Fr. Alexii Altschul was an insurance salesman that became inspired and convicted by Christ's admonition to love and serve the poor in the Gospels. When he met his wife, Matushka Michaela (at the time Thelma Gardner), she was housing strangers in her small apartment and feeding them with whatever she had. Fr. Alexii quit his job and married Michaela and began Reconciliation Ministries as a non-denominational church in the building at 3101 Troost. They lived in the building and served meals to the community on a daily basis. About 25 years ago, Fr. Alexii felt the need to focus deeply on prayer as the basis of their work on Troost. After a bit of searching, Fr. Alexii, Michaela and the small community at Reconciliation Ministries became an Eastern Orthodox Church called St Mary of Egypt under Bishop Longin of the Serbian Diocese of the Midwest. Reconciliation Services then became a separate entity, functioning as the missional arm of the church.
The mission of RS found its roots in the deep spiritual prayer of the Orthodox faith and redefined its mission according to the Orthodox profession that all people are living icons of Christ. After Matuska Michaela passed away in 2012, Fr. Alexii began pursuing a life of monasticism in a continuation of his desire to "take root downward in order to bear fruit upward." He passed the task of directing RS on to Fr. Justin, who had been actively serving the poor for years through his service with the Nashville Rescue Mission and serving as the founding Executive Director of FOCUS North America. Fr. Alexii continues to be connected to RS, supporting the ministry through prayer and counsel. In the years since he became the Executive Director of RS, Fr. Justin has worked tirelessly to strengthen RS programs and further define its mission to "reveal the hidden strengths" of the living icons around 31st and Troost.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dina Gardner, President
Kathryn Evans-Madden, Vice President
Melissa Ver Meer, PhD, Treasurer
Dr. Michael Abraham, Secretary
Carla Hutchinson, LCSW
Cecilia Garrett, MLA
Dr. Pauline Sleder
EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS
Hieromonk Alexii Paisius Altschul
Bob Andrews, JD
Hagos E. Andebrhan
Duvel "DJ" Pierre