Following the Melkite Convention of July, 2006 in Birmingham, AL, Fr. John was contacted by a couple of Melkite families from the Middle Tennessee area requesting a Divine Liturgy to be celebrated in their area. They wished to begin the research of establishing what was begun in New Orleans. A year earlier, their mother, a Melkite from St. George Melkite Church in Birmingham, AL, had traveled there and given a talk on the Eastern Church.
Following much correspondence back and forth between the families and Fr. John, a date was set for Sunday, December 10 to celebrate the Melkite Divine Liturgy in. A meeting and social were also scheduled to get the groundwork started for the possible continuation of regularly scheduled Liturgies in the area.
Subsequently, the December Liturgy was celebrated by Fr. John at St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church, Franklin. Approx. 75-80 persons attended. A few parishioners came in from Birmingham to assist with the chanting of the responses. Adult men from the Tennessee community attending servers were trained on the spot as Altar Servers. A mailing directory was compiled. Liturgy in one of the homes and the Akathist Service was celebrated during Great Lent. Currently, until travel issues can be worked out, this project is on hold.
Hopes were held that this could have developed into a full-fledged “Mission” and gradually become an official parish.
Fr. John Azar, firstname.lastname@example.org