2023 Pastor's Report

Fr Paul's 2023 Annual Pastor's Report for the Annual Meeting (Jan 29, 2023)

Voting Membership

For the purpose of determining the quorum for our 2023 Annual Parish Meeting, let me report St Herman’s official voting membership at 58 faithful Orthodox Christians. The criteria for qualifying as a voting member at St Herman’s Annual Parish Meetings, and any other specially called Church meetings, are: one must be a member in good standing 18 years of age or older. This means that you have been received into the Church through the sacraments of confession, Holy Baptism and Chrismation; you have given your confession at least once a year; you are leading a life worthy of one who loves Christ and is seeking to do His will, you are participating faithfully in the divine services (Vespers, Vigil, Divine Liturgy), and you are ‘partaking of the divine nature’ (Holy Eucharist) on a regular basis. This is to say that faithfulness to the Gospel, not your pocketbook, is the criterion for qualifying as a member of St Herman’s Orthodox Parish.

Inquiring minds may want to know how many of us there are altogether. All of us – infants, children, youth, inquirers, catechumens, baptized and chrismated, who, by regular attendance and faithful participation in our services indicate that we regard St Herman’s as our Church home, number around 120 and more.


In a couple of weeks, on Saturday, February 11, we’ll have a few more ‘members’ of St Herman’s. We look forward to receiving the Boyums – Garrett, Katie, Ezra and Obadiah – into the Church through the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Chrismation. We look forward to adding to our number again on Lazarus Saturday; we are planning to receive Tom Kolden into the Church through Holy Chrismation. At this time, besides the Boyums and Tom, we have 13 other catechumens, including the infants and children. We look forward to receiving them into the Church when they feel they are ready and ‘desire it with all their heart.’

Our number includes the McCulloughs – John, Lerah, Jole, Brennan, Lucius, and Maude. They were received into the Church through the Greek Archdiocese a few years ago. They moved from the Twin Cities to Pierre, SD, about a year ago. The nearest Orthodox Church to Pierre is Sioux Falls, more than three hours away. John works with the South Dakota legislature at the state capitol. At the McCulloughs’ request, and with the blessing of Archbishop Daniel, the McCulloughs were made a chapel of St Herman’s in October, 2022. That means that they are an extension of St Herman’s. We are responsible for guiding their spiritual development in their special circumstances. We are looking at organizing a weekend event from time to time in Pierre which would include Vespers and Divine Liturgy as the conclusion of some kind of evangelical/educational outreach to introduce inquirers to the Orthodox Faith. Anyone from St Herman’s is welcome to be part of such an initiative. The McCulloughs plan to be with us for the latter part of Great and Holy Week through Pascha.

Our number was diminished on April 16, 2022, Lazarus Saturday, just as we were beginning the Divine Liturgy that morning. Robert Morse fell asleep in the LORD at 9 am. The first few days of Great and Holy Week last year were enriched by our serving Rob’s Parastas and Funeral at St Herman’s, and we prayed him up to the Church on high. Rob was a beloved and faithful member of St Herman’s. He loved our parish, he loved the faithful. We miss him. May his memory be eternal.

On that same morning, however (April 16), we were receiving Marion Hanson and Travis Hensersky into the Church through the sacraments of confession and Holy Chrismation. They became ‘partakers of the divine nature.’ May the LORD richly bless them, illumine them, and strengthen them.


A few years before the word ‘retirement’ became part of my personal vocabulary, I was repeatedly taken aback by people who, unsolicited, asked me when I was planning to retire. I didn’t think I looked that old. Well, now I look even older because I am older. I’m 68 years old, and, even though you didn’t ask, I will tell you that I enjoy being a ‘golden boy’. Here’s my plan: I do not have a date for retiring. I have a date for when I will begin to consider retirement. That date is Sept 29, 2024. I will turn 70 on that day. I do not plan to retire then; I plan to assess myself to determine if I am able and willing to go another year; and so I will do each year after that. At this point, the chief determining factor is my physical health – and so I keep my membership at the local gym to keep myself reasonably fit. I see the appropriate doctors to stay on top of my numbers, and I discipline myself to eat no more vegetables than I have to in order to justify my several large servings of meat each meal that are necessary to keep me in a reasonably equitable mood.

Mother Nancy and I are grateful to Our LORD for blessing us with you. You are our blessing and our joy. We pray daily for each of you, that the LORD and His Holy Mother will illumine you, and comfort you, and encourage you, and guide you on the way of His Peace and Joy.

In the love of Christ and His Holy Mother

fr paul

Annual Report to Parish