European elegance and old-world traditions grace St. John’s Monastery (Loretto J. Hulse, 2015)

NOTE: The following newspaper article was taken from Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business, June 16th, 2015.

Sister Iosiphia, one of 22 nuns at the Holy Monastery of St. John the Forerunner near Goldendale
Sister Iosiphia, one of 22 nuns at the Holy Monastery of St. John the Forerunner near Goldendale, answers questions about the Greek Orthodox religion. She was giving a group of visitors a tour of the buildings, churches and grounds.

There’s a bit of old Europe just a few miles north of Goldendale at the Holy Monastery of St. John the Forerunner.

The chapel and church are built and decorated in a traditional, Greek Orthodox manner, with intricate carvings, colorful icons of Jesus, Mary and the saints and elaborate tile work.

“It’s very normal for an Orthodox church to be elaborately decorated because it is a house of God and you want to give your best to God,” said Sister Philothei, one of the 22 nuns who live at the Monastery.

Sister Philothei said throughout the history of the Greek Orthodox church, which goes back about 2,000 years, the churches have been ornately decorated.

“The churches have had elaborate carvings, parts of it decorated in gold leaf, and wonderful icons,” said Sister Philothei. “Because our churches are an offering up to God, we try to create heaven on earth, a very holy place.”

St. John’s monastery was founded in 1995 when Dr. Gerald Timmer donated 48 acres to the church to establish a Greek Orthodox monastery.

Unlike Roman Catholic nuns, the sisters of a Greek Orthodox monastery do not go out into the community to teach or do social work. Instead, they live a secluded, God-centered life and pray for the salvation of all mankind. When not in prayer, their days are devoted to sustaining the monastery.

The monastery, one of only 20 Greek Orthodox monasteries in the U.S., is home for 22 sisters and novices.

The monastery’s original chapel was cramped and has been replaced by a new larger church. The new church isn’t completely finished, but the nuns began using it for services in June 2014.

Some of the outside tile work still needs to be done and several chandeliers are on order, but the traditional Byzantine icons, fabulously carved seats and altar and soaring architecture of the church are all in place, giving it a European feel.

“If you were to go into a Greek Orthodox church in Greece, Serbia or in Russia, this is what you’d see. People from Greece who visit here say the chapel, our new church, feels like home,” said Sister Philothei.

In fact, what you see in the church at St. John’s monastery — as elaborate as it is — isn’t as over the top as many of the churches in Europe, Sister Philothei added.

In 2013, the sisters ordered the carvings for the new church hoping some would come by June, in time for the special feast day honoring St. John the Forerunner. Instead all the hand-carved elements arrived in time.

“A special family in Greece who do nothing but carvings for Greek Orthodox churches made ours,” said Sister Philotheir. “There’s about 20 people who worked on them — a couple of brothers, their children and their grandchildren.”

[NOTE: This would be the Eleftheriadis Brothers; http://www.eleftheriadi.gr/ ]

Sister Philothei couldn’t say what the carvings cost, but knows it will take the monastery years, many years to pay for them.

Inset into the carvings in the church are prints of icons copied from those painted by the sisters of St. John’s monastery.

The icons decorating the chapel, the monastery’s original church, were painted by the sisters who live there. But the sisters haven’t had the time yet to paint icons for the new church.

“As we have time they’ll be replaced with original paintings, but that will take us years,” Sister Philothei said.

With help from parishioners, the sisters care for the extensive grounds including the chickens and goats. They also run a bakery/café, which serves traditional Greek food and baked goods. And they make a variety of Byzantine arts and crafts for the gift shop, including prayer ropes, incense, beeswax candles and handmade lotions and soaps.

In May, the Kennewick Senior Center arranged a tour of the monastery and a luncheon of traditional Greek dishes. Twenty people participated in the trip, which was guided by Frankie Meaders, an assistant volunteer hostess for the center.

Tours of the grounds and two religious buildings on site are available with advance notice.

“It’s best to call a week or more ahead so we can make sure a sister is available,” said Sister Iosiphia, who led the tour.

Sister Iosiphia has been a nun at St. John’s monastery for 18 years and is well versed in the history of the monastic community.

Unlocking the door to the smaller chapel on the grounds, she explained it had been in continuous use for 15 years before they built the new, larger church.

“It would get a little cramped with all the nuns and lay people who attended services,” said Sister Iosiphia. “But we’ll continue to use it for special services. It holds a lot of memories.”

Sister Iosiphia shared the history of the Greek Orthodox Church and how it was founded thousands of years ago by Jesus and the original apostles.

Greek Orthodox sisters and monks aren’t divided into separate orders as Roman Catholic nuns, priests and monks are. They also, with the exception of very unusual circumstances, spend their lives at the monastery where they take their vows.

