Board of Directors
Nun Katherine Weston, President
Mr. Kevin Bryce, Vice President
Ms. Arita Damroze, Secretary
Dr. Carla Thomas, Treasurer, Finance Chair & Governance Chair
Fr. Alexii Altschul, Spiritual Advisor & Spiritual Formation Chair
Fr. Moses Berry, President Emeritus
Mr. Cecil Mitchell, Conference Chair
Mr. Kevin Bryce, Communication Chair
Nun Katherine Weston, Book Sub-committee Chair
Dn. Joseph Clark, Membership Chair
Other Board Members
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, President Emeritus
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.
About the title “President Emeritus”
In appreciation for the leadership of the Very Reverend Father Moses Berry
- twenty-six years of your Presidency of the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black,
- representing the Fellowship at conferences and events coast to coast,
- speaking up in the Orthodox Church for evangelism to African Americans,
- curating artifacts of your family from the days of slavery and beyond,
- development of the brick and mortar and, later, the virtual Museum of the Ozarks,
- fostering racial reconciliation,
- your example of earthly and spiritual fatherhood,
- keeping our eye focused on spiritual rather than earthly ascent.
On the second day of November, 2020, the Executive Board of the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black, with the Amen of the Board of Directors, by unanimous proclamation bestow upon you the title of: President Emeritus with all the rights and privileges thereof: including the right, without obligation, to sit on the Executive Board in perpetuity.
Fr. Alexii Altschul, Spiritual Advisor
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!, the Neighborhood Resilience Project, and the FSMB. He is married with a three 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. Joseph Clark is the deacon of St. George Orthodox Church in Upper Darby, PA and lives in Philadelphia with his wife and children. Raised in the Black Church, Dn. Joseph first became aware of the Holy Orthodox Church while a graduate student in Huntington, WV. After a period of prayer and discernment, he was received into the Orthodox faith at Christ the Savior Russian Orthodox Church in December of 2006.
In the fall of 2013, he attended his first Fellowship (then Brotherhood) conference and immediately recognized its importance, especially for the African American community. Between the speakers and the sense of community amongst those gathered, he knew he wanted to become a part of this body of believers. In the fall of 2016, after receiving a scholarship established in the name of the Fellowship, he enrolled in St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA.
Ordained in June of 2018, Dn. Joseph served St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and upon graduating in the Spring of 2019 joined the community of St. George in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. When not serving at his parish, Dn. Joseph enjoys walking in the city’s green spaces with his family.
Dn. John R. Gresham, Jr.
Deacon John lives in King William County, Virginia where he served as a Baptist Pastor for 17 years before becoming Orthodox in 2014. He has created two blogs, Desert Fathers Dispatch and The Modern Monastic Order of St. Simon of Cyrene, and established the Virginia Chapter of the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black. He is a graduate of Virginia State University and earned the St. Stephen’s Certificate in Orthodox Theology from the Antiochian House of Studies in 2018.
Deacon John is the Education Support Specialist at York River State Park and a Wellness Experience Staff member of the Greater West Point YMCA. He and his wife Brenda attend Saint Basil the Great Orthodox Church in Hampton where he also serves at the Teen SOYO advisor/teacher.
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.
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.
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