Thursday, April 24, 2014

Former Clergy

St. George Church has been served by some devoted clergy, including;

Archimandrite Gabriel Cooke

Our father in the faith, the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Gabriel [Cooke], fell asleep in the Lord in Chino Valley, AZ on the morning of Thursday, September 10, 2009.

A convert from Byzantine Rite Catholicism, he was ordained to the diaconate in 1986 at Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY. The following year, he was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, at Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Bayridge, NY.

He served in the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

In February 1996, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite by His Grace, Bishop Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Portland, OR.

On November 22, 1997, Fr. Gabriel was tonsured a as a stavrophore monk by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman of the Orthodox Church in America at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA.

Father Gabriel held a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Holy Redeemer College and a Masters Masters in Theological Studies and Art History from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkley, CA. He also pursued graduate coursework in Eastern Theology at the Papal College Josephinium, Columbus, OH. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY in 1986.  In 2006 he was a Doctoral Candidate at Harvard Divinity School.

Among his varied ministries and activities, Father Gabriel served as Ecumenical Officer on behalf of Metropolitan Philip to the Interfaith Clergy Council of Oregon from 1987 to 1997; president of the Oregon Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood from 1988-1997; and president of the Arizona Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood from 2000-2006.

Father Gabriel served Antiochian and OCA parishes, including Saint Michael Western Rite Antiochian Orthodox Mission, Seattle, WA; Saint Anne Mission [OCA], Albany, OR; and the Church of the Annunciation [OCA], Milwaukie, OR. In 1997, he was assigned to Saints Peter and Paul Church [OCA], Phoenix, AZ, which he served faithfullly until June 2006, after which he served at the Prescott  Orthodox Community while being attached to Saint John of Shanghai Monastery.

Church planter, missionary, monk and holy priest.

May Father Gabriel’s memory be eternal!

Fr. John A. Peck

Fr. John A. Peck served St. George Orthodox Church in Prescott from 2008 to 2012. Born in Detroit, MI in 1962, he grew up there and in Mt. Clemens, MI graduating in 1980 from Mt. Clemens High School. He attended Michigan State University and met the future Mrs. Peck, Deborah Robertson, there. They were married in 1984. Their son, Nathan (1985), was born 14 months later, followed by their sons, Benjamin (1990) and Joseph (1994). It was in 1994 that the Peck family departed the lower 48 for Alaska, attending St. Herman Seminary on Kodiak Island. He was ordained a deacon  at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak, AK on May 4, 1997, and to the Holy Priesthood on June 22, 1997 at St. Innocent Cathedral in Anchorage, AK.

Fr. John received his B.A. in English Literature from Michigan State University. He graduated from St. Herman Theological Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska, after serving as Administrator, and teaching courses in Introductory Speech and Communications, Introductory and Advanced English Literature, Basic Composition, Religious Education, and Christian Psychology. He completed coursework towards a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He was granted a D.Min. by Veritas Theological Seminary in 2009. His thesis became the book “Called To Serve: A Basic Bible Survey for Orthodox Christians.”

His work experience includes decades of non-profit administration, including a stint as the Executive Director of The Helen Foundation, a non-profit medical foundation located in Mesa, AZ.

Fr. John founded the Incarnation Broadcast Network, the first 24 hour Orthodox Christian internet radio broadcast in the world. He established the first Orthodox seminary website in the world. He hosted the first Orthodox Media Guild gathering in Chicago in 2004, inviting Orthodox media ministries from around the country to plan how to use their new technologies to reach the unchurched.

He was instrumental in diaconal preparation and instruction, serving as lecturer in Biblical Studies and Practical Liturgics for the Late Vocations programs of the OCA Diocese of the Midwest, and the Northeast Ohio Catechetical School for Theological Studies.  He is also the founder and director of the Preachers Institute, an online homiletic resource for Orthodox pastors and preachers.

Fr. John has written several workbooks and manuals for instruction: Called To Serve, Student and Leader’s Manuals, Divine Liturgy: A Student Study Text, the Bible Drill/Bible Divas Field Manuals, and S.W.A.T. (Spiritual Warfare And Training). He has written articles for, the American Orthodox Institute, The Handmaiden magazine, the Interior Strength blog, the St. Katherine College website, and others.

He is an occasional writer for Charles Staley’s  Staley Training Systems website, and has been featured on the Functional Hand Strength, Theory To Practice, and The Masculine Heart websites.

He is also a contributor of a number of articles, and commentary on the Old Testament books of

  • Hosea,
  • Song of Songs, and
  • III Maccabees

for the newly published Orthodox Study Bible.

Fr. John arrived at St. George in February of 2008.

He founded Journey To Orthodoxy: The Orthodox Christian “Welcome Home” Network for helping those seeking  inquiring into and seeking contacts within the Orthodox Church, and assisting heterodox pastors in their transition to Orthodoxy.

Recently, he launched Good Guys Wear Black, a website designed to help men who are discerning  a vocation in the Orthodox Church.

Fr. John is very happily married and the father of three boys.

