The Inaugural “Christmas at the Seminary” Fundraiser
As Christians prepare themselves this Lenten Season for the upcoming feast of the Nativity of Christ, so do the students of Saint Sophia's Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, New Jersey. In between classes and preparing for their semester’s final exams, the students began to decorate their home for the first ever “Christmas at the Seminary”- capturing the essence of the Holy Wonderworker Saint Nicholas.
On Saturday, December 12th, friends and supporters of the Seminary were welcomed into the Seminary building that to learn about the school, the historic building, and meet with the current full-time and part-time students. This fundraiser was organized by Dobrodijka Oksana Pasakas with the help of Pani Maria Morozovska, Natalia Hlushko, Svitlana Lymar, and the seminarians. The event was well attended: the Distance Learning/Part-Time students were meeting that same weekend for their classes and exams, alumni came telling stories of their years in the Seminary, donors and supporters came to meet the full student body and see the updates and repairs to the historic building, and friends and families gathered for fun, fellowship and holiday cheer.
Guests had the opportunity to spend as much time as they wanted wandering around the first floor of the Seminary building. The Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel was open to those who wanted to pray or to view the wide array of icons hanging on the walls. In this same chapel, the students and their teachers gather to pray at least three times a day. In the dining room, where the students gather for meals, classes, and to study, guests sat around the same tables enjoying Lenten dishes prepared by the seminary chef Pani Maria Morozovska and Dobrodijka Oksana Pasakas. Craft stations were set up for icing and decorating Christmas-themed sugar cookies as well as a station for making your own ornaments. A basket was left out for those who wished to make an ornament for the orphans of Znamyanka orphanage. In exactly a week after this fundraiser, His Grace Bishop Daniel would be leading a group of young adults to the orphanage and will deliver these handmade ornaments to the children.
In the newly remodeled classroom and computer lab, gifts of much needed consumable items, such as cleaning products, paper towels, toilet paper, athletic equipment and others began piling up. These generous gifts will lessen the monthly financial burden at the seminary. Throughout the school year, consumable goods and food items are purchased from local stores for the needs of the student body. These purchases are made possible by donations made throughout the year.
In the afternoon, guests were treated to a musical surprise as members of the local singing ensemble “Promin” came caroling to the Seminary—singing Christmas, New Years and Epiphany carols. At the end of their carol and greeting, members of “Promin” led a sing-along with guests and seminarians. As a thank you for attending, all guests received homemade chocolate covered pretzels as party favors.