Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 4 December 2012.Phone: (785) 218-7663
HistoryIn 1993, Father John Mack, an Orthodox priest, moved from a church in Topeka, Kansas, to work with the University of Kansas Orthodox campus ministry program. He shared his knowledge of Orthodoxy with students and other Lawrence residents for about five years in this capacity. In 2002, after two months of planning, Mack and about fifteen worshipers began meeting for services in the basement of a house in Lawrence. The membership grew to about twenty-five before the move to what had been a second-hand children’s clothing store in a strip mall, where worship continues today. The original house was then transformed into the St. Sophia Academy.
DemographicsThe congregation of St. Sophia has blossomed from its original twenty-five to about seventy, most of whom are Lawrence residents. A few members commute from Topeka. Approximately seventy percent of the current members are converts form other traditions, mainly from alternative forms of Christianity. Most of the members are 25 to 40 years old. A few children attend the church. Men and women participate in roughly equal numbers. Worshipers of many ethnicities attend the facility, including Macedonian, Bulgarian, Russian, Lebanese, and Caucasian. Some members are converts from other denominations such as Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic. To reflect the variety in his congregation, Fr. Mack and members use an array of languages during services: Greek, Latin, Russian, Bulgarian, and Slavic.
DescriptionThe church is in a small strip mall. From the outside the facility looks ordinary, but the inside walls of the church are filled with icons. In the back of the room there is a large wooden altar (not the altar used in the Divine Liturgy) carved with many decorations, including the Russian Orthodox Cross. The elevated front of the room is enclosed by a curtain, behind which an altar holds the gospel book. Father Mack also changes his ceremonial robes behind the curtain. Directly in front of the curtain is an icon of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. A few folding chairs circle the room, giving some congregants a place to sit while worshiping. An adjacent room houses the book and icon store.
Activities and ScheduleThe Divine Liturgy is held Sundays at 10:30 am. Vespers services are Monday through Saturday at 5:30pm, and feast days are as announced. St. Sophia Church also is home to a bookstore and provides discussion groups and a women’s fellowship. For the latest information on the church's activities and schedule, please see the website.