Archive for the ‘Building Project’ Category

Updated Building Chronology with lots of pictures.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

It aint perfect yet, since we use rather barbaric editing tools (can you believe that we wrote this whole thing in Word and converted it to HTML?), but here is an up to date building chronolgy. We anticipate being finished in time for Pascha this year (and even before Palm Sunday)

This document is also at



Our building project began 12 years ago, when we established a building fund and started looking for a location. For a few years in the ’90’s, the parish income allowed us to grow the building fund rapidly, and donations to date total approximately $110,000. The total cost of our basic project will be approximately $270,000. We have secured a loan for $160,000 to cover the remaining costs. We will need to raise at least an additional $28,000 to pay for parking, landscaping, irrigation, and other requirements the city has told us must be fulfilled before we obtain an occupancy permit. In time, we plan to have an iconostasis built and icons painted, most likely from local Orthodox Christians.

A building committee, led by a licensed engineer and a registered professional land surveyor, laid out the criteria for a viable land purchase, and we spent many years looking for a good piece of real estate in the Dallas area. In the mid-1990’s, we even looked at properties in Arlington and Fort Worth. After a long and difficult search, we decided in the fall of 2006 that the City of McKinney would provide us the best opportunity to find a suitable piece of land within our price range. In April of 2007, we purchased a plot of land in historic downtown McKinney, though we did not yet have the means to build and were undecided about whether this was the best location.

As time went on, it became clearer that building in McKinney is our best option. We will be the only Orthodox church within 15 miles, in a growing and vibrant community. When you look at a map of churches in the area (URL), there is a “hole” in McKinney. We feel that we are helping the DFW community best by locating there.

Once we made up our minds to build a temple on our land, we began to look for a lender, and we had a lot of trouble getting anyone to believe in us. The large national banks did not take us seriously, but we found a friend in a local bank whose vision is to build up the community in which they live and do business. Independent Bank ( has believed in us, and we have a superb working relationship with them. When other banks said no, they found a way to say yes.

This has been a long and difficult journey, and the turning point for us was when we began to really apply ourselves to prayer. It is almost a cliché to say that we should pray about something, and we certainly did, but things really changed after we established a regular weekday liturgy in which we pray for all of our parishioners by name during in the Augmented Ectenia. We did not specifically pray for a new temple or land, but instead, have regularly, each Wednesday, served the liturgy and asked God’s mercy for everyone in our flock. This additional weekday liturgy is the most important turning point in our chronology. We have since added a weekly Molieben for the parish, served at the construction site.

T imeline


Deacon Seraphim Holland becomes a resident of Texas, on the very day of the glorification of St John Maximovitch. Fr Seraphim had been asked by Bishop Hilarion (now our Metropolitan) to come to Texas to become the pastor of a small mission in Dallas that had been faithfully holding reader’s services. We immediately began holding reader’s vigils on Saturday night, with typica and a meal on Sunday.


Fr Seraphim ordained to the priesthood (March 6/19, the second Sunday of Great Lent).


Building Fund established. Search for a land or a suitable property begun.


Land purchased in McKinney. There is a long lapse in years between this and the previous entry, but there was really a lot going on. We looked at zillions of properties in zillions of places all over the Metroplex. Nothing was suitable. Finally, we found something, almost on a whim, in McKinney, and we were off and running (uphill).

January, 2008

The week after Nativity, we began our weekly weekday liturgies. This was made possible because Fr Seraphim no longer was working fulltime. The highlight of this liturgy is that we pray by name for everyone in the parish during the Augmented Ectenia.

February, 2008 

Dissatisfied with the original design, which had no provision for a church hall, we selected our Architect /Designer:

Tim Bonner and Associates.    (

Also: Builder/Consultant selected: Anderson/Sargent 

They are one of the first "LEED" (Leadership Energy Efficient Design) builders in the area.

Design is based on the "Raising of St. Lazarus"
, the oldest wooden temple in Russia (above). It was originally at Muromansky Monastery and now resides in the Kizhi open air museum

Dr  McBride, retired professor of Architecture University of Texas at Arlington  helped us immensely during this design phase. He is Sub-Deacon at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

March, 2008


Cross erected on the Sunday of the Cross (3rd Sunday of Great Lent).

Priest Seraphim at the Divine Liuturgy on the undeveloped land in McKinney, Thomas Sunday 2008. The faithful are in a tent (not seen) May 2008

Outdoor Divine Liturgy on the land on St. Thomas Sunday (April 21/May 4), with a picnic afterwards.