To help support the monastery, the sisters opened St. John’s Bakery, Coffee and Gifts in May 2002.

However, it doesn’t bring in enough income to fully support the monastery.

“Donations are very important. Without them we would never have been able to build our new church,” said Sister Iosiphia.

St. John’s Bakery offers a selection of classic Greek foods including dolmadakia, grape leaves stuffed with ground beef, rice and seasonings and gyros, grilled strips of meat stuffed in pita bread and topped with tzatziki sauce. There’s also a Greek lasagna, a Greek pizza of cheeses baked on pita bread and grilled pork shish kabobs.

Several other Greek dishes, such as spanakopita, are available in family-size portions in the freezer case.

They also make traditional Greek baked goods — baklava, biscotti, and koulouakia — using no preservatives. And the sisters mix up melt-in-your-mouth, golf-ball size chocolate truffles, nut clusters and cheesecakes.

The café also has a full espresso bar, using fresh-roasted coffee from Father Michael’s Roastery in Goldendale.

St. John’s Bakery, Coffee and Gifts is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily, except Sundays. The monastery is at 2378 Highway 97 in Goldendale. The phone number is 509-773-6650 and the website is www.stjohnmonastery.org.

Advertisements

St. John’s Monastery Grade A Dairy Farm has 4 beautiful bucklings for sale.

Ad #152853104

Created: January 17, 2015

Expires: February 17, 2015

152853104_CNtUrQ

St. John’s Monastery Grade A Dairy Farm has 4 beautiful bucklings for sale.  Two of these bucklings are polled.  They come from two of our best milkers and from our buck who is polled 4 generations back.  They were born Jan. 14th and will be ready for pick-up as early as January 18th to be raised and bottle fed by you.

We are asking $75 for the horned kids – they will be disbudded unless otherwise requested and $150 for the polled kids.

152853104_rkSlfA

All our goats are CAE/CL free -tested every year and ADGA registered.  We can provide the information for you to register your buckling at purchase.

We may be willing to negotiate the price – just make us an offer.

152853104_sth9ww

Contact us with any questions.

– See more at: http://www.classifiedads.com/livestock-ad152853104.htm#sthash.hFFbIK8n.dpuf

152853104_VgMkaA

AD #2

St. John’s Monastery Grade A Dairy Farm is at the beginning their 2015 kidding season We just kidded two of our doelings and have 4 beautiful bucklings available. These kids will stay with their dams for four days to a week in order to get their needed colostrum and will then be ready for pick-up to be bottled fed and raised by you. All our goats are ADGA registered and CAE/CL free with good milk production records.

We have a polled buck, Til-Riv M E Polled Magic that both of these does were bred with. He gave us two polled kids out of the four. He has polled lines 4 generations back – so the polled gene has shown to be very strong in his kids.
There dams are two of our best milkers and have proved to be an asset to our herd.

We are asking $150 for the polled bucklings and $75 for the horned kids. The horned kids will be disbudded unless otherwise requested.

Contact us as soon as possible to pick your buckling.
Each of these little guys will make excellent herd sires.

We may be willing to negotiate the price. Just make us an offer.

http://www.pet-classifieds.com/pet13670901.htm

WA Advertising 1

WA Advertising 2

St. John’s Monastery near Goldendale expands its kitchen (Savannah Tranchell, 2013)

NOTE: The following article is from the Yakima Herald, March 7th, 2013:

Sister Makrina packages pieces of baklava in one of the kitchen areas at St. John's Monastery in Goldendale.
Sister Makrina packages pieces of baklava in one of the kitchen areas at St. John’s Monastery in Goldendale.

For nearly 20 years, St. John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Monastery has sat just off the highway near Goldendale.

Enclosed in woods, the complex is home to 22 nuns and novices who have devoted themselves to a life of worship.

But monastic life is far from the quiet solitude some may imagine — the sisters are a growing bunch of entrepreneurs who stay busy running their own business.

Sister Makaria, left, makes spanakopita, a spinich and cheese pastry, while sister Makrina, right, strains cheese that will be used in the filling of tyropita, a cheese pie at St. John's Monastery in Goldendale on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. The monastery is expanding it's kitchens, giving the sisters more room to create the foods that are for sale in the monastery's shop as well as creating a dedicated area for milk processing and cheese production from the monastery's goats.
Sister Makaria, left, makes spanakopita, a spinich and cheese pastry, while sister Makrina, right, strains cheese that will be used in the filling of tyropita, a cheese pie at St. John’s Monastery in Goldendale on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. The monastery is expanding it’s kitchens, giving the sisters more room to create the foods that are for sale in the monastery’s shop as well as creating a dedicated area for milk processing and cheese production from the monastery’s goats.

