Fr. Moses Berry, an OCA priest ministering at Theotokos “Unexpected Joy” Orthodox Church in Ash Grove, Missouri, has an unusual story. In 1998, he moved with his family from St. Louis to his family’s farm in Ash Grove, near Springfield. Century Farm has been in the Berry family since 1872; on the property a cemetery dedicated to “Slaves, Paupers, and Indians” needed maintenance and oversight, and so Fr. Moses left a mission in the city to return to his rural boyhood home.
A small group of faithful collected around the new mission, Theotokos “Unexpected Joy.” The tiny cemetery chapel hosted the first services; in 2000 the mission was received into the Orthodox Church in America, and in 2003 parishioners erected a temple.
Fr. Moses travels widely to give talks on mission and also on local Afro-American history; folks who have met him elsewhere often stop by to worship when they pass through the area. In addition to leading the parish, Fr. Moses also heads up The Brotherhood of St Moses the Black, a pan-Orthodox nonprofit organization which presents an annual conference targeting those who have little exposure to Orthodoxy or its African roots.
Recently, oca.org interviewed Fr. Moses about his unique ministry.
You can read this article and the interview in its entirety here – OCA – OCA News – Interview with Fr. Moses Berry: “The Church belongs to everyone”.