Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Holy Ghost Orthodox Christian Church

After a period of quiet on the past issue of selling a portion of Holy Ghost Orthodox Christian Church property, an amended Phoenixville Borough Council Meeting agenda was posted with the following insertion:

IV. Presentations: Holy Ghost Church Regarding Letter of Support (revised)

Since the Council meeting is tonight at 7 p.m., we should learn the details later this evening.


Karen said...

Holy Ghost Orthodox Christian Church, represented by John Bilanin, requested a letter of approval from Phoenixville Borough Council for a HUD senior citizen housing development.

The Church is located at the corner of Bridge and Starr Streets.

Borough Council voted 7-0 with Council Member Jeff Senley absent.

The Planning Commission is the setting for the next stage on this proposal.

I will post to this blog when I receive notice that the project will be presented for discussion.

Anonymous said...

As is typical of Mr. Jim Evans, he herded all the residents of St. Peter's Place across the street to the Council meeting to give/state their support for his Holy Ghost property Section 8/HUD building proposal. It was standing room only and interestingly enough, Council in it's infinite wisdom, granted his recinded request for a supporting letter even though he recinded his request last month. Is there no end to this nonsense. This is a very devious action? All of the reasons he gave for withdrawing his request last month still exist but this month they don't matter any more. This from a man of the cloth? Give me a break. Those opposed, never had a chance to even find out about this presentation as it was added at the last minute. Very devious, I'd say. And sad too. I hope those opposed will fight on and win control of their parish back.

Anonymous said...

Who is John Bilanin? No one has seen him in over six weeks. How can he make this request if Father Evans withdrew the proposal last month ?

The property is owned by the St. Nicholas Brotherhood, not the Holy Ghost Church. Shouldn't the proposal go back to the "brotherhood" before going back to council since the offer has been changed a bit and majority of parish DID NOT EVEN ATTEND THE MEETING to approve?

Why has Mr. Bilanin delayed announcing, promoting and seeking action on the Capital Campaign for the New Educational Bldg? HE was directed to do this over a year ago? He stated this evening that the church is in dire straights for the funds from Mr Evans yet, the multiple fundraising efforts of the parish have halted since his involvement with board upon his marriage to a member's stepdaughter.

Please pray for this parish!

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

The church is in dire straits finanacially because of the fact that the membership has dwindled exponentially over the past several years, and any member who is not a member of the "clique" that refer to themselves as the "board" is alienated, harassed, and/or ignored. The energy is passion that was once was the heart and soul of this parish is now almost completely absent, and in its place lies deception and greed. A poster advertisement for the petty politics of organized religion.

Karen said...

Anonymous, I edited several words from your above posting.

Anonymous said...

What a shame to be so angery about this sale. What a wonderful thing for the parish to have a new and beautiful social center. I have been coming to the Holy Ghost social center for many years for Christmas and Easter Foods. How wonderful it would be for the men and women of the parish to work from a new kitchen, to great their customers in a welcoming environment. Why is it a bad thing to have nice elderly neighbors.

I have noticed many new people coming to the church. The people are also nice and greet me when I enter. I have never been ignored
harrassed or alienated. I know churches are what you make of it, if you ignore or harass others, you feel your own efforts.

My prayers are with this parish.

Anonymous said...

I come to most of the food sales that Holy Ghost Church has every year. I think it is a good thing that these people want a social center. But I did drive by the other day, and just pulled into the parking lot to sit and look. Right now there are grass and trees but the people who rote in before siad a parking lot would be there. So I think maybe they might have looked harder to make some money for themselves to build or go to the bank for a loan. They use to have good picnics and bands and we all would come. Maybe people here in town could offer ideas to help them not sell the land. Older people for neighbors are nice, but I guess I would not like to walk out of my house and see a big building. I still don't know how you can see Holy Ghost Church when the poor house is built.
Maybe the many new people comng to church the other lady wrote about, didn't know enough about the history of the people who first started their church. It use to be a mansion estate. It is one more piece of phoenixville that will fade into memory.

Anonymous said...

The parish surely needs a new Educational Social Center. There is a fund for this and as done in the past, raising funds for this effort should have been done over the past 7 years but have not due to the man who spoke to council and current priest eliminating fund raising for the project. If you went to the fair this evening you would notice that for the first time in 20 + years the church had no food stand. If we need money and must sell land to get money, why would we not sell food.

Selling off property that was purchased as sacred ground for our church, is not an option. Anyone who is aware of the legal document that those people were aware of... but hid and chose to ignore, realizes that the intent of the founders was to guarantee the church had a complex to grow on with chapel, shrines, fields to play and have picnics as well as the Social Center and Educational Building for the 110+ Sunday School children.