St. John’s Bakery, Coffee & Gifts is the most public face of the monastery. The shop is located on the roadside of U.S. 97 and offers tourists and locals alike an opportunity to interact with the sisters and enjoy the fruits of their labor: traditional gourmet Greek pastries and other treats, Greek food, beeswax candles, hand-painted icons, jams and, new to the shop, goat milk and cheeses.

Items sold at the shop are all created by the sisters at the monastery and proceeds support their life there. The store, which opened in May 2002, has been so popular that the sisters are in the process of expanding their kitchen in order to accommodate their growing line of products.

“We felt like it was just too small what we’re trying to work in,” said Sister Myrophora, who has lived at St. John’s since 2001. “It felt like we couldn’t really keep up with our menu.”

Sister Makaria, left, makes spanakopita, a spinich and cheese pastry, while sister Makrina, right, strains cheese that will be used in the filling of tyropita, a cheese pie at St. John's Monastery in Goldendale on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. The monastery is expanding it's kitchens, giving the sisters more room to create the foods that are for sale in the monastery's shop as well as creating a dedicated area for milk processing and cheese production from the monastery's goats.
Sister Makaria, left, makes spanakopita, a spinich and cheese pastry, while sister Makrina, right, strains cheese that will be used in the filling of tyropita, a cheese pie at St. John’s Monastery in Goldendale on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. The monastery is expanding it’s kitchens, giving the sisters more room to create the foods that are for sale in the monastery’s shop as well as creating a dedicated area for milk processing and cheese production from the monastery’s goats.

The monastery was recently certified as a Grade A Dairy Farm and is raising a small herd of goats for milk and cheese. In order to sell those products to the public, the sisters found they needed more space.

The construction work, which is funded by a foundation created to support the monastery, is more than doubling the available kitchen space, adding new commercial freezers and refrigerators and creating a separate building for milk and cheese. The work should be finished this spring.

In the existing space, the sisters have to stop using the kitchen for making pastries and other foods on cheese-making day because of the risk of cross-contamination. The expansion will allow both activities to occur simultaneously.

Sister Makrina packages pieces of baklava in one of the kitchen areas at St. John's Monastery in Goldendale.
Sister Makrina packages pieces of baklava in one of the kitchen areas at St. John’s Monastery in Goldendale.

All of the items created at the monastery — including sweets such as baklava, biscotti, chocolates, and other Greek cookies, breads and cakes — come from recipes brought to the monastery from Greece by its original three sisters, who still live there and oversee the work. The sisters also have been learning about cheese making from other Greek monasteries. “Greek cooking is very time-consuming,” said Sister Iosiphia. “We do it just like the ladies do at home — from scratch.” She said it can be fun for those sisters who grew up in a Greek Orthodox home, because “we’re doing the same things as our moms and grandmas.”

One part of the newly expanded kitchen area at the St. John's Monastery is a room that will be dedicated to dairy processing and cheese production from the monastery's goats.
One part of the newly expanded kitchen area at the St. John’s Monastery is a room that will be dedicated to dairy processing and cheese production from the monastery’s goats.

The interaction with the original sisters helps keep the recipes authentic.

“We’ve really tried to perfect the foods and give them the most authentic taste, so people really get a good taste of what Greek tastes like,” said Sister Myrophora.

About four sisters are permanent bakery cooks, and the rest take turns helping in the bakery, milking goats, working in the shop and creating the other products sold at the shop. And while there is more than enough work to keep them busy around the clock, they are careful to maintain their focus on God.

The kitchens at the St. John's monastery have been expanded twice -- the older expansion, in the foreground, houses ovens and gives additional kitchen space while the new area expands the back of the building, and in addition to adding work room, holds an area dedicated to dairy production
The kitchens at the St. John’s monastery have been expanded twice — the older expansion, in the foreground, houses ovens and gives additional kitchen space while the new area expands the back of the building, and in addition to adding work room, holds an area dedicated to dairy production

“We try to keep a balance,” said Sister Iosiphia, who has lived at the monastery for nearly 16 years. “Our main goal is we’re here for the monastic calling.”

The sisters have turned down catering opportunities or other orders in order to preserve their spiritual lives, said Sister Myrophora.

“We do what we can with the hands we have,” Sister Iosiphia said.

A pan on baklava waits to be packaged at St. John's Monastery in Goldendale. The monastery is in the process of another kitchen expansion that includes both a separate dairy processing area as well as additional kitchen space.
A pan on baklava waits to be packaged at St. John’s Monastery in Goldendale. The monastery is in the process of another kitchen expansion that includes both a separate dairy processing area as well as additional kitchen space.

She noted many people comment on how good the food at the monastery is, and said she reminds them that “the blood of Christ sanctifies all.” Our food is “made with prayer,” she said.

