Ten days ago, I went to Pikeville, North Carolina in order to bless the home of some parishioners. Pikeville is above Goldsboro, and many residents are affiliated with the nearby military base. Pikeville has around 700 people, and is thus quite small.
While en route, my GPS brought me through the nearby little town of Fremont, with approximately 1400 residents. I enjoyed seeing the older homes, and the slow pace of life. It looks like a fantastic place to be a kid, although perhaps teenagers complain about the smallness of it and lack of shopping establishments!
As always when I am on these travels, I wondered how we can bring Orthodoxy to these small towns. Obviously, parishioners living there would provide a good first step, but oftentimes our parishioners have migrated from elsewhere, and might not themselves be integrated well into the local community. Reaching native North Carolinians in small towns might thus be more difficult, and perhaps it would take a conversion from a tight-knit family to get the ball rolling.
I can’t stop dreaming of one day seeing Orthodox parishes and missions dotting the landscape of Eastern North Carolina. Please join me in prayer for this intention!