Greek Orthodox Church of the Resurrection in Castro Valley celebrates 50 years

CASTRO VALLEY, CA – The Resurrection community came together in love and joy to “honor the past, celebrate the present and look to a new and exciting future” with a weekend full of festivities November 12-14 . Under the leadership of Fr. Nikolaos Bekris and President Gary Wallner, the 50th Anniversary Committee has planned an immersive weekend for all ages.

The weekend started with a ’70s-themed youth night, led by youth director Anna Teodosiadis, where over 30 young people (and young at heart) rushed to the best hits of the decade. , played games, opened a nightclub. ball pinata, and filled a time capsule with images, memories of today, and their predictions of the legacy they will create over the next 50 years for the Church – which will open in 2071.

Metropolitan Gerasimos with the clergy, altar boys and presvyteres, first row: Antonio Khoury, Yianni Prevas, second row: Kosta Nicolaou, Kosta Mamoulelis, Presvytera Matia Prevas, Jacob Wallner, Peter Psefteas, Gregory Bosl, Joseph Bosl, Niko Prevas, Presvytera Stella Bekris, Presvytera Elaine Stephanides, Lisa Avramis, Presvytera Alexandra Diamant. Third row: Fr. Michel Prévas, Fr. Photios Dumont, Fr. Nikolaos Bekris, Niko Nicolaou, back row: Deacon Justin Bosl, His Excellency Bishop Ioannis, His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Kosta Prevas and Ivan Vuksanovic. Photo: Courtesy of the Parish of the Resurrection

More than 300 people attended the gala celebration on Saturday, November 13 hosted by Master of Ceremonies Christine Psefteas, and included congratulatory messages from His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco and His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Phocea . Special guests in attendance included Presvytera Elaine Stephanides, who was the parish’s first Presvytera; Tom Avramis who was parish priest from 1983-1991; Lisa Avramis who was Presvytera at the time; Former parish priests P. Photos Dumont (1994-2004); and Bro. Michael Prevas (2004-2015), Presvytera Matia and their children. Also present from the parish Presvytera Stella Bekris, Deacon Justin Bosl and Diakonissa Annemarie Bosl, and their children, and Presvytera Alexandra Diamant.

Parish Council President Rajai Akkawi opened the evening by paying tribute to past parish council presidents and honoring past presidents of the Ladies Philoptochos Society before Christine Psefteas thanked the various sponsors of the event and introduced the theme of the evening: “Honoring our past, growing for the future”. Bro. Nikolaos Bekris shared his experience Building the Body of Christ at the Resurrection, saying that “like the first Christians, the people of our parish have accomplished much more than 50 years with three fundamental qualities: faith, love and humility ”, and shared that His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos told him upon arriving for the first time at the Church of the Resurrection,“ with these people you will do miracles ”.

The future ward leaders were at the Sunday brunch, (left to right) Stavroula Psefteas, Jacob Wallner, Metropolitan Gerasimos, Peter Psefteas, Alex Holton and Joseph Bosl. Photo: Courtesy of the Parish of the Resurrection

Anniversary Committee Chairman Gary Wallner took participants on a walk down memory lane, highlighting the sacrifices and hard work of the founding families of the parish, and the impact they have had on those who “carry on. their commitment to the church and the principles of time, talent and treasure. He went on to say that “it is now up to us to inspire a new generation to follow in our footsteps and be future ward leaders – a future where we continue to grow and ‘be the Church’, a future where we continue to grow. parish family filled with love for one another, and a place where we all belong.

After a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Michael Vitakes, a video produced by Parishioner Mark Fridell depicting the history of the parish and the testimonies of former clergy and parishioners was well received and much appreciated by all.