WA St John's Bakery Interior & Nun (Winter)

The deli-style shop is remaining open during the kitchen remodel, and visitors can still pick up lunch items and frozen, family-sized meals there from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. There is limited seating available inside the shop, and in the warmer months the sisters put tables outside as well.

Among the most popular food items sold are the gyros, which is available with lamb and beef or vegetarian. The mousakas — an eggplant and potato casserole — is also very popular, Sister Myrophora said.

WA FOOD

“We hope maybe someday to expand the store more to give more seating. It’s really pretty packed full,” she said. “We didn’t think it would get this full.”

WA St. John's Jam WA St. John's Strawberry Jam

If you go St. John’s Bakery, Coffee & Gifts

2378 U.S. 97, Goldendale

509-773-6650

stjohnmonastery.org

Store hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed for Greek Orthodox holidays

WA St John's Bakery Food (2013) WA St John's Bakery Glyka (2013)

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2013/03/07/2303456/st-johns-monastery-near-goldendale.html#storylink=cpy

WA St John's Bakery (2) WA St. John's Bakery 2

Coffee beans a source of passion, income for monastery priest (Savannah Tranchell, 2014)

NOTE: The following article is from the Yakima Herald, June 15th, 2014:

Father Michael Dunaway, the owner of Father Michael's Roastery, right, and Nikolay Apanasov, Dunaway's coffee czar, pose for a portrait beside the roaster at Dunaway's home in Goldendale, Wash.
Father Michael Dunaway, the owner of Father Michael’s Roastery, right, and Nikolay Apanasov, Dunaway’s coffee czar, pose for a portrait beside the roaster at Dunaway’s home in Goldendale, Wash.

GOLDENDALE, Wash. — Father Michael Dunaway is a convert.

First, to the Greek Orthodox faith from protestantism as a child when his father walked away from a near-millionaire lifestyle to join the priesthood.

And then as an adult, when he learned to drink coffee without cream.

“I’ve always, always loved coffee,” Dunaway says from his home in the hills of Goldendale. “I was an avid half-and-half drinker in my coffee until I took up roasting and found out you can roast coffee in a way that you don’t need milk.”

Now the Kentucky native roasts his own blends of coffee and sells them from his Goldendale shop under the name Father Michael’s Roastery. That is, when he’s not serving as priest for St. John the Forerunner Greek Monastery.

9

Dunaway came to Goldendale 12 years ago to serve at the monastery, located outside Goldendale on U.S. Highway 97. He’s been a priest for 20 years and served in Alaska before moving to Washington. Dunaway, 55, moved to Alaska with his family in the 1960s and followed his father and brother into the priesthood after spending years in the fishing industry, as a diesel mechanic, and in construction around the state. He, too, left commercial success behind in order to join the priesthood.

St. John's Bakery
St. John’s Bakery

Dunaway lives offsite with his family and his days are split between his priestly duties and his coffee roasting, which he uses to support himself. The sisters at St. John’s run St. John’s bakery and sell handmade items to support their mission. The monastery day begins at midnight, when the nuns rise and pray through the night. Dunaway holds the early morning services, returns to his home to work in the roastery and then goes back to the monastery for evening services.

“It’s a full life,” he says, but notes jokingly, “sleep is highly overrated.”

Despite his and the sisters’ busy schedules, he doesn’t worry about how much sleep a body needs, believing instead, “that God will sustain man.”

“I’ve worked with the toughest of the tough,” Dunaway says of his life before the church. “Nobody holds a candle to these nuns. They are brutal. And yet they are the kindest people in the world. And that’s a mystery. These nuns are amazing. It’s primarily why I’m here: I visited them 12 years ago and said, ‘That’s where I want to be.’ ”

Ministering to the sisters is Dunaway’s No. 1 priority.

The roasting is No. 2.

Fr. Michael preparing the roaster.
Fr. Michael preparing the roaster.

Dunaway learned the coffee-roasting business from his friend, Thomas Reese of Walla Walla Roastery. Prior to starting Father Michael’s Roastery four years ago, Dunaway built homes, but he needed some other way to support himself when the construction market hit bottom.

With Reese, he developed Father’s Blend, now one of Dunaway’s best-sellers. His goal is to create a beverage that he would enjoy, a medium-style roast — “because I’m scared of the dark, basically,” he jokes — that doesn’t need to be drowned with cream and sweeteners.

Fr. Michael watches the roasting process.
Fr. Michael watches the roasting process.

Dunaway imports the beans through responsible brokers and some direct-trade relationships with farmers in Central and South America, as well as Indonesia and Africa. The coffee is sold at St. John’s gift shop, the Glass Onion in Goldendale, Wray’s MarketFresh IGA in Yakima and by Dunaway at the Friday farmers market in Richland, which is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 31 at the parkway between Jadwin Avenue and George Washington Way.

