The present parish of St. Herman of Alaska, Langley, B.C., began in 1975, when a group of parishioners from the predominantly Russian Holy Resurrection parish in Vancouver decided to start an English mission in the lower mainland.
These few faithful, led by Dr. Edward and Mrs. Vivian Hartley of Surrey, with the bishop’s blessing, began to hold Reader’s services in their private back-yard chapel. The mission was served through the years by a succession of clergy, some resident, some visiting. By 1986, they were again without a priest. After a year of holding Reader’s services in the back-yard chapel, through the arranging of (then bishop-elect) Fr. Seraphim Storheim, they learned that a seminarian of St. Tikhon’s Seminary in Pennsylvania, soon to graduate, was interested in coming to Canada to do English-language mission work. This priest, Fr. Lawrence Farley, came to the parish in 1987 as their assigned priest, in which capacity he has served until the present time.
Fr. Lawrence worked at a number of secular jobs until the parish could grow and offer full-time support. As the parish grew, it moved from its original back-yard location to rent a number of church facilities in Surrey and Langley. Eventually it was able to purchase property at its present location in Langley.
A number of B.C. clergy trace their beginnings to St. Herman’s parish. Priests and deacons from All Saints Church in Victoria, St. Barnabas Church in Comox, St. John’s Church in Vancouver and St. Aidan’s Church in Cranbrook all were baptized at St. Herman’s. It is served by Fr. Lawrence, assisted by Deacon Gregory Wright. All services are in English.
Today the majority of the parish consists of converts, just like its first founders, as well as a number of members from several different traditionally Orthodox backgrounds. The parish community, with a great number of young families, has mostly outgrown its present quarters and is actively working on a building project that will allow them to worship in a larger and more fully Orthodox temple and more suitable hall facility.