Slideshow and movie medley:

June, 2008

Attempts to get a building loan begun. During discussion with Independent Bank, our eventual lender, it became apparent that we needed to account for a more substantial regular income. We instituted our first call for pledges, and the parish responded extremely well, increasing our income by fifty percent, which gave us enough income for the bank to consider us.

September, 2008

Loan approved.and building plans submitted to the city of McKinney for approval.

July, 2009

Building permit obtained.

Construction begun.

August 2009


Letter sent appealing for benefactors: We wish to raise, if it be God’s will, $40,000 by asking 400 benefactors to give us alms of $100 or more each. We want to give our benefactors something back for their alms. Like the Apostle Peter, “Gold and silver have (we) none”, but we offer you our perpetual prayer. …..

HTML                         WORD Document      PDF


Drilled holes for the piers and poured concrete.



Father Seraphim moonlighting at the construction site. J

September, 2009.


Plumbing and Electrical wiring installed and approved.


Foundation poured.


Walls mostly completed.



Lesser blessing of the waters


October, 2009.


Walls nearly completed.




The Deaconesses after a Thursday evening moleben


Apse constructed.




Rain… Rain… Rain… We continued to pray our Moliebans and Liturgies, including our twice-monthly children’s liturgy.


A homily at a children’s liturgy.


Roof framing done.

Plywood roof installed. Interior framing done. Solea installed.



Plumbing, Electrical and HVAC installed.

January20 10

Iconostasis and altar framing completed, with electrical. Insulation installed. Roof completed. Work begun on parking lot.

[photos to be added]

Dome finished and shipped.

March 2010

Anticipated date we will be able to use the temple.

Cupola with Russian Cross pictures.

Thursday, January 14th, 2010


There it is! Isn’t it beautiful! I think the snow is a nice touch, but this cupola will be forced to humble itself and live in Texas. This is a picture of the cupola, which will grace the roof of our church very soon. It is taken where it was made, by  Allen Figula & Daughters, Glen Hope , PA

Here is a closup of the cross:




These photos, and another are in the Flickr set:


We are trying to get local media interested in the raising of the cupola. I will let you know.

I am getting excited! The church roof is almost on, and we will be having services in the temple soon.I doubt we will make it by Great Lent (which begins Feb 2/15, but we should be in by Pascha for sure!

An incredible week and a grateful parish

Friday, November 13th, 2009


We are a small parish, and have done our best to plant and water, and now we are watching God cause us to grow.


There is not doubt about it – times are difficult, and we are stretched financially, and spiritually. I am not exactly a Tigger, nor am I am Eyore, but like most people, somewhat in between. Building is hard, since nothing in life stops to let you catch your breath.

Our parish received a huge amount of encouragement this week. We have had an enormous amount of donations come in. We are still raising money, and need to, but we received a large chunk this week. God is providing, in the right time, in the right amounts.


We have also made our needs known for some "church" things, and received word yesterday that a bishops chair and chandelier will be donated.


One thing that building has done (for all of us, but I guess I am talking a little personally here) is made us less of an island. We have friends from literally all over the world now, and, most dear to me, many in the DFW area, in local parishes. We are a part of the community now, with friends who visit us, commune with us, and have helped us. This is incredibly encouraging.



Our monetary donations this week are an incredible $6024.00.


Thank you from a grateful pastor and parish for your friendship, well wishes, prayers and donations. As the pastor, I try every day to be worthy of your trust.


Construction progress as of Nov 12 2009. Plywood roof is on, apse framing done, and windows are in. It looks like a real Orthodox temple!

Thursday, November 12th, 2009



Going to the chapel and we’re gonna have a moleeeeeban (at 7)

Going to the chapel and we’re gonna have a moleeeeeban

We really love it, and we’re gonna have a moleeeeeban

Going to the chapel tonight!

 Slide Show or go to the Picture set here.

We have an almost real church! 


Window detail with a deaconess.


The (plywood) roof is on and solea built – photos

Sunday, November 8th, 2009


New photos, taken Sunday afternoon. The workers put the roof on and built the solea on Saturday. We would have more photos, but the batteries died! 

Look at the set of pictures here


The rafters are up! Lots of photos.

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Rafters looking WestLots of photos of the construction, from three sources. All taken Thursday,  a few at night. the rest during the day.

Go here:

Try this link: for a slideshow.

Summing things up in the Akathist to St Nicholas Understanding prayer to the Saints Nighttime pictures of temple construction.

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Holy Father Nicholas, pray to God for us!