The business is growing, and this year Dunaway is partnering with a Nikolay Apanasov, 25, of the Tri-Cities, who will help with roasting and marketing the beans. Dunaway’s son Seraphim, 17, and a family friend help with the business. Apanasov, a native of Russia, moved to the Tri-Cities in 2001 and graduated from Kennewick High School. He has a degree in mathematical economics from Rice University in Houston and says Dunaway is a longtime family friend. He began working with Dunaway late last year. His official title is “coffee czar.”

Fr. Michael checking the roaster.
Fr. Michael checking the roaster.

“I don’t like to take myself too seriously,” says Apanasov, who became interested in coffee in college, though he originally planned a career in high finance, before deciding he wanted to be involved with a company that could make a difference in the world.

“You can be part of the solution, or you can be part of the problem,” he says.

His focus right now is on the business side of Father Michael’s — growing the brand, building relationships with trade partners and releasing new products, such as a cold brew, which is sold as a concentrated liquid in 64-ounce brown jugs, a nod to Dunaway’s Kentucky moonshine roots.

WA fm_roastery_toddy_jugs

“I’ve never tasted a better cold brew,” Apanasov says. There’s so much to learn in the coffee world, he says, and so many places where your brew can go wrong — from bean selection to grinding to roasting to brewing. “With our cold brew, it’s all done correctly for you. All you have to do is pour it in a cup and mix in water or milk, and you have a premium beverage.”

The company released its cold brew last week at the Richland farmers market.

WA fm_roastery_packaged_coffee

“In the specialty coffee world, cold brew is kind of a new thing,” Apanasov says. “And people really like it. It’s the way to go if you’re making an iced latte. Much smoother. Much less acid.”

The coffee is not fair-trade certified, but Dunaway says they work with brokers who have good relationships with growers and are focusing on building more direct-trade relationships themselves. Currently, Father Michael’s Roastery produces about 500 pounds of coffee a month, but they hope for growth.

“We want to blow the doors off of it as much as we can,” Dunaway says. “We built a shop that allows us to expand.”

“We can still increase our roasting capacity,” Apanasov agrees.

WA fm_roastery_coffee_bean_bags

Much like the Yakima Valley’s winemakers, the roasters focus on developing the flavor profile of each type of coffee, adjusting roasting times and temperatures in order to tease out the delicate tones in each variety.

“It just depends on what you’re trying to develop out of the coffee,” he says. “Every coffee from every region has its own unique profile. We build those profiles the way we like them here,” he says, and adjusts to his customers’ tastes. “Our customers are not Portlandites, who like their coffee green and sour.”

Dunaway works to enhance the beans’ natural fruit tones and low acidity. The Indonesian Sulawesi is one of his most popular dark roasts, which Dunaway says is for people “who aren’t scared of the dark.”

The Father’s Blend mixes beans from Guatemala, El Salvador and Sumatra. “It’s nice and smooth, but it has a little kicker in it,” he says.

WA fm_roastery_coffee_bean_roaster

Roasting coffee is “the 10th great mytery of the world,” Dunaway says. And each batch of beans requires adjustment to create a consistent product. Dunaway says they test every roast for defects.

“As it sits here or whatever, we have to change that roast a little bit here and there to keep it where we want it,” Dunaway says. He has resisted turning to computer programs to analyze his roasts. “I’m sticking with my nose and my eyes. I watch a flame and I smell the beans. It keeps more of an artisan effect to it.”

Even as his business grows, however, Dunaway never wavers from his devotion to the priesthood and to the sisters whom he serves. At the farmers market, he wears his Greek Orthodox attire of a black robe and full beard, which can draw interesting comments from customers. Children have called him Jesus, or, more often, St. Nicholas. “I tell them, ‘No, no. He’s just a friend,’” Dunaway says with a laugh.

“The way we dress is not by any means for show. It’s just sort of a death to the vanity of life,” he says. “It serves as a reminder for me of what I am and where my focus needs to be.

WA fm_roastery_coffee_samples

“We have a great blessing being here. We want to pass that blessing on,” he says, nothing his company slogan, “From my hand to your cup.”

He sees his coffee roasting as part of his mission in Goldendale: earning a living that allows him to stay in ministry.

“Roasting coffee is hopefully part of my pursuit toward paradise. I’ll either be roasting here, or I’ll be roasting there (in paradise). I’m hoping to get it done here,” he says, and laughs.

“We have a lot of fun with it. We love the aesthetic life and the seriousness of life.

“And also we enjoy roasting.”

