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Parish Background

Holy Transfiguration Parish was a New Haven area mission. The "mission" was established as a full parish in August of 1915 and named for the wonderful summer feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (see Matt 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36), which is celebrated August 6. The founders of our parish were immigrants primarily from the Belarus area of Russia, and the traditions of our parish are basically Russian/Slavic in nature though the parish today is multi-ethnic and interracial in composition. We are a member parish of the Diocese of New England of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).

Today
We are the heirs of the missionary efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church, which began on the North American continent more than 200 years ago. Our parish life is centered around the traditional liturgical and sacramental life of the Orthodox Church. We are Baptized, Chrismated Orthodox Christians who confess the historical Orthodox Faith and who strive to live by that faith. We believe in frequent participation in the healing mystery (sacrament) of Confession; and we encourage regular participation in the saving Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Parish life includes education, service, and social activities for children, families, and adults, as normal for a healthy and active parish family. We encourage congregational singing and we invite the musically inclined to rehearse and sing with the choir.

We extend hospitality to area college students who participate in our services and who attend Vespers on the Yale campus each Thursday at the Branford Chapel. Under the guidance of Fr Michael Westerberg, the Yale OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) has hosted eminent theologians for campus-wide programs. The students along with Fr Michael have worked regularly in a downtown soup kitchen.

Our parish has committed itself to stewardship beyond the parish. Monthly the parish council designates an orthodox educational, charitable, or missionary cause to receive offerings collected at the end of the Divine Liturgy. Our parish is active in FORCC, the Fellowship of Orthodox Churches in Connecticut.

Education
Our parish is committed to Orthodox education. Our small library includes books, filmstrips, and videos relating to the Orthodox Christian Faith and culture, which we make available to the community.

Church School is a "regular" of the parish life for the children. "Pre-K" through teen classes meet each Sunday, September through June, following the Divine Liturgy. Classes follow the OCA standard curriculum and students participate in read-a-thons, diocesan programs, youth rallys, retreats, trips and pilgrimages. Children are encouraged to participate in every aspect of parish life: the children's choir, church reading, Altar serving, and ongoing efforts in Christian stewardship.

Additional parish educational opportunities include Monday evening adult education/Bible study classes, regular and special lecture programs, discussion/study groups, coffee hour presentations, and sponsorship of students in St Vladimir's Seminary Field Work program.

Parish membership
While membership in the Church is a matter of faith, worship and sacramental participation, parish membership also includes commitment and responsibility for the life, upkeep, and programs of the parish. We encourage wise and good stewardship of time, talents, and treasure. We recognize tithing as the scriptural norm, but we also acknowledge tithing to be a goal, which is not yet realized for many of our members. Presently we ask for a basic commitment of $275 annually per adult (18 and over) but we encourage pledging beyond this level. An envelope system helps parishioners plan for and make weekly offerings. Information about envelopes is available at the candle desk. On occasion a parishioner may be unable to meet his/her annual basic commitment. In such cases an exemption may be granted through confidential consultation with Fr Michael or the council president. Our parish also maintains a discretionary fund for occasional modest financial aid for parish members.
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