On to Fargo…

This weekend means a run to Fargo, North Dakota and service at All Saint’s Mission.

Fargo isn’t anything like the movie “Fargo” which is actually set in Minnesota. Over 150,000 people live in Fargo and the surrounding towns that straddle the Red River on its journey north to Hudson’s Bay. There’s a symphony orchestra there, a domed football stadium, and no one walks around town with a piece of grass in thier mouth. There is a beautiful wildness to the open prairie unfolding to her west but Fargo has long ago ceased to be a cow town.

There are Orthodox Christians there, immigrants and thier children, converts who who have joined with them, and cradle Orthodox who by the sheer movement that is part and parcel of modern life have found thier way to the Dakotas. For over a decade they wandered, as missions often do, from place to place setting up and taking down and living the nomadic life of a community waiting for a home. Visiting Priests and Deacons would drop by from time to time bringing precious gifts, holy things for the holy, while the people watched and waited and hoped as they do to this day.

To be Orthodox in Fargo requires a certain amount of will that one cannot always find where things are more convenient. The normal things that hold a community together are not always there and the challenges of creating something new and real where it did not exist before are profound. Some churches wallow in excess, All Saint’s Mission is lean. Some Orthodox complain of the number of services in Lent. All Saint’s may have two or three and while bells will ring all over the world on Pascha, All Saint’s may be dark and still on that holy night.

So Friday night means the journey begins. We travel away from the congested city, out on to the open farmland, and then on to the edge of the Dakotas. Vespers, confessions, Matins, Divine Liturgy, and then home. How can a person do everything that needs to be done, bring every gift that needs to be shared, give all the things deserved, and meet all the needs that need to be met in one weekend? It can’t be done. But they are worth the attempt.

0 thoughts on “On to Fargo…”

  1. It is truly amazing that in North Dakota, All Saints stands among those who proclaim the True Faith. And it has stood for many years. How I wish that the Orthodox Church would thrive in other parts of the country. Those of us who are Orthodox Christians must travel up to 2 hours to go and worship with those who also proclaim the true faith. I now know why many of those who were once Orthodox have turned to other churches (Catholic, Lutheran etc. ) because you must work out here to stay Orthodox. The long trips, not being able to worship weekly, and waiting for visits from a priest take a toll on your spiritual being. The battle becomes harder and harder. The thought of being able to go to another church that is only minutes away instead of hours away is indeed enticing to those who want the easiest way to worship every week. I have found moving to North Dakota to be a wonderful move but at the same time, I have had to work twice as hard at maintaining and working on my faith issues without the constant regular help of my priest. Before I moved, my church was only 5 minutes away and Father was always there to talk with me. I was able to have confession on a regular basis and was able to be a fully participating member. Now- if I can go 2 times a month ( due to job and travel times) I feel lucky. I guess in this whole message, all I can say is feel grateful when the times for service come to you and take advantage of the Vespers, Matins and Divine Liturgy when they do come. I have found out that being this far from an Orthodox church makes me work all the harder to maintain my own faith. Heres to the traveling Priest! Without him and other fellow Priest and Deacons who come to the NOrth Dakota prairies, Orthodoxy here would not survive. Christ is Risen


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