         WA fm_roastery_counter

http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/2186220-8/coffee-beans-a-source-of-passion-income-for

http://marenphoto.com/photo-essays/father-michaels-roastery/

https://fathermichaels.com/

A Few Words and Images From a Pilgrim at the Goldendale Monastery Feast Day (2012)

“The Feast Day was gorgeous as always.  Great excitement as people saw the new church being built and Bishop Gerasimos told Gerrontissa Efpraxia that next year he wants to celebrate the feast with them in the new building. And a call to all the faithful to make sure that it happens.”  Herman

Nuns on the Feast Day 2012.
Nuns on the Feast Day 2012.
New Church being built.
New Church being built.

st-john-church-project

http://www.monasterybuilders.org/home

newchurch

NewChurch

WA Gerondissa

http://www.stjohnmonastery.org/index.php?app=ccp0&ns=display&ref=Reservation&sid=22j3v697z0647a35417s08817i9j7910

Monastery Complex Fire in Goldendale (September, 2011)

NOTE: The following article is taken from various newspaper and video reports:

Three sisters from the Monastery of St. John the Forerunner, about 10 miles east of Goldendale, race across Highway 97 on Wednesday. The nuns were bringing garden hoses across the highway to fight the fire. They also used rags to beat the flames down near their monastery. The Monastery Complex fire had grown to 5.300 acres by Thursday. (Roger Mullis/AP)
3 nuns from the Monastery of St. John the Forerunner, about 10 miles east of Goldendale, race across Highway 97 on Wednesday. The nuns were bringing garden hoses across the highway to fight the fire. They also used rags to beat the flames down near their monastery. The Monastery Complex fire had grown to 5.300 acres by Thursday.

Clark County firefighters help battle wildfire: Monastery Complex near Goldendale has grown to 5,300 acres

By Eric Florip
Columbian Staff Reporter
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sister Ephraimia, a Greek Orthodox nun, shovels dirt onto small flames near Goldendale, Wash. on Thursday Sept. 8, 2011. The sister and other nuns helped firefighters battle a wildfire that threatened their monastery and has burned several homes.
Sister Ephraimia, a Greek Orthodox nun, shovels dirt onto small flames near Goldendale, Wash. on Thursday Sept. 8, 2011. The sister and other nuns helped firefighters battle a wildfire that threatened their monastery and has burned several homes.

A 17-member strike force from Clark County has joined the effort to battle the fast-moving Monastery Complex fire northeast of Goldendale.
The strike team, with members representing Clark County Fire & Rescue, Washougal Fire and fire districts 3, 10 and 13, was told to expect to spend at least a week fighting fires, Battalion Chief Gordon Brooks of Fire District 10 said.
The fire, which sparked around noon Wednesday, is spreading quickly.

Sister Katerina, right, hands a bucket of water to sister Prodromia, while they and other nuns at St. John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Monastery, extinguish spot fires around their property, which was threatened the night before by a wildfire near Goldendale, Wash., Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.
Sister Katerina, right, hands a bucket of water to sister Prodromia, while they and other nuns at St. John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Monastery, extinguish spot fires around their property, which was threatened the night before by a wildfire near Goldendale, Wash., Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.

As of 7 a.m. Thursday, the fire burned about 1,100 acres. By late Thursday afternoon, it had swelled to more than 5,300 acres, said Bryan Flint, communications director for the state Department of Natural Resources.
The fire is about 120 highway miles east of Vancouver.

Greek Orthodox sisters from Saint Johns Monastery help to fight the 250-acre Monastery Fire that threatened their home Wednesday.
Greek Orthodox sisters from Saint Johns Monastery help to fight the 250-acre Monastery Fire that threatened their home Wednesday.

As flames swallowed dense swaths of ponderosa pine in Klickitat County, the blaze dried out the air and fuel ahead of it, Flint said. Its energy also kicked up swift air movement on an otherwise calm day, he said.
“The fire is creating its own weather pattern that’s driving the fire,” said Flint, who spent Thursday at a fire managers’ operations center in Goldendale. “That’s why it’s spreading as fast as it is.”

Monastery Complex fire incinerates 64 structures in Goldendale
Monastery Complex fire incinerates 64 structures in Goldendale

The fire complex destroyed nine homes and 10 outbuildings as of Thursday afternoon, and threatened another 300 structures. Hundreds of people have been evacuated because of the fire, though no injuries have been reported. A large section of U.S. Highway 97 and other roads were disrupted throughout the day Thursday. Brooks Memorial State Park was also closed.

3

“They’re going to have a busy day today,” Brooks said Thursday. Brooks has assisted with more wildfires than he can count. He wasn’t able to go this time because of a foot injury, but his department sent four firefighters.

Clark County Fire & Rescue sent five people and one truck to help, said Battalion Chief Dean Lange. This isn’t the first wildfire has crew has helped battle this year, he said, but a wet, cool spring and early summer delayed the arrival of this fire season.

4

“It’s happened late before like this, but this is much later,” Lange said.
Sending staff to help with fires outside a district’s jurisdiction doesn’t have too big an effect on local response to fires, Brooks said. Each department will send a small number of people, he said.

