Fr. Alex Chetsas, Pastor
Office: (508) 337- 9986
I grew up in Newburyport, MA (Annunciation Church) and have been happily married to Brandy Elser since 1996—we met in grad school at Salem State and have inseparable ever since. We have lived in Millis, MA since 2011 and have three children: Phoebe, 21; Abraham, 17; and Roman, 9. Brandy is the Director of Strategic Communications for Mayflower Advisors in Boston. Like so many other parents, we are currently trying to figure out how to make our household “go” in the age of COVID-19, from supporting our children’s educational efforts to grappling with the myriad questions of literal and figurative “bandwith” at our home.
I was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios in 2001 at Saint John’s Church in Boston—and to the Holy Priesthood by His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony, of blessed memory, in 2002. I’ve served at parishes in Los Angeles, CA, Tallahassee, FL and Weston, MA, before coming to Saint Philip in Nashua, NH in 2012. As of this month (Sep 2020), I’ve been a priest for 18 years.
Throughout my ministry, and in addition to our tremendous Sacraments and Orthodox Traditions, I’ve been especially drawn to certain aspects of Church life—youth ministry, marriage counseling, the intersection of popular culture and the tenets of our faith, social action/community outreach (which many of us have been contemplating in new and challenging ways since March) and the possibility for institutional transformation within the Church (how can we better actualize the great time, talent and treasure of our faithful and look more and more like the Church as described in the Book of Acts).
For the last 20 or so years, I’ve also taught the occasional English class, just for the love of it—and as a meaningful avenue of connecting the Church with the greater community. It’s wonderful to have even a small link to academia, and I think it has enriched my ministry and ability to create a sense of awareness of the greater community at my churches; likewise, for the last decade I’ve offered myself as a chaplain for the Middlesex Sheriff’s Association and Nashua Fire & Rescue. It’s been amazing and so humbling to work alongside those who serve us in such sacrificial ways.
Staying with that theme of “lifelong learner” from my resume, I recently entered an Ed.D. program at Regis College. This largely remote, part time program focuses on Leadership within Higher Education but allows the participant to craft the program to specific interests beyond education—e.g. leadership in the health industry, non-profits, houses of faith, law enforcement and more. I’ve engaged the program in hopes of taking my priestly and parish ministry to the next level: I’m focusing my dissertation on the spiritual/religious lives of young adults on college and university campuses.
In the end, I love parish life—the Sacraments, programs, ministry endeavors, outreach, sense of community, friendships … the people. And I believe in personal and communal striving, pushing ourselves for the sake of the Gospel. Further, I feel when we open the arms of the Church and embrace the greater community with open minds and abounding love, everything just gets more hopeful, more exciting, more inviting and more what it should be—again, that amazing Church we read about in the Book of Acts.
1st Sunday of Luke
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