Who and What is Saints Mary and Martha Monastery?
Saints Mary and Martha Orthodox Monastery was founded in 1989 and is under the auspices of His Eminence, The Right Reverend Alexander, Archbishop of Dallas, the South and the Bulgarian Diocese, Orthodox Church in America (OCA). The Monastery has been in Wagener, SC since June 1996, and is located on a heavily wooded 60 acre parcel of land, about 30 miles southwest of Columbia, SC.
What is the Purpose of This Campaign?
Although under the umbrella of the Monastery Building Fund, the current fund raising campaign is solely focused upon a much needed specific goal: the completion of the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System for the main Monastery building. The Monastery has accepted bids totaling $190,000 for electrical roughing-in, HVAC equipment, and final installation in the new building. Through God's bounty, the Monastery already has in hand $130,000 of the necessary funding. It is the final $60,000 required to finish the project that is the goal of this GoFundMe campaign.
Without this additional funding, the HVAC work would cease at the point when the current funds have been expended. For project efficiency, it is vital for the project to flow smoothly through to completion of the HVAC System, without a disrupting interruption awaiting the additional funds. Completion is the goal of this campaign. Every donation, large or small, will be gratefully and prayerfully accepted. Since this campaign is formally designated as a Certified Charity Fundraiser, all donations will be sent directly to the Monastery by GoFundMe, and donors will be provided with a charitable donation receipt for tax purposes.
The biggest impact of this GoFundMe campaign would be to provide the Saints Mary & Martha Chapel with a controlled environment. Even in its unfinished state, the Chapel is being used as the active worship space for the Monastery (except when construction work does not allow this). During the winter, there is no heating. During the summer, there is no air conditioning. And still the worship and prayers continue. The photos below show the Chapel as it currently fulfills its spiritual role.
What is the Bigger Picture?
To get a broader perspective of life at the Monastery and the Sisters' vision for the future, there is an illuminating eight minute video available on YouTube:
A Visit to the Monastery
More photos of the work completed and under way may be found on the Monastery's web site:
Monastery Construction Progress
Above all, the Monastery serves a community of worshipers from near and far:
A Personal Note
I have been blessed to reside near the Monastery since its beginning in Wagener, and have been in awe at God's Work being done there. It is a place of great peace and solace, with the Sisters welcoming one and all. An important aspect of the Monastery grounds is the cemetery located amidst the forested landscape. It reminds me of old Orthodox cemeteries that I have seen in Alaska. Together with many others, my wife and I have loved ones asleep in the Lord under these trees at the Monastery.
This great building effort at the Monastery has continued over many years, with the Sisters proceeding as God leads them. The progress has been in carefully measured steps. This current funding campaign is the one of the most important actions that we can all take, right now, together, to help ensure the future of the Monastery. Completion of the HVAC System for the Saints Mary & Martha Chapel would be a pivotal event.
I appreciate that with our world currently being in A Time of Troubles, now might be a curious time to start a fund raising campaign. But I also have confidence that this Monastery campaign will elicit a strong response. I pray that God will lead us to be “not of this world” (John 17:16), and guide us out of a narrow focus upon our own daily struggles. If it is God's Will and His Time, what more good can we do than to help build the Monastery?
Subdeacon Michael Gregory
Holy Resurrection Orthodox Mission
North Augusta, SC