Elderly Housing is a wonderful idea, but not at the expense of our green open space, hundreds of trees, and selling out church ownership of THE SAINT NICHOLAS BROTHERHOOD to a business person such as Jim Evans whom has many other options on the steel property, North Side or other vacant, Zoned Commercial areas for less money!

Yes, We need a New Bldg, so raise the funds for it like our people do for everything else from 1935-1991

Anonymous said...

Why not put the HUD housing on North Side of town. Can't all those twins that are falling apart be gutted and then built upon for such a facility?
Didn't the borough commit to not take any more green away and planting trees so on and so forth...?

All the people on waiting lists could be served better being in town instead of that far down the pike with that bad road to cross for shopping. Traffic and corner not good for a big building like that.

Borough in bad spot with Evans putting all those people through that and how could they say anthing but how nice it is since he is their landlord?

Very Very shrewd for the last minute addition to put this church sale thing in front of council. Awkward for council too as makes them look foolish if they don't grant it when you say your broke.

What happened to the at fund the people had with lots of money for the new building. By now it should have almost a million in it right?
Why aren't you using that for the new building and selling food or making donations for it like you did the towers, shrine and bells?

God Bless you young people who know it all.

Anonymous said...

I am appalled at the comments of the last blogger. Anyone who understands the Orthodox Church knows that the priest has no control over the finances of the church and thus cannot control the parishes fund raising! In addition, no one individual ("the man who spoke to the council" as you stated) has that much power as well. That power rests entirely with the church's board at the direction of the congregation. The blogger should know this because they state, "If we need money...". Obviously they are affiliated with the parish in some way and should know better.

In the future, please do not post things on this blog that are incorrect and do not "point the finger" at those who are blameless. It serves no purpose other than to rile the masses - which I'm sure is your purpose.

Karen said...

I am receiving quite a number of posts which contain statements I cannot publish.

By this message I am once again requesting that authors of posts please refrain from bing hurtful to others.

I am also giving notice that I will edit for content giving credit to the author under the anonymous ID because that is the only way I can still publish your remarks.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ellsworth Toohey said*:

This is really a sad situation that will have no happy ending, I fear. Here is why it is sad:

1) This is a church that is needlessly divided.

2) This is a historic property that is being needlessly threatened.

3) All of these problems are being fueled by an episcopal priest (and also a developer of subsidized housing for the elderly not to mention half way house in Phoenixville)who had this piece inserted to the agenda late Monday night with no notification to the parish. He should also be ashamed of parading out the fine residents of St Peters that have nothing to do with the parish or the project.

4) That the Borough Council would even reconsider a letter of approval for this project in the face of the the late insertion into the agenda and the overwhelming opposition at the last meeting.

5) For people like myself, that are not members (but enjoy the food), it is truly sad that we have to watch this all play out and have zero faith that Council, Evans, or the Church Council will do the right thing. I have no faith that Council will allow a fair review of the project (which also means that Evans must resign from the Planning Commission). I have no faith in Evans' tactics. I have no faith that the church council will take a new vote with more members.

This is a mess and I hope the ones causing the mess can live with their own conscience.


Anonymous said...

Would a commission be involved on this sale? Will any one involved with board or parish benefit from this sale? You have incentive to push it thru if you make a nice commission.

Doesn't the priest collect the money when there are food sales often?

Isn't the plans for foods sales done with guidance from those mentioned?

Who types your newsletter as that is where the promotions for fundraising started in many churches. Maybe if you did this you wouldn't have to sell the land that you'll never get back. Perhaps, owning the best property doesn't mean anything to those who don't value land, but once you chop up that entrance, lot and park setting, how can you find the church or see it entering town?

What will become of your property when the 50 year commitment expires and MR Evans is not around to stand by his agreements?

I hope it is not the case, but most likely your church will be like all the others in the area with only lots surrounding.

You have the nicest property then any Orthodox Church around, pray for it and keep it sacred. God would want that for your people.

incognito said...

As a former member of the parish, having moved away for job related reasons, I find it sad that this potentially beneficial situation has come to innuendo and trash-talk.

What I have observed is quite disturbing: people engaging in a character assassination, not only of Mr. Evans (I don't call him a priest because I do not think he is one in total - as you cannot serve both God and mammon.) but of Fr. Fedornock and your own parish members. Not a good thing.

To those of you who are screaming Roberts Rule of Order and such, let me remind you that Church Law and Civil law cannot be mixed - nor should they be. Roberts Rules merely provides a means of decorum and order, it is NOT Gospel.

