In 2010, there was an interest among the faithful for starting an Orthodox Christian Mission Church in the Hickory area. We had a small gathering of potential parishioners along with Fr. Marcus Burch, Fr. Thomas Moore and Fr. Christopher Foley at Libby Seafood Restaurant.
Sometime after the meeting we held our first Vespers service at Lenior-Rhyne University in which Pastor Andrew Weisner the Dean, Campus Ministry allowed us to use Koinonia (K) House Chapel. Father Christopher Foley of Holy Cross in High Point, NC and some members of his choir came to assist and led the service. With the new beginnings of our mission station we had started a Face Book page called Hickory Orthodox Mission. We held two Vespers services at the LR University K House Chapel and a few Vesper services at Saint Andrews ELCA near the campus of L-R University. We soon discontinued meeting for the lack of interest in the low attendance of the services.
Pascha (Easter) of 2014, there were a few Moldovan families from the Hickory area who had attended Pascha services at Holy Cross in High Point, NC and had expressed to Fr. Christopher that they would support a mission church in the Hickory area.
Father Christopher again needed to gauge interest for starting of a mission so we then hosted a few social gatherings in July, August and September of 2014 at local parks and in private homes.
We held a Vespers Service on Sunday evening of November 9, 2014 at the new Lenoir-Rhyne University Grace Chapel. Father Christopher and members of Holy Cross choir once again came to help lead our service.
We continued to have Vesper services once a month on Sunday evenings throughout 2014-2015 at the Sebastian Chapel of St. Aloysius Catholic Church.
On Sunday, November 22, 2015, we relocated to Zion ELCA where we would use their old chapel built in the late 1800s which they were no longer using. We were going to start having Sunday morning Typica Readers Services. As we continued to have a few more Vespers services with Fr. Christopher and Fr. David assisting us with learning the Typica Readers service.
In 2016, our Choir Director Bill Morgan started leading us in Typica Readers Services on Sunday mornings.
Saturday, May 7, 2016, we held our First Divine Liturgy which was on Bright Saturday with Fr. Christopher, Fr. Deacon George, and Fr. David Wooten with members of Holy Cross Choir.
June 2016, His Grace, Bishop Alexander gave the Hickory mission a name and heavenly patron, the Holy Archangel Gabriel.
The Archangel Gabriel Mission Station.
Fr. Christopher Foley, Fr. David Wooten, continued to rotate serving Divine Liturgy with Fr. Paul Schellbach a retired military chaplain who also came to help start leading and assisting with the mission.
From May 2016 to October 2018, we had Divine Liturgy once a month and continued to have Typica Reader Services on Sundays without Divine Liturgy when no priest was scheduled.
From November 2018 to present, we started having Divine Liturgy twice a month and continued to have Typica Reader Services on Sunday’s without Divine Liturgy.
Sunday, January 27, 2019, After Divine Liturgy we met at Rotary-Geitner Park for Blessing of the Waters for the Feast of Theophany for our first time to bless the Catawba River on Lake Hickory with Fr. Paul Schellbach. Our event was reported in the Hickory Daily Record, the Caldwell Journal, and other media outlets.
Sunday, August 18, 2019, for the Afterfeast of the Dormition of the Theotokos was our last Divine Liturgy held at Zion ELCA Chapel. We had to begin relocating due to the condition of the building, which needed remodeling.
Sunday, September 8, 2019, we had Divine Liturgy at our new location in the Sebastian Chapel of St. Aloysius Catholic Church on the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos with Fr. Christopher.
Sunday, March 1, 2020, Archbishop Alexander granted us Mission status and assigned Fr. Paul Schellbach priest-in charge. We are now blessed to have Vespers and Divine Liturgy each weekend.
March 17, 2020, We moved to our new Location of the Parish Center of Bethany Lutheran Church.
The Orthodox Faith
Volume 3, written by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko and revised and expanded by Dr. David C. Ford, contains an in-depth look at church history through the centuries.