthouse, built on a bedrock of faith, that withstood the storms of centuries, whose million candlepower beam arcs out through the night to illuminate a sad, lonely, and divided world with the light of our Savior's mercy.

“I feel this strongly each time the choir intones the words, "Have Mercy", as they do many times in the ancient Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. From my first visit here, I knew I was home. Thank you for always making me feel welcome. I'm very pleased to become a part of this church.”

Bruce & Heather have been married for 41 years. They have two adult daughters and four grandchildren ranging in age from two to 16. Bruce is a native of New Hampshire where he was born in Laconia on Jan. 5, 1957, and lived until moving to Connecticut in 1995. Bruce is a graduate of Tilton Northfield High School (Class of 1975) and the Fairwood Bible Institute in Dublin, NH (’81). Three years later, Bruce graduated from the New Hampshire Technical Institute. He is currently employed as a systems analysist at Data-Mail in Newington. In 2008, Bruce children’s book - The Faerie Door – was published by the publishing house Harcourt Houghton Mifflin. He remains an avid reader of the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien.

At the conclusion of Liturgy Bruce was presented an 8 x 9" icon of the Baptism of the Millennium of Russia. This was quite appropriate since it was through church music on You Tube videos that Bruce discovered Orthodoxy. He was also presented with a book on evangelization, a Chrismation certificate, some charcoal and incense to burn in his home (the smells of Holy Trinity). During out outside champagne toast for Bruce, he was also presented with a robust cigar. It was a good day for us at Holy Trinity.

Welcome Bruce. May you find peace, joy, and Christ always in the Orthodox Church.


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