Fr. Justin Mathews, Governance Chair
Mr. Cecil Mitchell, Conference Chair
Mr. Kevin Bryce, Communication Chair
Nun Katherine Weston, Book Sub-committee Chair
Dn. Joseph Clark, Membership Chair
Fr. Turbo Qualls, Dean of Chapters
Other Board Members
Fr. Moses Berry
Dn. John Gresham
Dn. Jonathan Reavis
Mr. Jonathan Vilord
Ms. Sabrina Vilord
Fr. Jerome Sanderson, Legacy
M. Musa Thompson, Legacy
Matushka Michaila (of blessed memory), Legacy
Nun Katherine Weston, President
Mother Katherine Weston was brought up in the Episcopal Church and converted to the Orthodox faith in the 1980s, drawn by the beauty of the icons and the music. She has been a nun for 32 years and the superior of the St. Xenia Monastic Community in Indianapolis for most of that time. In the 1990s she was active in the fight against present-day slavery and human trafficking, but this led to a concern for the psychological trauma that may persist even after securing freedom. This led her to earn a master’s degree in counseling from a local seminary and launch a private counseling practice where she specializes in trauma-informed care.
She is a founding member and the President of the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black, as well as being a regular speaker at the FSMB annual conference. She has published five books based on these presentations.
Fr. Moses Berry
Fr. Moses Berry, a retired priest of the Orthodox Church in America, lives with his wife, Magdalena, in Ash Grove, Missouri, a small town in the Ozarks, on the farm his great-grandfather built in 1871.
Because they are an African American family, the Berrys are notable in Southwest Missouri for owning and living on the same property for over 145 years. Fr. Moses has restored a family cemetery established in 1875 and dedicated to “Slaves, Indians and Paupers.” This cemetery is now on the Greene County Register of Historic Sites and the National Register as well. Fr. Moses is also curator of the Ozarks Afro-American Heritage Museum. After 10 years in a small storefront, the museum collection is now available on line at oaahm.omeka.net. It has an extensive collection of photographs and artifacts of rural Afro-American life in the surrounding areas, preserved by the Berrys and other families over many years.
Fr. Moses is a contributor to An Unbroken Circle: Linking Ancient African
Christianity to the African American Experience; co-founder of the annual Ancient Christianity Conferences sponsored by the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black and is in demand locally as a speaker on African American history, and nationally on issues in African American spirituality and Orthodox Christian mission. He has appeared on “Good Morning America” and on the National Geographic channel.
The parish Fr. Moses founded, Theotokos “Unexpected Joy” Orthodox Christian Church, stands close to an enormous sycamore tree–the same tree that his ancestors used as a shelter for church picnics and other celebrations for over a century.
Fr. Alexii Altschul
Hieromonk Alexii Altschul is a priest-monk with the Serbian Orthodox Church. After 20 years of serving an inner-city parish in Kansas City, MO, he was tonsured as a monk in October 2013, following the death of his Matushka in March, 2012.
In 1993, he became an Eastern Orthodox Christian and eventually was ordained a priest, known as Fr. Paisius. He and his wife, Matushka Michaila, worked together reaching out to people in need, first as non-denominational Protestants, and then, after their conversion to Orthodoxy in 1993, through St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church in Kansas City, MO.
At that location, they saw, with the help of many dedicated servants of God, over 150 souls brought into the Orthodox Church, the founding of the Ancient Christianity and African American Conference, the founding of Reconciliation Services, and two books, An Unbroken Circle and Wade in the River.
In addition to seeking to unite people through Christ, serving those in need, and providing a sacramental environment for healing, Fr. Alexii had also been a trained clinical social worker.
After his tonsure, he was sent by His Grace, Bishop +LONGIN (New Gracanica and Midwestern Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in America) to stay in Mt. Athos for nearly seven months. He returned to rural Northwest Missouri where he was blessed by His Grace Bishop +LONGIN to form Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete in July, 2014. For more information on the skete, visit www.archangelmichaelskete.org.
