Cherry Hill, NJ – On Sunday morning during church services, the St. Thomas Greek Orthodox community observed The Patronal Feast day for St. Thomas. Led by Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, they also ordained new priest – Father George Parsenios and announced their new fundraising efforts for the church facade scheduled to start this spring. The day was highlighted by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new St. Thomas Apartment complex adjacent to the church. It signaled another milestone of accomplishments for the St. Thomas community that prepares to celebrate it’s 50th year as a cornerstone of the Greek Orthodox community.
A crowd gathered outside the entrance of the new apartment building, where a blue ribbon was cut by his Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos. It was symbolizing the grand opening of this senior home. Many of the church’s female parishioners looked on while holding flowers in honor of Mother’s day. Over the past ten years, St. Thomas has added new buildings and renamed much of it’s complex to reflect its history. The Danielle Kousoulis Culture Center, The John Nicholas Balis Education Center, and now, a marker in the lobby recognized the Chigounis Family, who donated the land some years ago. Smiling parishioners flooded into the lobby and snapped up photos of the blessing conducted by Metropolitan Evangelos.“It’s like a dream, it really is, a dream that started some 14 years ago now is complete,” said board member Tom Gotzis who is also a founding member of St. Thomas. But credit should also be given to the entire community, for their resilient efforts and pace of accomplishments at this Greek Orthodox church are astounding.
Just when you would think it’s time to slow down, St. Thomas announced their next project while still celebrating this one. A banner was revealed during church services on Sunday by the board, announcing a new face over for the front of the church. The project would detail a bell tower and traditional Byzantine facade, which is slated to start immediately with designs this week. A 400,000 dollar budget is expected to complete the two-year project. But some St. Thomas officials say they will push to have it done by next year, in honor of their 50th anniversary. If any community can make dreams come true, it would be St.Thomas.