6

The fire was believed to have started along Highway 97 north of Goldendale, just across the street from the Monastery of St. John the Forerunner. The 19 nuns and employees, who operate a well-known bakery there, saw flames and immediately ran outside with water, rakes and rags to beat back the fire.

Several customers in the bakery also joined in the effort until firefighters arrived, said Sister Parthenia, who has been at the monastery for 19 years.

5

“We’re just so grateful to God and everyone’s efforts. The firefighters worked so hard, even opened up a line up there,” she said, pointing behind one of their buildings. “We thought that was sweet they wanted to save our barn.”
A total of 288 personnel were battling the fire late Thursday, Flint said. That includes crews from nearly every county in the state, he said.

8

It was too early to tell late Thursday what percentage of the fire had been contained, Flint said. The fire was mostly moving southeast.
Warm, dry weather isn’t going to make fighting the fire any easier. Highs will be in the upper 80s and low 90s through Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

9

Starting Tuesday, things will cool off. Highs in Goldendale are expected to be in the low 80s and high 70s next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Comments

Marie Eliades That’s our girls! Look at these photos on line and all over the press.. our girls fighting fire..both physical and spiritual! Glory to God…Today I’ve heard the monastery is totally safe but blackend…with love from another mom of a nun (Life Giving Spring) Hi Donna! Reply • 5 • Like • Follow Post • September 9, 2011 at 1:09am

• Donna Armstrong Young • Wasilla, Alaska This is the monastery where our daughter is a nun. She called earlier today and said they were all safe and had been evacuated. At that time the monastery buildings were still intact. I haven’t heard anything since then. My daughter is the one on the left in this picture.

10

http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/sep/08/clark-county-firefighters-battling-monastery-compl/

“We’re just so grateful to God and everyone’s efforts. The firefighters worked so hard….We thought that was sweet they wanted to save our barn.” “It was very scary,” said Sister Theopisti. “Thanks to the blessings of God and prayer.”

6134855347_88213720e8_o

Fire Threatens Monastery In Goldendale, Washington (2013)

The Satus Pass fire, located in Goldendale, Washington has presently consumed nearly 9,000 acres, with over 800 firefighters working to control this fire. The Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner in Goldendale is in the vicinity of this fire. The sisters have been evacuated and are seeking refuge in nearby homes. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos has been in contact with the sisters and they are all safe, and at the present time the Monastery has not sustained any damage.
“This has already been a devastating year of fires throughout the United States. Once again, we find ourselves facing yet another threat as the Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner finds itself in a path of danger,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “We pray for the firefighters who are bravely working to save lives and structures, and we ask for the Lord to calm the fires and bring favorable weather so that no harm may come upon the people in this area.”
Two years ago, this same Monastery was threatened by fire and the sisters joined with the local residents and firefighters in working to protect their property and assist their neighbors and community. Thankfully, the Monastery was spared from damage in 2011 and it is the fervent prayer of the clergy and faithful of the Metropolis of San Francisco that this same outcome may be realized.
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco will provide further updates as additional information becomes available.
Fr. Timothy Pavlatos, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at NW Counseling Associates, LLC (OR)
Fr. Timothy Pavlatos, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at NW Counseling Associates, LLC (OR)
nuns at the monastery preparing to fight the fire
nuns at the monastery preparing to fight the fire

Inspired by angel of light (Don McManman, 2009)

NOTE: The following article appeared in The Sentinel (06-17-09)
Don’t tell Jonathan Lewis that sustainable energy is a plaything of neo-hippies and Aspen zillionaires.

Jonathan Lewis.
Jonathan Lewis.

Lewis is neither. Yet he has built a business and a family by focusing small-scale power harvested from wind and sun. He’ll share some of his knowledge during the Goldendale Energy Exposition, Saturday and Sunday, June 27 and 28, at the Klickitat County Fairgrounds.

The timing is right, Lewis said. Prices for home-sized sustainable energy equipment are lower now than in years.

A licensed electrician, Lewis always had been fascinated by the potential of power falling on each home, on each acre of land, around the globe. To ignore the gifts of solar and wind power seemed wasteful.

The more he thought, the stronger the call of sustainable energy became. About the same time – 2003 – he and his wife Kathleen decided they needed to move. Albany, Ore., was becoming too much like a big city, with all the big city problems that can crush family life.

St.John the Forerunner 2

As Orthodox Christians, the Lewis family visited St. John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Monastery on Satus Pass. They loved the feel of Goldendale. So, they moved to 20 acres off the Bickleton Highway, eight miles east of town.

But the transition involved more than 160 miles and a shift to the country. Jonathan Lewis started a new company that would focus on small-scale sustainable power. He would call it Seraphim Energy, after a biblical angel representing light.