What does remain fact, is that a Meeting was held, at the end of March I believe, and that the majority of those present for that duly published meeting, voted in FAVOR of the proposal. So, to use the logic of Roberts Rules, the majority wins. However, there were those who decided to take it upon themselves, board members and others, to go and shanghai the Phoenixville borough council meeting and cause all sorts of strife. A house divided will not stand.

What is saddening is that some people still believe that the 'church' is theirs, and that is wrong. It is God's church. That mentality was present when Fr. Baranik arrived and he started to turn the tide. When Fr. Dahulich arrived, he made the final effort to take it from that ego-centric notion to a true idea of church. Now it seems that there are a small few who want to undue all the progress that has been made because they don't like the current pastor or the fact that progress must be made. But without sacrifice, there can be no progress.

Not one person is 100% sure if this project will come to fruition, but in the meantime, there needs to be a watchful mindset, a prayerful mindset. Rather than engage in personal attacks you should be praying for a positive outcome.

To those working in the interest of God's church, I offer my support. to those working against the interests of the same, I offer my prayers for your change of heart.

Rather than knit-picking, you should be prayerfully optimistic of the potential to bring to fruition over 10 years of savings and dreaming to make the building of a social center a reality.

Regarding the events of this week past, there is no need to have another parish meeting, the vote still stands as the presentation and desire of Mr. Evans has not changed form its original intention. He withdrew his proposal because he didn't want to create strife in the parish. That strife, however, has been created by some maverick and rogue members of the parish parading themselves as the Protectors of Orthodox Abundance (or POOA - pronounced 'pooh-ah'). It took a firm hand by a duly elected Board Member to get things back on track.

Only time will tell if the decision is the right one. But in that same vain, right or wrong, you must work together as a parish. If you were wrong, then you don't dwell on it, you get up and keep running the race. If you were right, then you rejoice in the Lord, giving thanks to Him for His blessings.

There is so much more that can be said, but I remind you that since a majority of the parish voted yes (regardless of how thin that majority was), then you must let that vote come to fruition either way. Since the majority voted yes for God's church, 'whoever is not with Him is against Him.' Where do you stand?

Anonymous said...

To the last note:

If this was all on the up and up, why was this such a big secret from November until March - by certain people on the board and the priest.

IF this sale was in the best interest of the parish, it should have been disclosed, in part at least at the annual meeting in Feb as opposed to hiding the plans from our people.

Also, the parish as a whole, was not advised properly, in mailings of notice, as done in the past, of this special urgent meeting in March.

And finally, who authorized the many behind the scenes work for this sale, as well as building a social center attached to the church - NO ONE ! Ever, other then the few whom held this proposal in secret since Nov. The parish never has voted on any location or firm plans for a new Social Center.

You obviously are not being given truthful information, so get some minutes over the past few years before posting heresay.

Anonymous said...

*Any vote can be retaken in this type of situation especially if the facts are provided to the entire parish after everyone is advised of a meeting as done in other special meetings, with a letter mailed to homes of all paid up members and 3 Sunday announcements.

IT is about time, for a new board and spiritual leader as this flock is suffering and has been for quite some time.

God would not want anyone to sell this sacred ground. God would not want parishioners feeling threatened, sent letters by the Bishop telling them they are not Christian and God especially would not want his board of officers allowing this hatred and the hurt.

Whoever is providing the updates to the parishioner who moved away, is surely misleading you. Pray for healing but understand that this ground is deeded to the people to protect it from this type of situation which would ultimately bankrupt the parish. Then no one would have a church at Starr and Bridge Street.


Anonymous said...

"...sent letters by the Bishop telling them they are not Christian..."

Surely you jest? Is this the truth?

Anonymous said...


Since you are not familiar with the events leading up to the vote, your pontification, is really out of line. To say that the majority of the church voted, is the one, most overused statement in this situation. If a parish member could not be present for two consective weeks, that individual would have no way of knowing that a meeting of this importance was to be held.

Why were letters not mailed to parishioners to inform them of this meeting. There were 81 members present at that meeting. This is less than 1/2 of the adult members of HG Church. A meeting that would and did forever change the physical characteristics of this church should have been available to all.

The anger and frustration is related to how this event was handled. There was not enough time for people to change work responsibilities to attend and we all know that proxies were not permitted.

Many have faulted the parish members who attended the borough council meeting yet, when these same individuals attempted to talk to parish board members, they were told there was nothing further to discuss.

There were more questions that answers and no one on the church board was interested in really looking into the questions.

