Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
These past two days have been filled with great joy and spiritual satisfaction. As an Orthodox Christian community which carries the name of St. Anna, the Mother of the Most Holy Theotokos, we enjoyed a lovely service of Great Vespers, including the Blessing of the Loaves and the Procession/Veneration of her holy Relic. Then on the morning of the 25th, we celebrated the Divine Liturgy in honor of the Ancestor of Christ; His maternal grandmother.
For those who participated in these divine services – I am truly appreciative. Thank you for making the Matron Saint of our church a priority in your spiritual lives.
If for any valid reason, you were unable to come to one of these services in the immediate past, two days, you have yet another opportunity.
On Friday, July 26th at 7:00 pm we will pray the Paraklesis Service to St. Anna at 7:00 pm.
Through her prayers and intercessions, we receive countless blessings. When we gather to pray; honoring her name, and praising Christ, Who is of her very Grandson, we express, in no small terms, our heart-felt gratitude for the impact she has in our lives. If we truly regard her impact and find tender solace in her presence, we will express such thanksgiving through our participation in our liturgical life. Especially when it comes to services for St. Anna.
Our church should have been filled, at least for Great Vespers on the evening of July 24th. Please, my beloved in the Lord, we can and should do better by her.
As Orthodox Christians, we are a worshipping people. This is my call to worship.
With Much Love in Christ,
How good and pleasant it isPsalm 133:1-3
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Indeed! Fellowship in His Name is the greatest opportunity for coming together as a parish family. As our parish of St. Anna’s is soon to celebrate our Five Year Anniversary, we must look to every opportunity, as the Psalmist proclaims, to receive the Lord’s blessings through our sacred fellowship. We are a community established in Christ, grounded in His Church, obedient to Sacred Tradition, interceded for by the Saints and engaged in a blessed & sacred relationship with the Theotokos, and especially her mother, our Matron St. Anna. As is continually evident, our St. Anna offers her prayers unto the Lord for the direction, sustenance, mission, success, direction, motivation and purpose of our parish.
We are the subject of her prayers!
We are a product of her prayers!
We are an answer to her prayers!
In honor of our great Matron Saint Anna, who through Christ, has blessed our community, delivered to us her precious relic, has identified a proper space to establish our church, and continues to direct our path, we will come together in these next several days to commemorate her precious Fest of the Dormition of St. Anna – our parish Name Day. Let the Festivities begin:
Sunday, July 21st at 3:00 pm
Annual Name Day Picnic
At our New Church Location – 9201 South 1300 East Sandy, Utah.
Chaired by Elaine Peterson and hosted by the Men’s Ministry Team, this is our opportunity to come together, have an amazing time, get an outdoor feel for our new grounds, enjoy delectable cooking, watch our kids have fun, dance to the music of Chris Dokos (no, I will not be playing this time) and most importantly, engage in fellowship. I hope and pray that you are planning on coming. This should be our biggest picnic celebration of our five years – on our new property!!!
Wednesday, July 24th at 5:00 pm
Great Vespers for the Dormition of St. Anna
Included in our state-holiday-family-traditions, should be our attending Great Vespers for our Parish Feast. Wednesday evening services are scheduled late enough in the day as to not compete with your time at the park, and early enough in the evening to not compete with your evening BBQs & fireworks. We will gather together to pray Vespers as we lift up and venerate her holy Relic. We will be joined by visiting clergy and parishioners from area communities. Please don’t miss out!
Thursday, July 25th at 9:30 am and 10:30 am
The Feast Day of St. Anna’s! Please join us for the Orthros at 9:30 am followed by the Divine Liturgy. The Women’s Ministry Team has put together a simple, yet appropriate fellowship gathering following services. The Name Day of our parish affords us the opportunity to once again, gather in blessed fellowship; united under the banner of St. Anna’s Dormition – her falling asleep in the hope of the Resurrection of which her maternal Grandson provides! Please, be with us for the Divine Services of our parish Feast.
