On November 16th, 2002 Archbishop Dmitri gave Fr. Michael Storozuk the task of exploring the possibilities of starting a new mission in the Sherman/ Denison area. Initial contact was made with Robert and Karen Jones, Orthodox Christians living in Denison. Names began to be collected and discussion about organizing took place. On January 18th, 2003 an organizational meeting was held at the Old Katy Railroad Depot in Denison. There were fourteen people present, Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike. Because of the large and enthusiastic response a liturgy was scheduled.
The first Divine Liturgy was served in borrowed space at the Old Katy Railroad Depot in Denison on January 26, 2003. There were eighteen people in attendance with many visiting from our mother parish, St Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas. From this point on Liturgy was served every week. In the middle of February the liturgical schedule was expanded to include Wednesday vespers and again expanded to include Saturday vespers/vigil on the first of March. A full schedule of services has been in place since then which includes the Canon of St Andrew, and all of the services for Great Lent, Presanctified Liturgy and the full Holy Week/Pascha services.
Palm Sunday was the last time we were able to use the Old Katy Railroad Depot so we moved to the home of Robert and Karen Jones. In February a search was begun to find a permanent location for our mission. With the move out of the Depot the search was intensified. Discussions were held and suggestions about buying or renting were compared to building our own facility and it was decided that constructing our own temple to our specifications was the most feasible and practical solution.
In August of 2003 a 2.009 acre property was found on Preston Road. It was the best piece of land located thus far. The search continued so as to have something to compare against. After vespers on September 29th at a meeting of all members it was decided by majority vote to enter into negotiations to purchase the land. After a series of offers and counter offers, an agreement was reached to purchase the land. The closing on the land was November 7th.
At this point, plans for construction hit a fever pace. Because of limited resources and the availability of the right talent we decided to build this church ourselves! At first we were going to build a simple rectangular building that would serve as a temporary chapel and hall until such time as we could build a proper temple but as the practicalities set in, and at the prompting of Archbishop Dmitri “try to make your first building at least look like a church”, we found that it would be just as easy to construct a proper church building now.
Using as a basis a plan drawn in 1849 by St Jacob Netsvetov for a church built in Ikogmiut, Alaska, and approved by St Innocent, we made a materials list and began construction. The first loads of Red River sand for the building pad were brought in on November 22nd, 2003 and construction began December 1st, less than ten months after our first liturgy. Archbishop Dmitri served the first Divine Liturgy in the new temple during Great lent, March 20, 2004. There will be a continuing effort at landscaping and interior adornment as funds become available.
During its first year in existence four individuals were received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation at St Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church.