Annual Parish Meeting: 2017
the Last Judgment
Lots of good
news here, and plans, and my vision for everyone in our parish family. We are
growing, and will be building again in due time, but only one thing matters.
The remarks more or less followed an essay (below), sent before
the meeting.† As always, I spoke from my heart to their hearts.
Things looking up, and busy. We have No!!
mortgage now (because of recent, very generous donation by three people) and
are itching to build, and get another!
Our education is awesome, tithing and
pledges are better than ever, we have a very full service schedule, and a
ministry of prayer for the sick, and an evening in the week for bible study,
that is pretty well attended.
I am really happy about the Children's sermon at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
I have had multiple adults tell me that they listen keenly and have learned
many things from it, and our children are really smart and come up with very
good answers, and they're very engaged.
I am less exhausted, especially mentally
and spiritually, because I am not nursing now. This year, I have finally been
able to breathe.
We are too small in the dining room, a
little snug in the church, without classrooms yet, for our substantial
education for young and old. These are good problems to have, even if they are
above my IQ.
We have weaknesses of course.
Unfortunately, Sunday attendance dwarfs
attendance on Saturday and I don't think that's a good thing but we're not
alone, pretty much the whole world does that, because of our low level of spirituality
and understanding the Orthodox ethos in this country and probably all over.
It would be wonderful if people treated
services like their job and were not habitually late.
I would certainly like to see some people
for confession more than once or twice a year.
I think our culture is starting to have an
idea that this is "my parish family and I'm going to take care of
it." There is a sense of ownership and stewardship. The church a person
goes to is not a commodity and it is not something that should be taken for
granted. It is a body of people that should be united to one another in love.
This could improve but I'm very happy that we are an upward trend.
There's much for people to learn. I'm
continually amazed, which is means I'm not that smart because I've been doing
this for 22 years, at the simple things that people do not know and do not do.
A rule that I break, unfortunately pretty often, is "assume nothing"!
We often do not have ordained readers at
our Saturday service especially sometimes at the Sunday service. Sometimes we
have to scrap to do weekday services but with God's help we get them done.
Sometime we feel very small, but the mustard seed is beginning to mature.
I have not counted, but there are easily
at least a dozen people that can be counted on to do a lot of different things.
Our Mighty Mites collection every Sunday
continues to be very popular and very lucrative for all of the Charities that
it gives too. It's not a ton of money every Sunday but by the end of the year
we've given $14,000 to charity. And the children are all giving and learning to
come to the temple with money in their right hand and their left hand behind
We are welcoming church for anybody who
walks in the door. There are people who are not even members of our church and
don't intend to be that feel welcome with us and participate in our Bible
studies, and I'm very happy about that.
also have always been available to the indigent and the mentally ill. We're the
kind of place in which nobody goes to me and says "father what is that guy
doing here" and this is the hallmark of a Christian place.
This year will be a very important year We have much planning to do. Will we
build? It is important for us to increase our intensity, each in whatever way he
or she can. We do not need to be superman or wonder women - just repentant
Christians who are engaged in their community, and pray, and give of