My beloved syndiakonoi (co-workers) in Christ God,
As we are about to embark on the new ecclesiastical (Church) year, September 1st, we all need to re-examine closely areas of importance within our church, areas which should concern every member (steward) and family of our parish.
What are these areas?
Worship (Divine Liturgy). For the Orthodox Christian worship on Sunday and throughout the week is indispensable and irreplaceable. Worshipping the Almighty God for the Christian believer is just as important as the air that we need to breathe and live. Attending the divine services of our Holy Church as a Christian family is absolutely necessary to maintain communion with our Creator. There is no life without the communion with God through worship, prayer, and the reception of the Holy Eucharist. Through the Divine Liturgy, through our Lord Jesus Christ and His new covenant with us, He, heals our nature, He unifies the inner man–heart and mind are joined in union with God, and He gives perfect forgiveness.
This is what we receive when we attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy:
a) “cleansing of soul”,
b) “remission of sins”,
c) “communion of the Holy Spirit”,
d) “fulfillment of the Kingdom of Heavens”,
e) “boldness toward God”,
f) “not unto judgment or unto condemnation”.
(Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom)
What more can we ask for?
Another area of deep concern is the parish ministry of religious education for all of our children.
A greater effort must be made to teach all of our parish children the Orthodox Christian Faith. To know who our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, is and to follow His Commandments. To learn Christian morality, values, principles, the new life that He has given us. The purpose of the church as a hospital and a place of healing and reconciliation, the grace that a believer receives through the sacraments, the Lives of the Saints, the veneration of the Mother of God, the veneration of the holy icons and Saints, holy Fathers and Mother of the Church and more. To, through faith, come to feel God’s unconditional love within heart, and soul, and for all of mankind.
Parents support the efforts of our volunteer teachers to educate every child in the parish.
Stewardship is the most Christian way of giving to God and our church. Stewardship is Time, Talent and Treasure. All three are needed it if our church continues to exist. We must support our local church with everything we got. God has blessed with many gifts and all of us should respond with love and gratitude. In other words, we must reciprocate in kind.
As members of the human family, we must always show concern and we must help those in need. There are countless opportunities to make a difference in the life of others. I have learned over the many years of my diakonia (ministry) that most people are looking for large sums of money but for human touch, for brotherly love. The recognition that they are just as human as all of us are. To respect them as equals and to treat them with dignity and respect.
These are some of the important areas of concern that we should all contemplate on.
In Christ’s Service,