Father Parsells was born in Kodiak Island, Alaska, where his father, also an Orthodox priest, was doing missionary work. Soon after his birth, his family moved to Manville, New Jersey, where he was raised. After completing high school, Father John studied at Montclair State University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Following graduation, he embarked upon the first of two pilgrimages to the Holy Land, where he began to feel and discern the Lord’s call to serve Him in the priesthood. When Father John returned from Israel, he enrolled in Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA, where in 2005 he received his Master’s of Divinity Degree.
While studying at the seminary, Father Parsells was also making good use of his technical training, writing special computer software which would allow Orthodox churches to easily and effectively manage their parish websites. In 2003, he launched Orthodox Web Solutions, a web design and hosting company which today serves over 125 such parishes. A week before completing his theological studies, Father John was pleased to announce the release of a new website dedicated to Orthodoxy in America. This website, located at www.orthodoxyinamerica.org, uses mapping software to show where all the Orthodox churches in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are located, and is linked to Google to provide driving directions and satellite imagery.
Two weeks after graduation, Father John married his wife, Emily, herself a daughter of a priest and a first grade teacher in the NJ school system. This past May, they welcomed their first born child, a baby girl whom they named Elisabeth. After visiting Christ the Savior Church in June and seeing the dedication of her members and their enthusiasm to share the Orthodox Faith with the people of the Delmarva area, Father Parsells petitioned the ruling bishop, His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman, for assignment to the Mission.
The assignment of a fulltime pastor is an important milestone in the life and growth of the Mission, located at 1400 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, DE. The church building, which serves as a visible sign of stability and permanency, was renovated by parishioners to provide a chapel, an office, and an all purpose room to be used for after service coffee hours, meetings, receptions, and lending library. All are welcome to attend the Divine Services which are held Saturday evening at 6:00pm and Sunday morning at 9:00am.