Matushka Michaila Altschul (of blessed memory)
Mr. Kevin Bryce, Vice President
Kevin Bryce is a documentary filmmaker and video producer. He moved to Kansas City from Prince Edward Island, Canada in 2008 and in 2011 he discovered the Orthodox faith at the Reconciliation Services weekly Friday night meal for the neighborhood. It was there that he met Mother Johanna Oakes along with Fr. Alexii Altschul who were both fundamental in his journey to Orthodoxy. After attending an introduction to Orthodoxy class from Fr. Alexii for nearly nine months Kevin decided to take the plunge into the Faith on Lazarus Saturday of 2012. Additionally, he was inspired to produce his first feature-length documentary, We Are Superman, documenting the work of Fr. Alexii and others on the corner of 31st and Troost Avenue in Kansas City.
Kevin was wrangled into attending his first Fellowship of St. Moses Conference in 2012 by his Godfather, Robert Garrett. He had little to no idea of what he was about to attend, but the experience was deeply inspiring– he was hooked. In 2018, Kevin was welcomed onto the FSMB board to support the communications and outreach of the ministry. Since his baptism in 2012, Kevin has produced three feature length documentaries surrounding issues of race, mental health, and the struggles of the most marginalized. He works in video production with FOCUS North America, Reconciliation Services, Zoe For Life!, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, and the FSMB. He is married with a two year old son, Silouan, and a 12 year old step-daughter, Sofia. In early 2020 Kevin, along with his wife Stacey embarked on the wild journey of foster care — opening up their home to 6 wonderful children as of Nativity 2020.
Ms. Arita Damroze, Secretary
Arita has been a legal technology consultant for over twenty years. She is the President of A.B. Sims, LLC of Kansas City, Missouri, which provides technology consulting, training and support services to attorneys and other professionals. Arita was raised in the Baptist tradition and received into the Orthodox Church in 2011 She is a parishioner at St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, Kansas City where she enjoys singing in the choir.
Dr. Carla Thomas, Treasurer & Finance Chair
I was welcomed into the Orthodox Church in 1988. My journey began in 1978. It began with a dilemma and a lost suitcase.
In March of 1978, I had received two offers for medical school, due to a Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry degree. Both Harvard and Yale had accepted me. I called my cousin, Fr Jerome Sanderson, who is an Orthodox priest in Indiana. He counseled me to go to Harvard Medical School because ‘if you get into trouble, my brothers can take care of you.’ He gave me a number. I stuffed the number on a small patch of paper in a crevice of my wallet. I totally forgot about it for six months.
In September of 1978, I left Cincinnati, OH, packed up all my belongings and went to Boston, MA. I was young, proud, and full of dreams. I wanted to be a research subspecialist in immunology. I wanted to create limbs for soldiers who had been injured. I landed in Logan Airport, but my luggage did not. All bravado disappeared. I had nothing but the clothes on my back and my wallet. Then I suddenly remembered the number on the patch of paper in the crevice of my wallet.
I called the number. Fr Moses Berry answered the phone. He made arrangements for someone to pick me up and take me to the dorm. I came to church that Sunday and never left. In June, 1982, I graduated, married a fellow Harvard Law School student named Cleo and moved to Alabama. I finished a Family Medicine residency and opened a practice on 11/5/1985. We have four children and four grandchildren.
In June 1988, I was welcomed into the Orthodox Church of America in Atlanta, GA. I was chrismated by Fr Peter Smith. I drove 180 miles each week to attend St John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church (Fr Jacob Myers). In 2006, some of my nursing home patients insisted that I take them to church. I realized that the time had come for me to put down Orthodox roots. I shyly called His Eminence Ab Dmitri (of blessed memory). Less than seven days later, to my surprise, he arrived at my office for evening prayers. Stamping his crozier on the waiting room floor, he planted the St Luke Orthodox Mission Station on 11/25/2006. Fr Basil Henry is the appointed priest. Our outreach is a free medical clinic, in partnership with the Fellowship of St Moses the Black and the Saints Cosmas and Damian Society. I am also on the board of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Axia (Orthodox Women), and Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry.
I have written books and papers (Saints of Africa, The Grass is Greenest in Your Own Backyard, Rx for Repentance, Unbroken Circle, Medicinal Herbs, The Unmercenaries, Culdocentesis, Music Therapy in Medicine, Canon for Racial Reconciliation, Akathist for Healing).
