St Michael’s is a parish in the Orthodox Church, which is the second largest Christian group in the world. Most of our parishes are in Russia, Greece, Serbia, Romania and the Middle East.
Our Parish was formed in 1977, and entered the Orthodox Church in 1981. The congregation consists of people from the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area who come from various ethnic backgrounds: Mexican, Ecuadorian, Ukrainian, Russian, Palestinian, Eritrean, Lebanese, Indian, Greek, English, German, Irish, South African, etc.
Members from St Michael’s are involved in many different projects that help the disadvantaged and aid the Whittier community.
If you desire more information about St Michael’s Church, please feel free to contact our Pastor, Father John, by phone or email.
Please know that you are welcome to visit anytime. Our Sunday Mass is at 10 a.m., followed by a fellowship time that includes a full meal.
St Michael Church is under the omophorion of The Most Reverend JOSEPH, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
St Michael Church is a parish in the Archdiocese’s Western Rite Vicariate. The Right Reverend Bishop JOHN (Abdalah) is the Vicar Bishop for all Western Rite parishes. St Michael also fully participates in all the events of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Westt.
The Very Reverend John W. Fenton was appointed the Third Pastor of St Michael’s by Metropolitan Joseph in October 2015.
Fr. John Fenton came to Orthodoxy after 16 years of service as a Lutheran minister. Ordained a priest by Bishop MARK on 11 February 2007, Fr John was first assigned to form Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church. Fr John has earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology, and is a candidate for a Doctor of Ministry degree.
Fr John has taught theology and philosophy in both high school and college classrooms. In 2009, Metropolitan PHILIP appointed Fr John as Assistant to the Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate.
Fr John is married to Kh Julie. They have seven children and six grandchildren, and live in Whittier.
Life at St Michael’s
Holy Mass (Divine Liturgy) is the chief activity and service of the parish. It is celebrated on:
- Sundays at 10 a.m.
- Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 a.m.
- The First Friday of every month (Votive Mass with Anointing for the Sick)
- Holy Days at 7 p.m. as announced
Every Sunday, after Mass, all parishioners and guests are invited to a full lunch.
Lauds and Vespers are ancient prayer services centered around the Psalms. They are offered regularly on:
- Saturdays: Vespers at 6 p.m.
- Sundays: Lauds at 9:15 a.m.
- Tuesdays and Thursdays: Lauds at 7:30 a.m.
- Mondays and Wednesdays: Vespers at 6 p.m., Rosary at 6:30 p.m.
In addition to the regular schedule, special services are offered during Lent:
- Wednesdays: Vespers at 6 p.m., Rosary at 6:30 p.m., Mass at 7 p.m.
- Fridays: Stations of the Cross & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 7 p.m.
These services are followed by a light meal in the parish hall.
Learning the Orthodox Faith
Numerous opportunities for Scripture study and understanding the Orthodox Faith are also offered at St Michael’s.
- Didache (di-dah-kay) is a lively and informative inter-generational presentation of various biblical, doctrinal and practical aspects of the Faith. All presentations are designed to interest children as well as teens and adults. It meets on Sundays during lunch and is taught by Father John.
- Deacon’s Bible Study on a particular book of the Holy Scriptures is led by Deacon Lazarus every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. (except during Lent). Currently, the group is studying the epistle to the Romans.
- Father’s Bible Study on a particular book of the Holy Scriptures is led by Fr John every Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. Currently, the group is studying the book of Job.
- Exploring Orthodox is an informal discussion of the doctrines of the Orthodox Faith for inquirers (seekers), catechumens and parishioners. No commitment is expected. It meets on Mondays at 7 p.m. It can also be scheduled for other times when there is interest.
- Antiochian Women of St Michael meets on the second Sunday of each month after the lunch. The meetings include a discussion of a biblical topic or book specifically suited to Christian women.
- Book Study meets on the first and third Saturday of each month at 4 p.m. Currently, the group is discussing the book “Unseen Warfare,” which explores the challenges of living the Christian life.
- The Society of St Benedict is a prayer society open to persons of all Christian faiths. In addition to following regular prayers, discussions on meditation and portions of the Rule of St Benedict are also offered, as well as service projects and annual retreats.
Sacraments & Other Services
- The Sacrament of Penance (Private Confession) is available on Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. or by appointment.
- The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is offered to those unbaptized persons who desire to become Christian. It includes the Sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation) and First Communion. Instruction in the Orthodox Faith and regular participation in the life of St Michael’s Church are necessary per-requisites to Baptism.
- Biblical counseling for those intending to marry, or for those in any need, is offered by Fr John. Please call for an appointment.
- Non-Sacramental Anointing following the Mass on the First Friday of every month is offered to any Christian who desires prayers for healing of body, mind, or spirit.
- Regular visitation of the sick and homebound is provided by Father John and Deacon Lazarus.
Joining St Michael’s
St Michael’s Church is a family of Orthodox Christians who care for each other, and are cared for by our Bishop and Pastor.
Becoming a member of St Michael’s begins with attending regularly the Mass and other liturgical services. In this way, you get to know us and we get to know you so that we can care for you.
If, after several visits, you decide to become part of our church family, you will be received by one of three routes:
- If you are an Orthodox Christian, then you simply need to declare your intent to Fr John and offer what you can of yourself or your resources. You will also want to communicate your desire to your previous parish.
- If you are from another Christian tradition and wish to become Orthodox, you will need to be received by the Sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation). Instruction tailored to your background and schedule is required. This instruction requires that you join us in at least one of the major fasts (Advent or Lent). Proof of baptism in a previous Christian group is also required.
- If you have not been baptized, you will need to be instructed in the Orthodox Faith. Instruction tailored to your background and schedule is required. This instruction generally takes one year.
To explain our terminology, those who are visiting and just “checking us out” are known as “Inquirers.” Inquirers may participate in all our liturgical services and activities, but are not permitted to receive the Eucharist or other Sacraments. Additionally, no commitment or obligation is expected or Inquirers.
Those who have decided that they wish to become Orthodox are known as “Catechumens.” As they prepare for their First Eucharist, Catechumens integrate themselves into the parish by making the commitment to attend liturgical services and participate in the life of the parish.
Those interested in the Orthodox Faith are encouraged to attend regularly an Orthodox parish for at least six weeks.
The following books or pamphlets may also be helpful:
- The Mystery of Faith by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev (condensed online version) (print version)
- The Orthodox Church by Timothy (Metropolitan Kallistos) Ware
- The Faith: An Orthodox Catechism by Clark Carlton
- The Orthodox Faith by Fr. Thomas Hopko