Youth of the Resurrection with Metropolitan Gerasimos and the Rev. Niko Bekris. Photo: Courtesy of the Parish of the Resurrection

Building the Body of Christ Steering Committee Chairman George Psefteas then explained how the parish is “growing for the future” and shared a lively conceptual model of the new Greek Orthodox Church of the Resurrection being considered on a property currently under construction. outright, debt-free purchase at Pleasanton. , California. He announced the project’s goal of “within 5 years from when we plan to start the first phases of work on the new site in the spring of 2022, we intend to witness the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Passover 2027 at the Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church in Pleasanton, California! Thanks to the generosity of those who sponsored or attended the gala and additional donations received from the parish, over $ 100,000 was raised for the Building the Body of Christ project.

On Sunday, His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos celebrated the divine hierarchical liturgy, with His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Phocea and the visiting clergy, with commemorative prayers offered at the end of the service for those of the parish who had fallen asleep in the Lord, before returning the program to the succession of parish leaders to discuss their plans for the future around a delicious champagne brunch.

The 50th Anniversary Gala Committee, from left to right: The Rev. Nikolaos Bekris, Liz Levy, Marina Johannes, George Efstathiou, Nicolette Efstathiou, Jessica Wallner, Karen Ries, Christine Psefteas, Renée Taylor, Anna Teodosiadis, Gary Wallner, and on their knees: Ray Akkawi and Lou Evans. Photo: Courtesy of the Parish of the Resurrection

Sunday’s message was a message of hope. Master of Ceremonies Stavroula Psefteas and Master of Ceremonies Jacob Wallner, along with three future leaders inspired the parish through their childhood in the church.

Altar boys Peter Psefteas and Joseph Bosl spoke of their love for the liturgy and how they were welcomed by their older peers to serve at the altar. Peter shared that through the service he “was able to see what was going on at each stage of the liturgy and understand what we really celebrate every Sunday”. He reflected on how he was able to bond with “my best friends, my closest friends for over 10 years… my family. Our bond is so strong because it is rooted in our faith.

Altar boy Alex Holton ended the presentation by talking about a man who inspired him the most: his grandfather, Fawaz Khanachet of blessed memory. Those who knew Fawaz well knew his conviction and his passion for the growth of this parish. He was involved in many aspects of parish life, but nothing was closer to his heart than the dream of moving our parish, expanding Orthodoxy, and bringing the Tri-Valley community closer to Christ.

It was a throwback to the 1970s for the youth of the parish when the 50th anniversary weekend kicked off. Photo: Courtesy of the Parish of the Resurrection

Alex’s grandfather was his strongest connection to the church: “His dedication to our church was unwavering and ever stable… a creative but grounded vision, and an exceptional dedication to the church.

His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos congratulated the young leaders for “speaking from their minds and hearts” and told those present: “I am inspired by these young people, for I see that hope for tomorrow is happening TODAY ‘ HUI. Today, with the immense talent and commitment of these young people, the dreams of the parish will come true. May God inspire you all to do the work of God in the community of the Resurrection. “

Current and former parish clergy of the Resurrection with Metropolitan Gerasimos, from left to right: Rev. Photios Dumont, His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Phocea, the Rev. Michael Prevas, and the Rev. Nikolaos Bekris. Photo: Courtesy of the Parish of the Resurrection

At the end of the weekend’s festivities, a parishioner said: “It was the best event in our 50-year history. From the evening of the 70s Friday to the last emotional goodbyes on Sunday, it was a weekend full of positive energy. The speeches, video, food and audio / video production were top notch. Most importantly, seeing children and young adults getting involved and talking about the next 50 years shows that we are in good hands for the future. We must help them achieve this success! “

To view the 50th Anniversary of the Resurrection video, the youth slideshow, the In Memoriam tribute, and the guided tour of the Future Church of the Resurrection in Pleasanton, Calif., Visit: .

Render of the new church facilities for the Resurrection Parish, which will be relocated to Pleasanton, CA. Photo: Courtesy of the Parish of the Resurrection

Renee Taylor is the Communications Coordinator for the Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church, bringing with her years of experience in strategic communications and employee engagement.

Jerry B. Hatch