This year the pan-Orthodox Vespers was hosted by St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Church (AOCANA) in Spring, TX. I’m not sure how many priests from the Houston area were there (mostly only those vested are in the last photo) but the last time I saw that many in one place it was at the cathedral in Dallas for Archbishop Alexander’s enthronement.
The guest speaker after the potluck following was Hank Hanegraaff and I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to stay and hear him but the children had already had a long day and I knew I would have to take them home and feed them. I reminded myself that with all of the people there I wouldn’t be likely to be able to meet him personally anyway. Still, I looked around at the people as Vespers was beginning wondering idly where he was.
About a third of the way through Vespers I noticed that there was a folder on the pew next to the man in front of us. On the tab was written “testimony.”
I examined the man and thought, it could be him, but I wouldn’t recognize him from the back. I am ashamed to admit I did a rapid and covert image search on my phone and quickly established that yes, the Hanegraaffs were seated immediately in front of us. Oh, the irony. I prayed Mittens would behave, and she did for a while, but I ultimately had to walk her to the back. No complaints here because it enabled me to have a great view of the clergy procession and take some good photos.
As Vespers ended I made my way back to our pew. After the final announcements (and clergy photo-op) I walked over and said hello. “I’m so sorry I can’t stay to hear your talk, but I have seven children and need to take them home.” They were delightful people and it was a blessing to meet them. Do keep Hank in your prayers as he is living with cancer.