ASH GROVE, MO [MW Diocese Communications] -- Father Moses Berry, a priest of the Diocese of the Midwest who ministers at the Theotokos "Unexpected Joy" Orthodox Church here, shares his unique story in an interview posted recently on the Orthodox Church in America's web site, titled "The Church Belongs to Everyone."
In 1998, Father Moses and his family moved from St. Louis to his family’s farm in Ash Grove, near Springfield. Century Farm has been in the Berry family since 1872. A cemetery on the property dedicated to "Slaves, Paupers, and Indians" was in need of maintenance and oversight, so Father Moses returned to his rural boyhood home.
A small group of faithful gathered around the new mission, named in honor of the Icon "Theotokos 'Unexpected Joy.'" The tiny cemetery chapel hosted the first services; in 2000 the mission was received into the Orthodox Church in America, and in 2003, the parishioners erected a temple.
Father Moses travels widely to give talks on a variety of topics, ranging from missions and evangelism to local Afro-American history. Folks who have met him elsewhere often stop by to worship when they pass through the area.
In addition to his pastorate, Father Moses oversees the work of the Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black, a pan-Orthodox, not-for-profit organization whose annual conference is aimed at attacting those with little exposure to Orthodox Christianity or its African roots.
The interview with Father Moses may be accessed here.
Additional information on the Brotherhood may be found here.