So if progress means selling land instead of starting a capital campaign fund like the first VP was suppose to do over one year ago, than I guess progress has evolved the church into society's throw away lifestyle. We don't have to work hard when we can sell the land for 500K and try to build a half decent social center for the benefit of the baking ladies. Father John stated at the church meeting that the baking ladies, and he named them all, deserved a new social center. They do work hard, but those of us who are in the workforce contribute signifacantly in a financial manner, because we are not retired and cannot bake during the day.

So to the members who decided to look for an easy way out and sell the land that sits on the left side and left front of the church,

I bid you farewell.

The board members who spoke out have been removed from the board.
Every parish member who spoke at the Phoenixville borough council and excercised the RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH has been DISCIPLINED in a written letter from the BISHOP of the church. This matter is being looked into in a very serious manner. The right of members to vote, the freedom of speech at a public meeting has been stepped on.

I pray the Planning Commission puts a stop to this. IF so, I'll read about it in the paper. I will join the many that have gone before me....goodbye.


Anonymous said...

To "Goodbye"
Maybe you should be happy the land will be sold for so much $$. I would interpret this as a need to stop giving so much in my envelopes. Let the board members and the priest keep the church going by themselves.

Members of other churches have learned to speak with their envelopes. Yours, because of the peoples' genuine love for their parish, might be the last holdout. It is unfortunate, but it seems like many churches have become nothing more than businesses in this day and age.
I am sorry to see this mess occur in your parish. I personally believe a bad and very short sighted decision has been made here. Your board, your pastor and Mr Evans will have to live with the fallout for a long time.

Anonymous said...

There are so many different views on this situation. Someone that lives in town and knows what it was like before the stores moved in would see this with some concern. If they are going to think about putting in a stadium, why would they want more senior housing to go in right across the street from where there already is a low income building. If they want a stadium I would think a restaurant or other really neat business would snatch up this corner for sale. I didn't know that it was for sale.
This church has all of the little signs out for food sales and flags and all that. It kinda looks a little old school if ya know what I mean. Why weren't they at the dogwood fair? I see them at produce junction many times during the week. they must be making something.I feel bad for their people who have a history at the church. There seems no respect for history anymore.

Anonymous said...

Those flags and bright signs are a bit aren't they...........

Good points on other options.

From what I understand the idea was brought to Evans by the need for money by the leadership as they felt it was a win win

. said...

Another sad side to all this was a walking trail with pretty wooden plaques that contained the Beatitudes on each plaque - painted in pretty blue and gold... A young boy years ago took this on as a project for his scouting ... Along the walkways from the old mansion... were all the signs on high posts so those roaming or walking could pray at each sign.

To give you an example of the type of people involved now.. fast forward. Instead of allowing another young scout troop to fix up and replace some of the broken signs... the leader who was President when this proposal was made with Evans, wripped them out and said they'd be built over anyhow. I was there. He chucked them in his flatbed and basically gave the young children cleaning the grounds, no hope to a possbile trail or replacement of these Beatitude trail signs that had been on our property for ten+ years.

That is a shame. That is an example of the reckless manner those who just don't care about history, religion or our church are doing at Holy Ghost

Anonymous said...

Interesting how the people of St Michaels are working together to speak opening and keep the property whole and fighting eminent domain and those from Holy Ghost can't wait to sell out their property for a couple bucks. After they pay the taxes, lawyers, and such, it is not a lot of coins they'll end up with to try and build the prefab, movie church style additional that will be an eye sore to town, on the corner of the Gateway to Phoenixville. Once church is fighting to keep their glory to God given land and the other is fighting those who want to save theirs. Amazing

Anonymous said...

In watching the borough meeting from the other night, the funding timeline and application detail explained by director of St Peters Place contradicted what prior meeting discussed, with Mr Evans.

The other night, the funds had to be dispersed this year once letter of approval was given by council.

Last month, the funds had to be dispersed by June 1st or they would never be available. Per Jim Evans, "The funds will never be availble, it is now or never. This region will never have this opportunity and could relinquish opportunity of HUD for this area forever"

Quite different time line and urgency of the now or never seemed to fool the council.

Why is the council of Phoenixville so gullable? Can't they see through the drama and realize they were setup by all this. How could all the church's and organizations come up with the letters of support to Mr Evans, if he withdrew his request 3-4 weeks prior?

This is the best drama ever written. A lot of behind the scenes discussions must have been made to create all the rush and approval.

Anonymous said...

The Val-Rio lot (same size as HG)
sold for $2,950,000.00 (2.95 million )a few months ago. The property sits on the same style intersection with poor entrance, as HG site but is 1.2 acres as opposed to 1.5 acres.