Oct 24/ Nov 6 2009 22nd  Friday after Pentecost

St Nicholas the wonderworker. saintnicholas.jpg O most-holy and most-wonderful Father Nicholas, consolation of all that sorrow, accept our personal offering, and entreat the Lord that we be delivered from Gehenna through thy God-pleasing intercession, that we may sing: Alleluia!

(Kontakion 13, Akathist to St Nicholas)

2009-11-05_construction+moleben-02.jpgMoleben Thursday night in the under construction temple. 2009-11-05_construction+moleben-01.jpg

 We sing this Kontakion every Thursday night in our new temple in construction, as part of the Akathist to St Nicholas. We have been serving a Moleben for quite awhile now, on Thursday nights, on the land. We started serving in front of a large wooden cross, with the dog barking next door. Building has proceeded, we have served on the slab, inside a structure with walls only (by this time, the dog was gone!), and now, finally, last night, with the roof joists all installed. If the weather holds, the next time we will serve with a roof over our heads!



Serving a Moleben every week in which we sing the Akathist to our beloved patron increases our intimate feelings concerning his life and intercession for us. The thirteenth and last Kontakion of his Akathist sums up our feelings about him, which we had only just recently been chanting in detail in sweet melody, as we recounted various important parts of his life and intercession for his flock, both during and after his earthly life. This is generally the case for all “Kontakion thirteens”, which are always chanted 3 times, with “Alleluia” sung three times after each, before we repeat the first Ikos and Kontakion to finish the Akathist.


This Kontakion also sums up the correct understanding concerning “prayer to the saints”, or better, “asking the saints to intercede for us”. We have confidence in the prayers of St Nicholas for us because we know he is righteous, and therefore we know that his intercessions are “God-pleasing”.


“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)


The more I sing this Akathist, the more I feel the holiness of St Nicholas and sure knowledge that since his intercessions to God are God-pleasing, our intercessions to him must certainly also be.


Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


This article is at:



New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG:


Journal Archive:


Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: to join.


Redeeming the Time BLOG:

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (


A house upon a rock. Words to build by. Luke 6:46-7:1 Children’s Liturgy

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

A house upon a rock

Words to build by.

Luke 6:46-7:1

Children’s Liturgy


Oct 8/21 2009 20th Wednesday after Pentecost


We just so happen to building a church just now (have you heard? J ) Today’s Gospel reading applies in a very direct way to our building project. This project is ongoing, and will continue after the last brick is in place, and the last icon is painted, because the building that our Lord is referring to is the “building” of the soul – the one and only purpose of human life – the perfection of the soul.


Building a temple is similar to building the soul in one’s personal life. Without effort and proper priorities, all will be for naught. Without belief in Christ, which purely an simply means following Christ by taking His yoke upon us in all things, all will be for naught.


In the secular world, a man builds after taking careful account of finances, and planning, including design, choice of location and materials. We have done all that, but the most important things, which this reading describes, have nothing to do with these things.


The rock that our Lord mentions is Himself. The scripture refers to Christ, that is, belief in Him, and following Him, as “rock”:


And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  (17)   And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  (18)   And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Mat 16:16-18)


As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Rom 9:33)


Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;  (2)   And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;  (3)   And did all eat the same spiritual meat;  (4)   And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1Co 10:1-4)


Our church edifice happens to look a bit like rock, and will be covered in rock, but these are external things.


As a parish, we build upon a rock when we corporately and individually dedicate our lives the Christ. I cannot do anything about how an individual builds, but as a pastor I can only help to provide the mortar and the bricks.


Among our most important materials is prayer. I serve a weekly Thursday liturgy, and have been doing so for almost two years. This is one of our most important ministries. Many times, I have served with only the reader and myself, with God among us, and with the Saints and angels [1]. In the world, one would say that this act of worship has little impact, since hardly anybody comes. If we were a Home Depot, we would have long ago closed our doors on this day and hour, because so few come, but we are a church, and we must pray, faithfully.


Our weekday liturgy has been the most important reason why our building project has been succeeding.


I will continue serving, no matter how many lean days there are, because in this service, we pray for everyone in the parish by name in the Great Ectenia. There is no way for our feeble minds to understand the grace that this brings to our community, but is does come!


Children singing in the choir during Childrens Liturgy at St Nicholas, McKinney. 2009-10-15-childrens-liturgy-choir-6.jpg Taken by Mira (Juliana) Parker I have seen very consoling signs that this liturgy is important personally to our flock, because of the steady attendance in our two monthly “children’s liturgies”. There is no value that can be attached to the grace that our children (and us) receive by worshipping together, and teaching them to sing.