Fr. William John Clark

Aside from being Father John’s second pair of hands, Father Bill has become a very important member of our church family. A priest of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Father Bill serves under the omophorion of Archbishop Nathaniel, in the Romanian Episcopate. His journey to the priesthood took many interesting turns including serving the public in Florida as a law enforcement officer and entertaining the public as an actor and opera singer. It was during this time that he met and married the lovely Presbytera Margie.

Born into the Roman Catholic faith, Father Bill converted to Orthodoxy in 1986 and went on to study theology by way of the St. Stephen’s Theology course through the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Ordained a deacon in 2001, he became a full fledged priest by 2003 just before his 69th birthday!  Fr. Bill may be the oldest man ordained to the Holy Priesthood in this hemisphere. Fr. Bill graciously fills in as a supply priest wherever he is needed, whether here in Arizona, or as far away as Indiana and Texas. Despite maintaining a sometimes grueling schedule, he is always ready to serve the Lord and the flock.

While we here at Saint George certainly don’t mind sharing him with fellow believers, we are always happy when he returns “home.”

Our church just isn’t the same without that booming bass tone ringing out from the altar. In addition to con-celebrating services with Fr. John, Fr. Bill has also celebrates Divine Liturgy on Friday mornings.  He is also available for hearing confessions, offering instruction, counsel and advice whenever he can and, of course, he is always ready with a smile and a joke guaranteed to make you smile.

Here is some more information on Fr. Bill, from the website:

On Sunday, March 2, 2003, our beloved Fr. Bill was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel, in the Church of St. Raphael’s Orthodox Community in Detroit, Michigan.

Rev. Fr. Bill Clark was born on June 24, 1934, in New York City,  New York,  U.S.A of parents: William Joseph & Dorothea Clark.

Fr. Bill is married to Presvytera Margaret Clark.


  • Elementary School (1940-1947)
  • Saint Catherine of Sienna,  New York City
  • Secondary(1948-1951)
  • Holy Trinity Seminary High School,  New York City
  • College (1951-1953)
  • Saint Joseph’s Theological Seminary,  Eufola,  AL
  • St. Stephen’s Course of Orthodox Theology


Military (1953-1955) ; United States Army,  1953 – 1955

Stationed: Korea,  Germany ; Veteran: Korean Conflict Rank: Sergeant ;


Military Duties: Graduated from Military Communications School-,  Frankfurt,  (Germany). Promoted to Communications Chief as Technical– Sergeant. Served directly under Battalion Commander,  Butzbach,  Germany.  Discharge: Honorable,  1955



1955-1960       Fire Underwriter/Building Inspector – Insurance liability

1961-1963       Transportation Officer – Florida Police Department

1963-1968       Studied voice under tutelage: Giovani de Giovani, George Hurley Music Academy, Brooklyn, New York. Completion of voice and Music Theory,  Los Angeles,  CA

1966    Insurance– Liability Inspector, New York City.

1969-1972       Manager, Golden State

Appliance – Domestic/Commercial repair.

1972    Sales Representative,  LaFayette Academy,  Southfield,  Michigan ; Promotions 1973      District Manager.

Second Vice President,


1974 – other duties besides management:

Production,  Acting (4 films),  Training Coordinator,  Seminar development,  establishing sales techniques for new hires.

1989    Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles,  California – Manager – Home Video Distribution.

1980-1993  Completed work with Fox Media Entertainment Group until retirement – mid 1980′s – 1993. Office Services Manager supplying all current productions with “special Order” equipment and services. Also acting roles – various years,  for such programs as “Current Affair”,  commercials (international). Promotional films, shown in Australia.

1993 – Early retirement.


Theological pursuit

Decision to pursue private religious studies originally begun in 1979. Full time religious studies under guidance of his Mentor, The Very Reverend Fr. Constantin Alecse.


With Fr. Alecse’s encouragement entered the Masters Program at Saint Stephen’s Seminary, at the age of 65, which has graduated this year., 2003

Church Hierarchy

1997    “Church Reader” for the Holy Trinity , Los Angeles

1998-1999       Sub-Deacon


2001 Ordination to Diaconate

On Sunday 26th August 2001,  in the St. John the Baptist Romanian Orthodox Church in Phoenix,  Arizona,  by His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel.


Church duties 1995-2001

Ordained to the Holy Diaconate on Sunday 26th August 2001, deacon William John Clark during the last 5 years served the Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church in various capacities: Sacristan, Cantor, Reader, Sub-Deacon, Deacon, Sunday School Teacher and Director,  Parish Council member,  Congress delegate,  Church Auditor,  Vatra Camp Counsellor,  Bible Bowl Advisor and LAROY Advisor.


Liturgics & Pastoral

Sacristan for the English Speaking Chapel of the Holy Trinity (1998 to present); First cantor and congregation singing director; processions’ organizer for the Sunday School; cantor and co-server at services performed in the parish (funerals, memorials, anniversaries, etc.); pastoral visits with the pastor; visitation of the sick and shut-ins, etc.

Since his ordination to the Holy Priesthood, Father Bill Clark undertook the responsibilities of Priest in many locations, serving with distinction, love and honor.

In 2011, he was granted retirement, but continues to serve St. George parish with greater fervor than ever!

CLICK HERE to see a list of his articles and essays.