Our Building Project

Proposal to Parish Council and to the Mission Parish of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Union County, PA, and the Diocese of Eastern America


St. John's in 2021 proposes to embark on a multi-phase fundraising and building program to develop its land in Winfield, PA, in Union Twp. in central Pennsylvania. The site currently includes 4 acres of land (planned to expand in 2021 to a total of 6 acres with a neighbor’s tax donation of additional property, including approximately 1 acre of land used as a cemetery). The building program will culminate in a temple on the site based on the blueprints of St. Basil the Great Russian Orthodox Church, the ROCOR parish in Belle Vernon, PA, which have been shared with us graciously by that parish. It is estimated that constructing that Church with related site improvements could cost up to $450,000.


The first proposed phase in 2021 will be to construct a small multi-purpose structure on the site, laying a foundation in March, for $7,000, $4,000 of which still needs to be raised. Then we hope to construct the structure itself, with help from donations of labor and materials and funds from Church members. The structure would be 1,000 square feet, which is the maximum for building a structure that does not require a building permit and regulation, according to Union Township. The multipurpose structure will provide support for outdoor services at the property during warm-weather months, including a deck-porch, which will help us keep focused us development of the site and larger building plans, while providing us with an option in case our current rental situation becomes disrupted abruptly, which is a possibility. In addition to storing items needed for outdoor services, it can provide a base for gardening and beekeeping envisioned for the site, related to fundraising plans, and a touchdown space for our rector to have an office, given that he lives an hour away from the parish, involving mountain travel. Also, it may be possible to use during the week as a space for members to come and say prayers with icons on breaks from work and home duties. Two Portapotties would be rented in conjunction with the shed to support outdoor services and activities on the site.


Phase two after construction of the multi-purpose structure is envisioned as twofold: Development of a well, for an estimated $5,000, and purchase of a rectory trailer for $5,000 to $10,000 to support the rector’s presence locally given travel time from his home. The well would help support gardening efforts on the site and be preparation for construction, and would also with the trailer help support any outdoor service and festival needs for water.


The third phase would involve construction of a gravel parking lot at the site that would serve also the eventual temple, for an estimated cost of $20,000.


Ultimately the whole fund-raising and development plan would be aimed at constructing the actual temple, which would include a choir loft and basement space.


We plan to continue holding regular services, besides outdoor services in warm-weather months, at the Lewisburg Club, as long as affordable rental arrangements are possible there, although we are aware that conditions of our current low-rent situation may be subject to change, and also that the political climate in downtown Lewisburg as a university town is increasingly hostile toward traditional Christian teachings.


Asking for your prayers and for the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God, and our patron St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco! Glory to God for all things!