My inventions include nutritional wheels, herbal fans, Rx retrieval device and breast milk analysis kit.
At St Luke Orthodox Church in Anniston, AL, I sing in the choir, stock the church bookstore and manage the gardens.
Dn. Joseph Clark
Dn. John Gresham
Fr. Justin Mathews
Father Justin Mathews, along with his wife Jodi, converted to the Orthodox Christian faith in 1999 at the St. Ignatius Orthodox Church in Franklin, TN. He attended seminary from 2004-2007 at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary and was ordained as a priest of the Orthodox Church of America in 2006. He served at the St. Anne’s Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, TN for two years before moving to their hometown of Kansas City, where he helped to found FOCUS North America and serve as the second priest at St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church alongside Fr. Alexii Altschul.
In 2013, when Fr. Alexii left St. Mary’s to found the Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Monastery, Fr. Justin accepted the position of first priest and continued serving as Executive Director at Reconciliation Services (RS). He began to attend Fellowship of St. Moses the Black (FSMB) conferences around 2010 and became an FSMB board member in 2014. From late 2008 until early 2019, Fr. Justin, with his wife and three sons served in various capacities at St. Mary’s of Egypt Orthodox Church. In January 2019, Fr. Justin stepped down as first priest in order to serve exclusively as Executive Director at RS.
Fr. Justin also is the author of the Social Leader Podcast along with The Social Leader (www.thesocialleader.org) online curriculum. Fr. Justin and the RS Team founded Thelma’s Kitchen, a donate what you can social venture restaurant, in memory of Mother Michaila Thelma Altschul.
Mr. Cecil Mitchell
Cecil Mitchel is the Atlanta Chapter President and serves on the Parish Council at St. John the Wonderworker in Atlanta. He is married to his lovely wife of 17 years and is the father of three children.
Cecil is a combat veteran where he served in the Marine Corps from 2001-2005. He was deployed to Iraq during the war in 2004. He was born and raised in the Atlanta Metro area.
He was baptized into the Orthodox Church with his entire family in 2015.
Fr. Turbo Qualls
Fr. Turbo is the Dean of Chapters for the national chapter of The Fellowship of St. Moses the Black. He has lectured in various parts of the United States in regard to the work of evangelization and cultural outreach within the United States. As a former youth minister within the evangelical church, Fr. Turbo has dedicated much of his life and work to the pragmatic and tangible articulation of Orthodox spirituality to both young people and spiritual seekers. Fr. Turbo serves as the priest at St. Mary of Egypt Serbian Orthodox Church in Kansas City Missouri, where he attends with his wife Juliana and their seven children.
Dn. Jonathan Reavis
Fr. Deacon Jonathan Reavis holds a Masters Degree in Social Work and is the Manager of Social Work at Hope Faith, a day center for people experiencing homelessness in Kansas City, Missouri. He along with his wife Christina were baptized into the Orthodox faith in 2013 at St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church. They are parents to their daughter, Fayna. In 2019, Jonathan was ordained a deacon in the Serbian Orthodox Church. For 4 years he and his wife Christina lived in and facilitated the St. Moses the Black House in Kansas City, a men’s Orthodox Christian discipleship house. Deacon Jonathan joined the board of the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black in 2019 and has spoken at conferences, as well as authored articles for the FSMB in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery in 2020.
Fr. Jerome Sanderson
Mother Musa Thompson
Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan and Sabrina Vilord
Jonathan and Sabrina Vilord live in Columbia, South Carolina. Jonathan was baptized in the Orthodox Church in 2005. Sabrina and Jonathan met in Columbia, SC and Sabrina was baptized in 2015. They gratefully attended their first FSMB conference in 2015, and they started a local FSMB in 2016. They married in 2017 and were blessed with their daughter in 2019.
They are active members of Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in Columbia, SC. Jonathan was ordained as a Reader in 2018. Jonathan and Sabrina have been honored to be board members since 2018. Sabrina has been working as a nurse for 11 years, and a nursing instructor/professor and director of a nursing program for the past 6 years. Jonathan also works in healthcare. They enjoy getting out into nature.