Parish Clergy

Rev. Fr. James Berends

Being a part of the Metropolis of Detroit is a homecoming of sorts for Fr. Jim. He was born in (East) Grand Rapids, Michigan just days before Christmas of 1956, the son of a Baptist minister. Within a year of being born, the Detroit Lions would win their last NFL Championship. At the age of six, his family moved to Battle Creek (the site of Sts. Constantine & Helen Chapel was once home to Calvary Baptist Church, formerly pastored by his father). He graduated "laudi how cum" from Wheaton College (outside of Chicago) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 1979.

From 1981 to 1985 he attended Dallas Theological Seminary taking a Masters in Biblical Studies. After graduation, he taught at King's Christian School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He proposed to the beautiful art teacher. She accepted and they were married on June 26, 1987.

He has served as an Executive Director of Campus Life in Elmira, New York and as a Regional Manager for Texas Special Olympics in Dallas, Texas. While in Dallas, their two daughters were born, Caitlin in 1998 and Melanie the following year. Around this time, Fr. Jim was involved in the ordination process of the Episcopal Church. His reading interests and circumstances exposed him to Orthodoxy. Those interests include T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, the New York Times, and Russian History.

He attended Holy Cross in Brookline from 2001 to 2004, graduating with an M.Div. His last year, he served as a Deacon at Sts. Constantine & Helen in Andover, Massachusetts. His ordination to the Priesthood was a first for Holy Trinity in Orlando, Florida, where he served from 2004 to 2006. He was the first full-time priest at Sts. Raphael, Nicholas & Irene in Gumming, Georgia from 2006 to 2010. From 2010 to 2012, he was assigned to St. Barbara in Durham, North Carolina; from December 2012 to May 2015 he was assigned to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Starting June 1, 2015 Fr. James became the Proistamenos of the Holy Trinity Parish in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

He has had the further privilege of serving on the Hellenic College/Holy Cross Alumni Board from 2008 to 2012, the Archdiocesan Stewardship Commission from 2007 to 2011 and as Metropolis of Atlanta co-chair of the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival from 2006 to 2011.

Rev. Protopresbyter James Bogdan, Emeritus

Fr. James Bogdan was born on December 17, 1932 in Grand Rapids, MI and married Presbytera Joan in 1958. They have been blessed with 4 children and 6 grandchildren.

He received his BA in 1952 and his Master of Arts degree in 1956 from the University of Michigan. While working on his Master’s degree in Byzantine Studies, he attended Holy Cross School of Theology, doing research for his thesis. In 1958 Fr. Jim continued work on his doctorate in Byzantine Studies at Michigan State University. In 1959 he joined Grand Rapids Community College to teach in the History Department where he became Divisional Chairman of Social Sciences and Dean of Instruction during the college’s reorganization. Fr. Jim retired in 1993 after 36 years of service. In 1975 Fr. Jim was ordained as Deacon and on April 29, 1984, under the 1980’s Archdiocesan “Priests with a Profession" program, Fr. Jim was ordained priest to Holy Trinity. In 2003 he was bestowed the Offikion of Protopresbyter.

Fr. Jim retired from Holy Trinity September 2009, after 36 years of service. He took great pride in joining all six Orthodox parishes in Grand Rapids for activities. Over the years, the churches sponsored lectures by Bishop Kallistos Ware, Frankie Shaffer, and Presbytera Constantinides. These lectures were open to the public and drew large audiences. He also spearheaded an exhibit of Orthodox Iconography at Calvin College. Fr. Jim is a member of the Metropolis Council and has been Director of Religious Education for 14 years. He started an Orthodox Book Review every other month, a Speakers' program, and Lenten programs used in our Metropolis and in Mobile, AL. Fr. Jim has many fond memories of ‘teaching and preaching,” and the two summers he served as priest at Ionian Village.