Flat Rock Church Fundraising for Ukraine - TribPapers

Flat Rock Church Fundraising for Ukraine

Parishioners with Father Stephens in prayer carry a wooden cross as Palm Sunday and Easter near. Photo courtesy of St. John in the Wilderness.

Flat Rock – The special offering on Easter this year at the Episcopal church St. John in the Wilderness, at 1895 Greenville Highway in Flat Rock, will benefit the Moldova World Children’s Fund, Inc. (MWCF). With roots dating back nearly 30 years, this is a North Carolina, USA based international charity. It was founded in 1998 with the help of a few of their parishioners. In addition, other funds collected over the past two weeks are going to the Episcopal Migration Ministries. 

The Manej Sport Arena in Chisinau, Moldova, has been transformed into a shelter for Ukrainian Refugees. Irina Rusanovschi, the in-country manager of the MWCF is climbing the stairs. Photo courtesy of St. John in the Wilderness and the MWCF.

People do not become refugees by choice. 

Refugees are children, women, and men forced to flee their homes on account of persecution, war and violence. These donations support Ukrainian refugees in building a strong foundation wherever they settle, helping them begin again in safety and with hope for the future.  

“Over 23 years ago the Moldova World Children’s Fund (MWCF) was founded in Flat Rock. MWCF President Ray West and Board of Directors Chairman Albert Gooch launched the effort that shortly became a shared commitment as a fund to relieve suffering and improve the lives of children in the newly independent Republic of Moldova. For St. John members Albert and Jeannie Gooch, Father John and Paula Morton, and all early contributors, this outreach offered a solid way to help the poorest country in Eastern Europe. The Rector’s Discretionary Fund, Easter offerings, and SJITW Outreach have stepped in ever since with major donations to specific projects,” wrote Joanie Covell in the December 2021 issue of The Voice. Joanie and her husband, Mike, have been active participants for many years in MWCF and have visited the country more than once. This past year, the church gave $5,000 to the fund.  

On their website, The Moldova World Children’s Fund says, “Moldova has taken in more Ukrainians, per capita, than any other country.” 

Most of its operations focus on the Republic of Moldova, located near the Black Sea, which is considered one of the least developed countries in Eastern Europe. The Moldovian people have struggled to evolve from the stifling remnants of the former Soviet Union. Despite the fact that Moldova is considered one of the poorest countries in Europe, it has given food and shelter to an incredible number of Ukrainian refugees, as hundreds of thousands  exit the war torn country of Ukraine, their neighbor. The Republic of Moldova does not plan to join NATO and is considered a neutral country.  The Manej Sport Arena in the capital city of Chisinau has been transformed into a shelter for Ukrainian Refugees where hundreds are given refuge with housing.

Easter Egg Hunt at St. John

The annual Easter Egg Hunt will begin at 10:00 am on Easter Sunday, April 17. All ages are invited to join the Young Families group in the Rector’s Garden and Parish Hall Lawn, next to the Parish Hall across from Rutledge Drive from the church.  Parking is available.   

“We are once again excited to welcome children and their families to St. John during this glorious Easter season,” said Rev. Josh Stephens, Rector of St. John in the Wilderness. “Neighbors and other visitors are welcome to bring their children for the fun and to worship with us also as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection this year.”

The parishioners of the church will observe Lent and Holy Week with many services given by Reverend Josh Stephens. Easter Sunday services are at 8:45 am and 11:00 am. For more information on scheduling, go to www.stjohnflatrock.org

Free Organ Concert in May

Dewitt Tipton has been the Organist and Director of Music at St. John in the Wilderness for many years. He directs the choir and brings outstanding musical groups and gatherings to the church throughout the year. Tipton has recently retired from his role as a faculty member of Furman University and the Music Director and Conductor Emeritus of the Asheville Symphony Chorus, which he created in 1991.

The Blue Ridge chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) is holding its annual members’ recital on Tuesday, May 3 at 7:15 p.m.  The concert is free and open to the public. Musicians will play the church’s three manual Wicks that was recently refurbished by Dan Angerstein.  

The National AGO was founded in 1896 as an educational and service organization. Local church musicians searching for a support group, ideas, opportunities for learning and growth, and to share musical suggestions, are invited to join the Blue Ridge chapter of AGO. Those interested may contact Howard Bakken at hnbakken@morrisbb.net for information. Under the leadership of the National Council, a network of volunteer committees and officials at the regional, district and local levels directs the activities of the Guild. The AGO National Headquarters is in New York City where a full time staff supports and coordinates publication, administration and development activities of the organization.

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