New ‘Dakotas Mission District’ Declared

CHICAGO, IL [DOM] – The ‘Dakotas Mission District’ is an administrative territory within the Minneapolis Deanery of the OCA Midwest Diocese of Chicago. Established in February 2023, it is located in the states of North and South Dakota and is overseen by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest. His Eminence is represented in the Missions District by the District Dean of the Minneapolis Deanery.

The Dakotas Missions District was established for the purpose of focusing energies and coordinating resources among new and established parishes, missions and chapels of all Orthodox jurisdictions within the Missions District wishing to work together in a common effort to evangelize the Dakotas. Co-ordination of missions and evangelizing initiatives currently is spearheaded by the established OCA parishes in Minot and Fargo, and by the newly established mission of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Bismarck, ND. Though not within the defined boundaries of the Dakotas Missions District, Orthodox chapels, missions and parishes of all jurisdictions in Minnesota as well – specifically the OCA chapel in Bemidji, the OCA mission in St Cloud and the Serbian parish in Chisholm – may join forces with clergy and faithful within the Missions District to identify issues, assess needs, and share resources for evangelizing their own respective regions in Minnesota.

A strategic vision for evangelizing the Dakotas was crafted at a two-day Missions Summit held at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Fargo, ND, February 7-8, 2023. Over thirty clergy and faithful were in attendance, representing missions, chapels and parishes from North Dakota and Minnesota. The Summit identified priorities and needs, and launched a step by step plan to address them. The centerpiece of the plan is bringing the clergy and faithful within the Missions District together face to face regularly in different venues, meeting both with each other and also with the Diocesan Hierarch, to overcome what has heretofore been a relatively isolated existence by establishing a fraternity of clergy and faithful that comes together regularly for prayer and worship, for mutual support and encouragement, and to identify issues and needs pertaining to the evangelizing of each community’s respective region, and to determine effective ways for addressing them.

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