The Suncoast News
New Port Richey, FL 34652
Dove bearer hopes to live up to honor
By Mark Schantz
All eyes will be on Effe Mia Coburn during the annual Epiphany procession and at the blessing of the waters of Spring Bayou.
Coburn, 18, an alto in the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral Choir, has been chosen for the coveted title of dove bearer for the 2010 Epiphany celebration. Each year a member of the choir is chosen to carry the symbol of the Holy Spirit and set it free over Spring Bayou after the blessing of the waters.
Coburn, a St. Petersburg College student, said she was surprised to be given such a great honor. "It's so special to be chosen. It means a lot to me and my family, it's such an honor. I just hope I live up to what is expected of me," she said.
"I consider it a blessing and honor to be chosen dove bearer," she said.
St. Nicholas Cathedral has always been part of her life, Coburn said. Her parents were married and she was baptized there and has grown up around the Byzantine-style church.
Effe's brother, Henry Coburn, 16, will be among 65 boys of Greek heritage to dive into the waters of Spring Bayou to retrieve the Holy Cross. "Having my brother dive for the cross makes it even more special," she said.
Effe plans to wear a ring given to her by grandmother Effe Klimis while carrying the dove. It will be a day she will remember and carry with her forever.
She joined the church's junior choir when she was 8 and has always dreamed of being chosen dove bearer. Now she can't believe that in just a few days her dream will come true.
Choir leaders chose Effe because of her deep devotion to the choir and her church, officials said.
Her mother, Mary Coburn, a local attorney, said it is a real honor to have both her children participating in the Epiphany rites.
Effe's father, Kyle, is a national sales representative for Converse, the athletic footwear company.
Serving as dove bearer is for young women of the Greek Church what diving for the cross is for the boys, Effe Mia noted. She said she hopes live up to the honor and be a role model.
A 2009 Tarpon Springs High School graduate, Effe is pondering a career in either nursing or pharmacy. Her dream is to study piano and perhaps one day play the organ during services at the cathedral.
Her Klimis grandparents and great-grandparents were among the early sponge fisherman and merchants who helped build what originally was known as St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
Serving the church has been part of her family for generations.