ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- 60 years later, and still holding the same books, singing the same familiar songs. Nina Miller, Lidia Rikuc, Luba Bremer, and Mary Andrews have been singing in the choir at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church for six decades since the church first opened.
Today, they helped mark the diamond anniversary. However, the story of these church founders dates back to long before 1957 when the church’s walls were built.
“We used to go to funeral homes, to schools, whoever let us in,” says Lidia Rakuc, who recalls never missing a service, even when they barely had a location in which to conduct one.
Each of these women is from Belarus. Church founder Nina Miller remembers being just as dedicated to her worship when she and her family were held in labor camps in Germany in 1947.
“We had priests in the labor camps who did the service out on the gravel – outside, and people were kneeling on the gravel pavement.
She later found out that everyone in her labor camp was intended to be executed, had Hitler achieved victory in the war. “God saved us all when the Americans liberated us,” says Miller, reflecting on the relief she felt.
She and those who are left of the founding members, along with new choir members, continue to sing praises to the God they say saved them from those horrors.
“We just started, and keep going,” says Luba Bremer.