Pastoral Letter July 9, 2017

“Build the house, that I may take pleasure in it, and that I may be glorified.”
– Haggai 1:8

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

Please take a moment to read the above-cited scriptural verse. Read it again. Meditate upon it. Close your eyes and allow a visual image to take form. Hear God’s commandment that a home should be built unto His glory. Hear the sounds. See the sights. Feel the excitement.

This short verse, from the equally-short Book of Haggai will be embedded in the minds and inscribed on the hearts of the good people of St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church. For this scriptural command is our clarion call to rise up, become prayerfully motivated, and set our sights on the most important goal that we as a community of believers, will ever hope to accomplish.

This Verse is the theme for our Capitol Campaign, dedicated to the purchase of land for our eventual and permanent parish home. Hear the sounds. See the sights. Feel the excitement.

It has been a few weeks since I have had the opportunity to properly address you, using this, my favorite medium – these Thursday Evening/Friday Morning messages. I feel deeply connected to you, every time I sit down to write down the contents of my thoughts and prayers. While I was away on vacation (and on a brief hiatus from my pastoral messages), I quietly reached a great mile stone in my humble ministry. On June 15th, I celebrated the 20th Anniversary of my ordination to the Holy Priesthood.

Twenty years is a long time. Sometimes the days have been long, but the years have gone by quickly. Far, too quickly. In the span of two decades, I have experienced incredible blessings and have suffered some pretty substantial challenges. I have shared in the absolute joy of God’s children, and have been witness to the most traumatic and horrific times in people’s lives. We’ve lived in three states and have served two Metropolitans.

I’ve read the prayers of healing, forgiveness, marriage, baptism, chrismation, funerals, sanctification, protection and travel. I’ve blessed hundreds of babies and couples. I’ve blessed thousands of luncheons and dinners. The opportunities to stand before the faithful, and beside the bishop, are equally humbling and exhilarating. I won’t lie: I completely love being fully vested, unto God’s glory – not mine. And I take pride in a near-spotless altar (minus the continual wax drippings).

It’s all been beautiful. Even the most challenging of times have been filled with countless blessings, and opportunities to learn, grow and mature. I’ve enjoyed long-lasting relationships and have endured broken ones, as well. Some of those fractured relationships have been my fault. Other have not. I lament them all, none the less. I ask forgiveness of the people I’ve hurt. And I extend forgiveness to those who have crushed my spirit. It’s all fascinating. It’s all written by the hand of God. Every moment of the past twenty years has been filled with wonder.

But please permit me to speak (or rather, write) as plainly, and as precisely as possible, when I state that:

There is nothing that I have accomplished, worked towards, dreamed of, prayed about or acted upon, within the life of the Church, more significant, than our eventual goal of building our church. Building St. Anna’s Church. Building Christ’s Church.

To be sure, we are just taking the first, little, baby steps towards this lofty and sacred task. We have received the scope of our project through the voice of the Parish Assembly – $3,000,000.00! We have received the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver to proceed. We have begun meeting with individuals and families in the parish, whom we hope and pray will take the lead responsibilities in financing our holy project.

And if you will please read the announcement in this week’s Bulletin, you will learn of our plans to reach out to every, single individual, couple and family, who call St. Anna’s, their spiritual home. Our in-home meetings are not only for those blessed with wealth or resources. The opportunity to hear our plans, share our vision and actively participate is for everyone. And everyone will have, just that opportunity. Hear the sounds. See the sights. Feel the excitement.

Up until now, our rollout has been subtle and understated. But from now, be prepared to hear the message at every gathering and to measure our progress at every turn. The time has come to plan for our future and secure a place that will eventually house our weddings, baptisms, funerals and Liturgies. It is in this future space, where we will hear the Gospel, listen to the Word, partake of the Mysteries, and sing His praises. The time is at hand, that we build the house, that he may take pleasure in it, and where He may be glorified.

Hear the sounds.
See the sights.
Feel the excitement.
Pray the prayer.
Read the Announcement!

With Much Love in Christ,

Fr. Anthony

(Hey – we’ve been given the opportunity to do something that is literally once in a life time. Can you believe it?!?)