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1921 - 1947

Through the efforts of the Ukrainian Mutual Aid Society, in 1921 a committee of Messrs. Tynda, Boluck, and Fedus acquired a house and small plot of land on Pleasant Street in Colchester. The ground floor of the house was remodeled to serve as the chapel and the 2nd floor provided residence for the pastor. By 1929, the parish was financially sound and had 82 members. Because the community of Ukrainians to be served differed in their
religious persuasions, the church was named the Greek Catholic Orthodox Independent Church of St. Mary, serving Colchester and environs. While resident parishioners were artisans and craftsmen (carpenters, masons,
painters, garment workers, laborers, etc.), very many, if not most were farmers.

For most parishioners, therefore, meant that frequent participation in religious and other church related events required great effort. In travel alone, since the few paved roads were near the town, for them the preponderance of travel
was on dirt roads. For considerable portions of the year mud and snow made travel by the small minority, which owned automobiles very uncertain, leaving horse and wagon, the principal means of travel, Inherently slow. 1 tie hardships which these facts imply illustrate and emphasize the dedication and determination of our forbearers and the sacrifices these pioneers made with their limited resources to maintain their identity, practice their religion, and transmit their heritage. Considering the formidable obstacles to beginnings even so modest the parish can take pride and satisfaction in the achievement. We stand greatly in the debt of these pioneers, since the church not only served religious needs, but also became the center and stronghold for
unity and culture. The feelings of belonging developed, and the parish grew and prospered.

The contributions of the clergy during this critical formative period must not be overlooked nor cannot be overemphasized, for they labored under great hardships, particularly when one considers that in the 1920's fewer than 100 persons constituted the parish, and their financial resources were severely strained (the agrarian depression after WW1 preceded the National Great Depression which engulfed the towns and cities as well in the 1930's). The priests during this period, often married and some with children were heavily
burdened, their wives often having to be employed outside the home. An example is that of Fr. Stephen Prokopchuk, who served in the 1930's, a father of 4 children, who labored mightily to bring many church and cultural activities to high levels, notably the young people's choir (sung in 4 parts, music written by himself, leading rehearsals with pitch- pipe and violin); he prepared socials and produced stage plays which achieved an excellence praised highly also among non- Ukrainian multi-linguals of Colchester. He personally repaired the family's precarious automobile. In 1931 he became bishop seated in Philadelphia archdiocese.

Among the pioneer families of the parish in the 1920's and early 1930's many of whose descendents presently parishioners are the following: Tynda, Boliuch, several Feduses, Shajda, Malioczka, Krop (3 brothers),
Marcinko (2), Vichensky, Dicky, Gorsky, Gural, Myhowicz, Kobyiiuch, Homeniuk, Olinik, Horyczka, Iwachiw, Busil, Kilmak, Zahochewsky, Chemerynsky, Iwanyshyn, Cichailyshyn, Semko, Magril, Naumowych, Wozniak, Tytla, Kuprak, Lulick, Horyczka, Kissel, Hyrczycha.