Seraphim-1

Oddly, Klickitat County’s wind potential didn’t enter into the equation.

“Every time we visited the place, everything was nice and calm,” Lewis said. “But when we showed up with the moving truck, it was blowing 60 mph. We had trouble just keeping the furniture down.”

Today, you can see dozens of big wind turbine towers from the Lewis place. But in 2003, big wind was just getting started in the Northwest. The largest wind project in the region was near Walla Walla.

“It didn’t take us long to figure out that we had some wind here,” Lewis said. Flying furniture may have contributed to the revelation.

Entirely by chance, Lewis’ place is next door to that of Ed Kennell, who active in sustainable energy during the last big energy crisis, in the 1970s. Soon after the Lewis family moved in, Kennell erected a Bergey Windpower Co. small turbine with a rated capacity of 10 kilowatts. Lewis helped out.

“I learned a lot from Ed,” Lewis said.

That was to be Seraphim Energy’s first job in renewable power. After finding Seraphim Energy on the Internet, another neighbor, Gwen Bassetti, put up a 10 kw wind turbine on her Caldwell-Davis-Bassetti Ranch.

Seraphim’s second job. By comparison, 10 kw is enough power to illuminate 166 bulbs rated at 60 watts. But that’s only when the wind is blowing the right speed, which isn’t all the time – not even half.
Both neighbors’ remain on the grid, supplementing their load with wind turbines, selling what’s not used to Klickitat PUD.

“Then we got a 2 kw solar system in Trout Lake. From then, everything just snowballed,” Lewis said.
To date he’s installed 60 systems with a combined capacity of 150 kw, including his own solar array of 1.2 kw. Next will be his own 5 kw wind turbine. He too remains on the grid.

Today, Lewis estimates 85 percent of his work is related to sustainable power. The rest is regular commercial and residential work.

“After awhile, we figured out Klickitat County didn’t have enough people to keep us busy with renewables.” He’s stretched out to Hood River on the west, Walla Walla and Milton-Freewater on the east and Naches to the north.

The next step involves his two oldest sons. Isaac, 18, is putting together an on-line store, at which people can order sustainable energy and energy conservation kits. The site also will offer advice and how-to videos.

Oliver, 16, is the media guy, putting together the videos and taking care of the web site.

The Lewises expect the store to be running in a couple of months. They’ll let you know when, if you sign up for their newsletter. Go to http://www.in2solar.com. Click on “Sign up for our free newsletter” at the top right corner of the page.

Now is a good time to get serious about home-sized sustainable energy, Lewis said. Last year, big solar projects raced to complete installation before federal incentives expired. To meet the demand, manufacturers increased production.

Turns out, the federal incentive program was extended, but now the big players have trouble getting credit in today’s economy. That means a lot of solar and wind stuff is looking for a home – cheap.

“This time last year, you couldn’t get a wholesaler to listen to you. Things are a lot different today,” Lewis said. He expects prices to rise next year, if the economy improves.

Meanwhile, incentive and federal stimulus money is growing for home-sized installation.

You can find a state-by-state compilation of programs at http://www.dsireusa.org. (It stands for Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.) The site also includes federal stimulus and traditional incentive programs.

This all greatly pleases Jonathan Lewis. Six years ago, he was scratching for a living, working with neighbors. Today, he has a thriving business anchored overwhelmingly with the sustainable economy.

Jonathan and Kathleen Lewis have five good reasons to keep the future bright – their kids: Isaac, Oliver, Addison, Mara and Elsbeth, ages 18 to 8.
Goldendale Energy Exposition
June 27 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
June 28 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Klickitat County Fairgrounds
Cost is $1 per person for both days, under 5 is free.
A partial list of some of the exhibitors:
• Vertical-axis residential wind turbine – MT Environmental Technology
• New 2010 hybrid automobiles – Toyota of Yakima
• For the kids – solar water fountain, solar oven, solar misting station, solar heating and cooling, pedal-power generator – Franklin County PUD
• Straw bale construction and earthen stucco finish – Sustainable Homestead Learning Center
• Solar panels, horizontal-axis residential wind turbine, on-grid and off-grid system integration – Seraphim Energy
• Sustainability tips – Reduce auto idling, cleaner woodstoves, alternative burning techniques – Washington Department of Ecology
• The big stuff: -Windy Point Partners, owners of the wind farm south of Goldendale
• Retrofit for sustainability – Cutaway home showing energy-efficient windows and doors, free outlet gasket kits, alternative hydro, and generation from landfill gas – Klickitat PUD.
http://www.goldendalesentinel.com/features/2009features/06-17-09_features.htm
http://in2solar.com/
http://hireelectric.com/author/jonathan-lewis/

WA Bells in winter