As a Congregation, we were blessed to dedicate our new hall to Our Almighty Creator on Shabbat 24 March 2018. The following remarks and prayers were recited by Mark Ostrowski, Lead Elder of the Congregation.
Brothers & Sisters, this is a day of celebration, as we recognize the work of our great Elohim within our midst. Blessed be His Name, who does wondrously, exceedingly, great and mighty works on behalf of His people, Israel.
On this Shabbat, a week into the biblical new year, we mark a new beginning for Lev Y’shua. A beginning exemplified by the renewed surroundings in which we find ourselves. A building that was once essentially a shell has been outfitted, equipped, and fortified to now be boldly used for Kingdom purposes. So too are we, when we enter into the new birth spoken of by Messiah. We were once shells, but are now being outfitted, equipped, and fortified to be boldly used for Kingdom purposes.
Now today, as we formally dedicate this place today to the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, we ask that He not only fill these four walls with His Spirit, but more importantly, the vessels that will occupy these premises. For today we are not simply dedicating a building, but also a place and a people. Therefore, let us dedicate this place to unity. Unity in the body of Messiah. A place where love for the brethren is cultivated. A place where zeal for Yahweh permeates all that we do. Let us commit to be a flourishing fellowship emblematic of the Kingdom.
It is no mistake that we are established here in the middle of Big Valley. Geography is important to YHWH. Consider what is revealed to us in Acts 17:25-27: He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us.
In Genesis 12:1, The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you”.
We also see in scripture that Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount are important places to the Almighty.
Likewise, YHWH has appointed our time, and place. And here we stand today. We just celebrated Purim and in the wise words of Mordecai, paraphrased for us today, we have been called for such a time as this. Our Great God makes no mistakes, our time in history and the places we inhabit have beforehand been established. Indeed, even the location of our Assembly Hall is important to Him. While we await His ingathering here in the dispersion, (the galut in Hebrew), as a congregation, we have a hub from which to engage in good deeds, things that are good and profitable for mankind. A place where we can settle and tend to Kingdom matters, shining forth the light of our Redeemer’s love and Truth. As Anne Frank noted:
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
From this tiny hill, we have opportunity to shine forth His light to the communities of this valley and beyond.
As we look to the future, we do well to first pause and consider our heritage.
In 2002, Marci Hughes (of blessed memory), envisioned a Hebrew Roots Congregation of sojourners who walk the path of faith in a Torah obedient fashion. She tapped Dave Dombek, a fellow sojourner, to serve as congregational leader, which he did, through the Spring of 2016. Interestingly, the same year the congregation was founded, this property was purchased by Joann & me, long before we knew what it meant to walk in the Hebrew Roots of our faith. As testimony to the Lord’s hand in today’s dedication, I’d like to share a story. As we considered if we ought to buy this property, The Lord took me to the scripture in Jeremiah 32:7, where he told Jeremiah, buy for yourself the field, which is yours to buy. Essentially showing the people through the prophet that YHWH would again bring His people back to His Land, Israel. This verse, which He revealed, was previously unknown to me. Accordingly, we moved forward with the purchase and committed the use of this property to His glory.
Now, Lev Y’shua wandered for the better part of the next ten plus years. From house to house, Sabbath to Sabbath, sojourning, never continuing in one place for very long. We spent time at three different public locations, including a grammar school library where members sat on children’s chairs. No Place really satisfied. Additionally, gathering to celebrate the Feast Days was always challenging as arrangements needed to be made to find ancillary locations such as parks. We had no home. Even our belongings were co-mingled in storage along with the host institution’s belongings at these various locations.
We began meeting here, at this location in 2013, specifically for the feast of Sukkot. It was the brainchild of Kim Dombek and Joann, as they would often get together in Belleville to walk. This location afforded us a place to camp and a shelter where we could get out of the elements. As time passed, congregational members decided that meeting here was preferable over the various places we had rented to gather at in State College. With a rented job johnnie, we made due. However, here, the vision for a facility where we could settle in and minister more formidably was kindled. Thus, the Elder Team entered into a long-term lease with us as landlords, thereby allowing for the work that you see now completed to commence.
So, it is with hearts of gratitude, that we consider and thank those who have gone before us, those who have ministered within this body, effectively bringing us to this place today.
Before we dedicate this building, let us dedicate ourselves to the mission which the Elders previously discerned: that we would devote ourselves to be a body of believers who desire to nurture a holistic community of love and encouragement, honoring both the written and living Torah, our Messiah Y’shua, through worship, Davidic dance, study of His word, outreach, and individual accountability, being led by the Ruach haKodesh as revealed through the word of Elohim. As we live out our mission, we will then experience a thriving, safe, Torah Observant, Spirit Filled Community of Believers in Central PA, grounded upon The Rock, The Lion of Judah, Y’shua The Messiah, living out lives rooted in His right rulings and commandments, functioning as a light to the nations, focused on YHWH’s Kingdom to come.
And, so, today, Father, we commit ourselves and dedicate ourselves to you and to the mission and vision You have set before us. HalleluYah!
Now, as we turn our attention to this wonderful environment in which we find ourselves, we seek to dedicate this place and all that goes on herein to our great Elohim, the God of Avraham, Yitzak, & Israel. As a sign of our commitment to our King, we chose to name the four corners and porticos of this meetinghouse, taking our cue from the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon. In 1Kings 7:21, Solomon named the pillars of the Temple, “He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz, which translated means He shall establish and in its strength”. No doubt conveying the idea that YHWH will establish His purposes in His strength. We also note that Acts 3:2 states: …the gate of the Temple which is called beautiful. Therefore, it seems only right and fitting that we consider names for the supporting posts and porticos of our building.
In this spirit, we choose to name the
- NE Corner, Chokmah, Wisdom; representing Passover, which comes early in the year when the sun rises closest to that corner.
- Next, we name the East Door Binah Understanding, representing the feast of The Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- SE Corner, we shall call Etzah, Counsel, representing First Fruits or Yom haBikkurim.
- Our South Facing Door will be Ruach Yahweh, Spirit of God, representing the middle, supporting branch of the menorah which also recalls to mind Shavuot, the central feast in YHWH’s annual feast cycle.
- The South Facing Door on the porch, will be known as Gvurah, Power, and relates to the feast of Trumpets.
- The SW Corner will be known as Daat, the spirit of Knowledge, also representing Yom Kippur.
- Our NW Corner, we will name Yirat Yahweh, Reverence and is a reminder of Sukkot.
- Coming back to the overhead door, we will name it Keytsi Ruach, Fruit of the Spirit, representing Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, & self-control, attributes that we all must work toward by the power of the Holy Spirit to properly equip us for His Kingdom purposes.
Let these names always serve as a reminder that as we enter herein, we enter the full counsel of our mighty Elohim and have access to all the Kodesh Ruachim that flow from His throne.
Now, Abba, Father, we dedicate this building to you and anoint each of these porticos and corners with oil as a symbol of its set apart use for your set apart people. Thank you for Your loving kindness in allowing us such a comfortable, welcoming environment in which we can study, worship, praise, and fellowship with You and each other. We ask that you will bless our going out and coming in from this day forth and forever more, in the name of our mighty Messiah, Yahshua of Nazareth, in whose name we pray. Amen.