As a special blessing and surprise, I would like to inform you that our latest icon has arrived from Brasov, Romania; completed by the hand of our iconographer Andreea Ioana Bagiu. This latest contribution to the spiritual life of our parish, the icon of St. Anna Praying in her Garden, will be available this Sunday for veneration, before it is framed and placed on the wall above her altar shrine. Andreea has been most generous with her time and gifts to the glory of God and for the benefit of our community. I am ever thankful that she continues to provide our parish with hand-written iconography filled with God’s grace and infused with her love and tenderness for Christ and His Church.
Many, many people have worked so hard to make all of these events possible. Please take the time out of your busy summer plans and give thanks to the maternal influence that protects and inspires us. To be a church of St. Anna, the mother of the Theotokos, is indeed a blessing and an honor. As we gratefully acknowledge her prayers and intercessions she brings to Christ on our behalf, let us do so by coming together for the sacred services and fellowship opportunities that are provided in her name.
St. Anna Pray for Us!
With Much Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony Savas
We will be promoting our 2019 Vacation Bible School during this Sunday’s Activities. Register your children. Volunteer to help. Please take part in this essential ministry, dedicated to our children’s love for the Lord, the Scriptures and His Church.
It is of great significance if there is a person who truly prays in a family. Prayer attracts God’s Grace and all the members of the family feel it. Pray always.Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnika
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
I would like to give you an update as to the acquisition of our new church home. The summer months have been busy in preparation for our intended move and to God’s glory, I am filled with joy and ask your prayers for the following:
We have successfully submitted our application for a Conditional Use Permit to the Office of Community Development of Sandy City. What this means that upon approval, our building will be permitted to function as a house of worship. The current zoning for the building is in our favor, but still requires the designation from the City.
Please pray, as a member of our parish family, giving God thanksgiving that we have carried the process this far.
We have scheduled a date for the surrounding neighbors of the building, that they may hear of our intentions and plans for the space. Allowing our neighbors to have such an opportunity is a requirement of Sandy City and we are grateful to comply. It is obviously important for us to enjoy a favorable relationship with our neighbors and we hope that we all make good impressions to one another as we begin what will be a blessed and permanent relationship. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, July 31st at the Atrium. Parish Council members and transition team members will be in attendance.
Please pray, as a member of our parish family, that we enjoy a blessed union with our neighbors and that Christ’s love and the movement of the Holy Spirit will guide our every step.
The Community Development Department has also scheduled our hearing before the Sandy City Planning Commission. This is the body which ultimately has the say to approve our application. We will go before the Commission, with our collective voice, with the support of the department staff, and hopefully with the backing of the neighbors, to present our goals, aspirations and intentions for the use of the property. We were given the date. We did not choose it. The city did. Wait for it…
There you have it. St. Anna has apparently gotten her daughter directly involved in this blessed process. As we approach the Planning Commission on the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, we humbly ask her intersessions and guidance through the process.
Please pray, as a member of our parish family, that St. Anna, her daughter the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, and all the Saints will continue to beseech the Lord on our behalf, that we may progress smoothly and without incident in the transformation of a garden center and reception hall to a holy temple, a sacred space, a blessed sanctuary, indeed, a house of God.
As we are all quite aware, we have reached a milestone in our fundraising efforts, in that our parish is less than $100,000 away from attaining our goal of a 50% down payment. Any person who works to raise capital funds for non-profit organizations will tell you that the final, small percentage of a goal is the most difficult to raise. So at this time, I ask and implore you; if you have intended to participate in our project and look forward to taking an active role in our building momentum, please, please, please, do not wait any longer and help us reach our goal. Our closing in October is closing in quickly, and we need to have our finances in order. We are living in historic times within the life of our parish. We will never re-create these days or get them back. Let us seize this moment in trust, enthusiasm, sacrifice and excitement. We are so close. Please help us get there.
Please pray, as a member of our parish family, that the spirit of generosity continues to pour over our congregation and that we all participate in establishing a permanent home for the St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church.
Onward and upward, my Beloved in the Lord. Please enjoy the remainder of the summer. Please participate in our Parish Feast Day Celebrations that are also right around the corner. And for those of us participating in the Parish Fishing Trip this weekend, I pray that the Lord delivers us back home safely. God bless!
