Source: The Alliance Review
September 4, 2017
St. Nikolai Orthodox Church Father Mikel Hill admitted Sunday that nothing at the seminary prepared him to hold a liturgy service at a picnic pavilion
For the first time since their church allegedly was burned by a Lake Township man, the small-but-mighty church’s congregation gathered at the Jaycees Pavilion in Butler Rodman Park.
As Richard D. Rhodes, 39, sat in Stark County Jail in lieu of $500,000 cash or surety bond for the aggravated arson of St. Nikolai Orthodox Church in Marlboro Township, tears periodically flowed from parishioners throughout Sunday’s service.
The outdoors with its tweeting birds and periodic winds provided some unique challenges for such a formal, ritualistic services as the liturgy and communion.
Originally before the church fire of Aug. 28, the pavilion had been reserved for a fall kickoff event, which would include a covered dish picnic after services concluded at the church. However, due to recent events, plans had to be changed, ranging from dealing with seasonable weather to positioning of the church’s choir in the venue.
For example, as the alter has to be to the east, which required its placement outside the pavilion, churchgoers had to scramble to find a canopy due to the threat of rain. The wind provided a unique challenge for the lit candles, which represent a sign of faith and hope, which required the use of aluminum foil as a makeshift protector from the elements.
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