On the weekend of October 12th – 13th Archbishop Benjamin traveled to Spokane, Washington, where he visited St. Luke Orthodox Church https://spokaneorthodoxchurch. com/, a new mission of the Diocese of the West, and gave a lecture at Whitworth University. Events began on Saturday when Vladyka joined 20 people for an OCF brunch at the home of Fr. Timothy and Mka. Marie Wilkinson, where he spent an extended period answering questions posed by the students and guests. Saturday Vespers at St Luke’s was well attended and was followed by a dinner at the Wilkinson home. On Sunday, Thomas Schaeffer was ordained a subdeacon by Archbishop Benjamin in the presence of over 60 people, including several first-time visitors. Before becoming Orthodox in 2015, Subdeacon Thomas spent 30 years as an Assemblies of God minister.
On Monday, Archbishop Benjamin had lunch with local clergy, representing Greek, Antiochian and Russian parishes. Later in the day, he was given a tour of the People of the Book exhibit at the Whitworth University library by Professor of History Dr. Anthony Clark and library director Dr. Amanda Clark. The exhibit features liturgical books from Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox traditions, as well as religious items, including the prayer rope of Pyotr Stolypin, the third prime minister of Russia, who was assassinated in 1911. After the tour, Archbishop Benjamin dined with Whitworth University theology faculty, including the renowned New Testament scholar, Dr. James R. Edwards. Vladyka’s lecture on the Orthodox Liturgy was well received by a standing-room-only crowd consisting of students, faculty, and community members. The student newspaper, The Whitworthian, plans to publish an article on Archbishop Benjamin’s visit to campus in the near future.