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Colorado Springs faithful ask prayers in wake of Black Forest fire

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://oca.org/news/headline-news/colorado-springs-faithful-ask-prayers-in-wake-of-black-forest-fire June 13, 2013 Colorado Springs faithful ask prayers in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 14, 2013
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      http://oca.org/news/headline-news/colorado-springs-faithful-ask-prayers-in-wake-of-black-forest-fire

      June 13, 2013
      Colorado Springs faithful ask prayers in wake of Black Forest fire

      COLORADO SPRINGS, CO [OCA]

      In the midst of what Colorado officials described on Thursday, June 13,
      2013 as “the most destructive fire in state history,” Archpriest Anthony
      Karbo and the faithful of Saints Constantine and Helen/Holy Theophany
      Church here once again are requesting prayers, nearly one year to the
      day after they faced the Waldo Canyon fire.

      What has been dubbed the “Black Forest fire” has already destroyed
      nearly 16,000 acres, displaced some 38,000 residents, and affected about
      13,000 homes—nearly 400 of which have been destroyed. Much of Colorado
      Springs has been evacuated, while estimates on containment inched upward
      to a mere five percent as of Thursday night.

      “It’s been really hard to get solid information, as the fire is an
      on-going, unfolding reality,” Father Anthony told the OCA web team on
      Thursday evening. “We have about a dozen parish members living in and
      around the area of Black Forest, in addition to others who consider us
      their parish home but are not ‘directly’ tied to overall parish life.

      “At least two families fear that their homes are completely gone,
      although there is no official confirmation at this point in either
      case,” Father Anthony continued. “The families remain anxious, hoping
      the best but fearing the worst. The rest are under mandatory evacuation
      from their homes. Today was another particularly dry, hot, and very
      windy day and, without an ‘official accurate’ count of lost homes,
      additional losses are assumed and expected.”

      Affected parishioners are safe and accounted for, having found shelter
      with families and friends. Yet uncertainly abounds.

      “Just as they think they have things under control, the fire changes
      direction due to shifting winds, to the point of burning back on itself
      consuming unspent fuel,” Father Anthony added. “Watching from nearly any
      vantage point in Colorado Springs one regularly can observe large plumes
      of black smoke that suddenly burst into the sky, indicating that another
      home has been lost.”

      He added that the parish’s buildings and property are not in immediate
      danger, “unlike last year’s fire.” [See related story posted in June 2012.]

      “We are waiting, watching, praying—with special petitions added at all
      the services for God’s mercy, compassion, and grace upon those suffering
      loss and for the sending of ‘favorable weather’ in the form of rain,”
      Father Anthony continued. “We are in the midst of a long-term drought
      that began at the time of last year’s fires and continued through what
      was one of the driest winters on record.

      “Parishioners have opened their homes, rooms, and other resources to
      those affected,” he said. “Affected families are in good spirits despite
      the circumstances, trusting God, gaining what is most important in life
      in being forced to ‘lay aside all earthly cares’ while recognizing that
      the body is more than ‘raiment’ and that life embraces more that ‘where
      we shall live.’ As this is the second painfully devastating fire in less
      than one year, it makes me ponder on the ‘righteous chastisement of
      God’—referenced in our Lityas—and, by extension, what it all means to be
      good stewards of the earth, not merely consumers of it for selfish
      pleasure with bigger and bigger houses in riskier and riskier areas…
      filled with endless ‘stuff’ necessitating ‘bigger barns’ in which to
      store it all. It just makes one wonder.”

      Ongoing prayers are “the best thing others can offer us at this point,”
      Father Anthony concluded, adding that his biggest hope is “that we will
      learn from God in it all—and offer a ‘good repentance’ on our part. My
      biggest fear is that we will not do this.”
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