Holy Wisdom Orthodox Mission
1355 North 4th Street • Grand Junction, CO 81501
(On the corner of North 4th Street & Kennedy Street)

holywisdomorthodox@gmail.com • 720-295-7715
A mission parish of the
Orthodox Church in America , and the Diocese of the West
Parish Administration
The administration of all Orthodox Churches worldwide is in accordance with the 2,000-year old living Tradition of our faith. The Kanons of the Ecumenical Councils guide the life of the Church, its clergy and laity. Web sites with useful background information regarding the Church Kanons are:
The Canonical Tradition of the Orthodox Church, Dr. Lewis J. Patsavos, Ph.D.
Canon Law, OrthodoxWiki
The Canons of the Eastern Orthodox Church

The decisions of the national and local synods of Orthodox hierarchs also guide the local life of Orthodox parishes, clergy and laity. These are supplemented by the directives of the local hierarch. Among the documents of relevance to our Holy Wisdom Mission Parish Council are the following:
Charter of the Orthodox Church in America
Statute of the Orthodox Church in America
Excerpt from the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, Article XII, the Parish
Bylaws of the Diocese of the West

The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America – specifically Article XII, the Parish – requires each parish to draft By Laws which are submitted to the Diocesan Hierarch for approval. Revised
Holy Wisdom Mission
December 5, 2021 By Laws

As specified in the By Laws, Parish council elections are held annually at the Annual Parish Meeting. The officers and members of our 2023 Parish Council are:
Very Reverend Archpriest Alexander Vallens, Rector, President
Ms. Karen Kopanos, Vice President
Ms. Anastasia Bowman, Secretary
Ms. Monica Kostron, Treasurer
Ms. Heidi Bryann, Member
Ms. Janet Gatseos, Member
Mr. Mike George, Member

Parish Council meetings are routinely scheduled on the third Thursday of each month. Recent Parish Council meeting minutes are as follows:

April 26, 2023

May 8, 2023

June 22, 2023

July 20, 2023

July 20, 2023

August 17, 2023

As a Mission Parish, the Parish Council will find a wealth of extremely vital information in the Mission Planter’s Resource Kit. The Table of Contents of this important guide is as follows:
  I. Introduction
    Background and Purpose
    How to Use This Manual
  II. Foundations
    The Church as Mission
    Spiritual Growth
    Theology of Church Growth
  III. Mission Start-Up Strategy
    Preparatory Period
    Pioneer Period
    Period of Growth and Organization
    Period of Reproduction
  IV. How-To
    Church Facilities
    Liturgical Resources
    Evangelism: Spiritual Basis for Mission
    Mission Finances
    Legal Matters
    Stewardship: Healthy Church Finances
    St. Innocent’s Instructions to a Missionary
  V. Appendices
    OCA Department of Evangelization Contacts
    Church Planting Grant (CPG) Program Description
    CPG Application
    CPG Monthly Progress Report
    Mission Growth Vital Signs Matrix
    Sample Catechism
    Sample Advertising
    Sample Invitation to Lecture Series
    Ministries Based Structure
    Ministries Based Organizational Chart
    Church Planter Performance Profile
    Time and Talent Survey
    Orthodox Church Supply, Services and Sales

The OCA 2023 Parish Development Forum convened July 13-15, 2023 at at Holy Trinity Church in Parma OH. Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania, the Diocese of the Midwest, and the Bulgarian Diocese, the Forum explored the theme, “Our Parish and the Future.”

In support of the Attracting and Integrating Converts segment, Forum attendees received the summary results of the Orthodox Convert Survey conducted by the Forum.

The Parish Council will obtain important insights regarding outreach and parish growth in this document Orthodox Convert Survey.

Financial management and accountability is one area of Parish Council activity that typically occupies the greatest part of council members’ attention and energy. Some of the resources provided to support the Council Members, and especially the Treasurer, are these:

Principle Guides
   Help For Parish Treasurers
   Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations, IRS Publication 1828
   Best Practice Principles and Policies for Financial Accountability

Financial Reports
   Parish Financial Reports Content Suggestions

Financial Audit
   Parish Financial Audit Guidelines

Clergy Compensation
   Clergy Compensation Guidelines
   Completing Forms W-2, 941 and 1099
   Clergy and Non-Clergy Compensation
   Substitute Clergy Compensation
   Clergy Expense Resources

Miscellaneous Resources
   Vendor Policies
   Stewardship Handbook

There are regular reports which the Parish Council, through the Treasurer, is obligated to submit to the Diocese of the West:
  • Monthly, by the 15th of the following month, the Income/Expense Report and the calculated parish assessment is sent to the Diocesan Office.
  • Annually, by January 31 – Annual Financial Report for the Previous Year. The information from this report is used to assess the quality of financial reporting to the parish and to reconcile monthly assessment reporting with the final report. One copy is sent to His Eminence at the Diocesan Office, the other to: Office of the Treasurer, Diocese of the West, 1520 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94123-5102
  • Annually, in September for publication in the Diocesan Assembly Delegate Report Book – Parish Membership Count as of September 1 of the current year. Sent as part of the parish report to the Diocesan Office.
  • Annually – Parish Member and Non-Member Mailing list sent to Administrative Assistant at the Diocesan Office.
  • January 31 – Parish Financial Reports for prior calendar year sent to Diocesan Treasurer
  • February 28 – Submit To Social Security Administration “Copy A” of each prior year’s W-2 Form issued to employees along with a W-3 transmittal form.
  • February 28 – Submit to the IRS “Copy A” of each prior year’s 1099-Mis form issued to self-employed persons along with a 1096 transmittal form by this date.
  • September 1 – Submit Fair Share Membership with parish report for Diocesan Assembly Delegate Report Book

Annually, the Parish Rector must submit a Parish Compliance Report to the diocesan hierarch. The Parish Council will, of course, assist him by providing necessary information.
Annual Parish Compliance Report
Parish Administrative History
On February 1, 2021 His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West officially established Holy Wisdom Mission in Grand Junction, Colorado. Letter from

On March 6, 2021 a Parish Special Meeting was convened by the Rector, the Reverend Benjamin Huggins, for the purpose of voting to adopt Parish By Laws and to elect the first Parish Council. Minutes of
First Parish

At the March 6, 2021 Parish Special Meeting parish By Laws were voted upon and forwarded to Archbishop Benjamin who approved them. Original
Holy Wisdom Mission
March 6, 2021 By Laws

Thereafter three individuals were elected as parish council officers and two individuals were elected as members at large. These elections were also forwarded to Archbishop Benjamin who approved them. The officers and members of our first Parish Council were:
Reverend Presbyter Benjamin Huggins, Rector, President
Dr. George Gatseos, Vice President
Ms. Anastasia Bowman, Secretary
Ms. Monica Kostron, Treasurer
Mr. Mike George, Member
Ms. Karen Kopanos, Member