With Much Love in Christ,
Let us pray to the Lord. Almighty God and Creator, You are the Father of all people on the earth. Guide, I pray, all the nations and their leaders in the ways of justice and peace. Protect us from the evils of injustice, prejudice, exploitation, conflict and war. Help us to put away mistrust, bitterness and hatred. Teach us to cease the storing and using of implements of war. Lead us to find peace, respect and freedom. Unite us in the making and sharing of tools of peace against ignorance, poverty, disease and oppression. Grant that we may grow in harmony and friendship as brothers and sisters created in Your image. These things we ask In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Now and Forever and unto the ages of ages, amen.An Orthodox Christian Prayer for Peace
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Happy Independence Day for our most blessed United States of America!
As many of you may know, I just returned, along with 14 other people attached to our parish from a Home Building Mission Trip to Project Mexico. We planned out trip with the good people of the Church of the Resurrection in Castro Valley, CA, and we were subsequently paired with them on the building sight.
Over all, there were just over one hundred builders last week and we completed, by God’s grace, four homes for four deserving families. Each of us started with an uneven building sight.
On Day One: we leveled the ground. Created a framework for the pad, hand mixed 35 batches of concrete and smoothed out the surface of the foundation.
On Day Two: we erected the prefabricated metal walls. We attached the roof, bolted the walls to the foundation and wrapped the entire structure in tarpaper and chicken wire.
On Day Three: We hand mixed and applied the first coat of stucco, attached the ceiling boards and installed the windows and front door.
On Day Four: We hand mixed and applied the second coat of stucco, applied the flashing and drip guards to the eves of the house and roof, painted the exterior (orange, per the home-owner’s choice), blessed the home and presented the family with the very first key to their very first front door.
The week we spent in Mexico was filled with prayer, hymns, fellowship, exhaustion, bugs, love, and mutual respect for the people that live south of our border. Ours was a mission of peace and dignity. I believe that our mission was accomplished.
Our plane touched down in Salt Lake City just last night. We were all happy to be back for the Fourth of July. On more than one occasion, I have been out of the country on Independence Day. It is a surreal feeling to be sure, walking the streets of Greece, Guatemala of France, seeing the world go by without a care or thought of our independence from the Crown. No banners, no red, white and blue, no fireworks.
For me, it was important to be home today. I did not want to spend another 4th of July under the shadow of the flag of a different nation. Why? Because of the immense gratitude I feel for our country. I am thankful for grandparents who sought out a better life for me, well before they ever knew me.
I am thankful for a nation that would allow us the opportunity to worship God in our way, identify Him through our traditions and seek Him out through our doctrine. Orthodoxy came to America from many other lands. Yet, together with the creeds and confessions of all other people, we stand in our houses of worship and give glory to God, respecting the right to believe that others’ also hold dear.
On our trip, we saw immense poverty. We didn’t just see it from the window of a passing van. We entered into it. We worked to combat it. We fought it head on and wrestled with its realities.
But upon the faces of the impoverished, was joy and radiant light. You would not believe the dignity and grace of the single mother who now occupies the house we built. Almost every day, she was present on the building sight with her two, young daughters. She held her head high and smiled and looked everyone directly in the eye.
She was happy.
The guy that almost crashed into me on his bike was happy. The people driving by our building sight were happy. The father of the new occupant was proud, and grateful, and helpful and happy.
Indeed, there is much in the news today about the people who are literally dying, attempting to escape that poverty, and find security across our boarder. We encountered people who are proud of their nation, proud of what little they own, thankful for our attachment to their lives and humble before God in permitting all this to happen.
Mexico, in large part, is a poor country. Ours is a rich and powerful country. Today, we give thanks for our Nation from its very inception. Thirteen small colonies gave rise to all we enjoy. And there is much, much, much that we enjoy.
So today, on our Day of Independence, I offer up the above prayer because it is a prayer for peace. We have treasure, we have security, we have ingenuity, we have might, we have prominence. But very seriously, we need peace. We need peace at home and we need peace abroad.
God Bless America.
God Bless Us All.
With Grateful Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony Savas