Homily during Children's liturgy at St Nicholas, McKinney TX 2009-10-15-childrens-liturgy-homily-1.jpg. Taken by Mira (Juliana) Parker



2009-10-15-childrens-liturgy-homily-3.jpgMy custom of sitting down and giving a simple homily after the Gospel, with the children gathered around, and excitedly (and often quite correctly, but sometimes with an … interesting perspective!) interjecting their answers and feelings is the best part of my week. This may not be considered to be pristine liturgics, but it is good theology.



How can any parishioner, whatever his station in life, help to build his parish upon a rock? Personally we must struggle, with fasting and prayer and a continual reassessment and adjustment of our thoughts and priorities. Corporately, we must consider ourselves to be a part of the body, therefore critical to its functioning. Participation in prayer, giving alms, praying for each other, baking prosphora, cleaning the church, church classes and activities, and anything and everything else that affects our parish life together is the way we contribute to building our parish upon the rock.


46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. 1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. Luke 6:46-7:1


Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


This article is at:



New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG:

Journal Archive:


Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: to join.


Redeeming the Time BLOG:

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (


[1] “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mat 18:20). These are very good words to remember when in a sparsely attended service.



APSE-solutely Wonderful!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Construction Photos

Building of the Apse

Oct 7/20 2009 20th Tuesday after Pentecost

Apse construction from Viewd towards the West


Apse construction viewed looking West


Apse construction viewed looking East.

Apse construction viewed looking East


Look good (and will look better when we get some pictures with the deaconesses in front)! We should have the roof on inside of two weeks if the weather holds.


Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


This article is at:



New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG:


Journal Archive:


Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: to join.


Redeeming the Time BLOG:

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (


Iconostasis Design Meeting, with pictures and altar/iconostasis design sketch

Monday, October 12th, 2009

This post looks better at: It is hard to get some graphics right on the blog.

Michael Daum, the point man on our parish for the building of the temple 2009-10-12_construction+iconostasis-design-meeting-michael-daum.jpg

Sep 29/ Oct 12 2009


Today, Michael Daum (right) our resident point man for the building project, Reader Nicholas Park, and yours truly (Priest Seraphim, the head delegator) met with Fr Michael Storozuk, rector of St Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church Denison TX, met at the building site for a design meeting regarding the iconostasis and altar.


Rev Michael Storozuk, rector, St Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church, Denison, TX 2009-10-12_construction+iconostasis-design-meeting+fr-michael-1.jpg

Fr Michael is an excellent carpenter, and has built the iconostasis for many churches in the area, including his own, St Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas and many more.



The meeting was extremely productive. We worked off a provisional sketch Nicholas has made of the interior of the altar, and came up with a basic plan for the iconostasis and inside of the altar.


Our carpenters will frame the iconostasis ands interior walls in the altar. After we get the occupancy permit (sometime in December), we will commence work on finishing the iconostasis with nice wood trim and reasonable (read, not expensive) carving, etc.


THE EXCITING NEWS is that we plan to have the unfinished iconostasis up before the visit of Bishop Peter for our Feast Day (Dec 6/19, THIS YEAR).  The doors will not be hung, but the wall will be there, with arched openings where the 2 deacons’ door and royal doors will be.



Altar and iconostasis design (not showing apse) - subject to change - 2009-10-12_construction+saint-nicholas-mckinney-altar-design.jpg

This is the latest drawing we have of the altar area. (1 cm = 1 ft)


Things will change, but the basic idea is there. The apse is not shown in this drawing, due to software constraints.



I wish to inform our readers that all this design stuff is a leap of faith. The extra things the city has required of us for occupancy have left no funds to finish out the iconostasis.


The only reason we are even building the rough iconostasis structure is because of interior design changes which have saved us enough money (from removing interior walls that we had planned on building) to substitute the building of the iconostasis and altar walls.


We need as much help as you can give. We are currently trying to raise $40,000 to insure that we can finish the things we need to finish to get occupancy. We have saved as much as we can on construction, and raised about $8000 so far.  


If you are looking for a “worthy cause”, please see our request for benefactors letter. We are asking for money, like everybody does, but have also made the solemn promise that you and your immediate loved ones will be remembered in the Divine Liturgy in our parish forever, as well as mentioned in our annual benefactor’s day liturgy.


Our benefactor diptychs are already over a hundred names. There will be no wall plaque with names on it in our church, but your names will be remembered at least once a week, forever. Nobody reads the names on those fancy plaques this much!



Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


This article is at:



New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG:


Journal Archive:


Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: to join.


Redeeming the Time BLOG:

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (