Pastoral Letter September 3, 2017

“O Fashioner of all creation, who made seasons and years by Your own authority, bless the crown of the year with Your goodness, O Lord, and preserve our rulers and
Your city in peace, at the intercession of the Theotokos, and save us.” Hymn of the Indiction

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Tomorrow, Friday September 1st is the Feast of the Indiction. This day marks the beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year. The cycle of set feasts of the Orthodox Church Calendar begins in September and ends in August. It is a time for blessed anticipation of all celebrations, holidays and special commencements that are to come in the coming, new year. Much like the secular goals and aspirations that we contemplate on January 1st, this faith-based “re-boot” is the opportunity to take measure of our spiritual progress, maturity and walk with the Lord. It is a transition that, if utilized properly, can yield an abundance of fruits and active participation in the Kingdom of God.

We have such an opportunity before us, to enter into the new year with a heightened awareness and appreciation for the gifts we have received and the blessings to serve, and be served by the Church. For several weeks, now, your Parish Council, Capital Campaign Committee, Real Estate Committee and myself, have been communicating to you the need for us, as a community, to anticipate and respond to, the expanding needs of our Spirit-filled, Christ-centered and growing parish. Many of you, have attended our small-group gatherings in order to hear the message and receive the call to action and prayerful support. Of course, I am certain that you’ve heard this before.

About two weeks ago, everything changed, when what has been identified as an ideal property, including a functional building became available. Reasonably affordable. Prime location. Room to grow and expand our numbers and our ministries. A building and land, available for the price of what we designated for land plans for a building. What’s not to be excited about? And again, of course, I’m quite certain that you have heard this before as well. Praise God!

Now here, comes some new information: we are ready to push even harder, and push forward with even more enthusiasm, since we are beginning to gain traction in our fund raising efforts. Please meditate upon the chart that you will find in this week’s Bulletin. It is beginning to climb much more frequently than in the beginning of the summer. Next week, we will see another significant jump. As more and more people become aware of the immediacy of need, and the fact that the building seems to make more and more sense for us every day, we expect and prayerfully hope to see a newly-invigorated wave of participation. And how will we accomplish this? Well, for starters:

Every parishioner who was not able to attend one of our informational gatherings, will soon be receiving a packet of information, complete with an inspired gift from St. Anna’s and a pledge card. If you are receiving this information, please pay special attention to the information that has been prepared for your consideration.

In the next couple of week, every parishioner, if you have attended and event or not, will be receiving a phone call from our Capital Campaign Committee, asking if you have read the materials, and if you are in need of further information.

Then, we will be doing something quite significant and extremely exciting:

ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH, WE WILL CELEBRATE THE ORTHROS AND DIVINE LITURGY AT THE PROPOSED PROPERTY: THE ATRIUM RECEPTION CENTER ON 1300 EAST AND 9201 SOUTH. THE SERVICES ARE AT THE SAME TIME AS USUAL, FOLLOWED BY SUNDAY SCHOOL AND AN OPEN HOUSE, INCLUDING TOURS OF THE FACILITY, HOSTED BY YOUR CAPITAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE. COME AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES, THE RICH POTENTIAL WHICH LIES AHEAD OF US, UNTO THE SERVICE OF THE FAITHFUL AND TO THE GLORY OF GOD. ONCE AGAIN, HISTORY WILL BE MADE, AND THE NEXT, VITAL STEPS IN OUR DEVELOPMENT AS A PARISH WILL BE TAKEN. THIS WILL BE SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY.

After we have all taken the opportunity to walk the premises, pray about our commitments, consider our ability to participate and stretch our imagine our immediate and distant future, it is then, that I pray the vision will become more clear and the possibility of acquiring this space and will be designated as sacred.

This will, of course, require the participation of our entire parish. No matter how large or small the contributions, I warmly invite all of us to have an active role in the future of our St. Anna home. There is nothing that is considered too small of a contribution. To be sure, there will be some that will carry the majority of the financial weight of this challenge. Several have already emerged as leaders in this capacity. But if it is to be our home, we will only get there with 100% participation. Please approach this spiritual prospect with prayer and love.

Fantastic days lie ahead of us. Our parish exists on the simple concept that we serve, love, worship and praise our Loving God through the worship, traditions, spiritual life and Sacraments of our holy Greek Orthodox Church. Our present facilities…our blessed and amazing present facilities, are becoming increasingly too small for the needs of our growing parish. We have an opportunity to reasonably and responsibly address our ever-expanding needs. I believe the time to act is nearly upon us. Can we answer the call? I have no doubts. Good people, based on the conciliar opinions of our real estate professionals, the leadership of our community, and the growing consensus of our dedicated parishioners, this just feels so right. Please continue to pray for clarity and wisdom.

With Much Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony

Please remember that this Sunday, we will take up a special collection for the relief of Houston flood victims, per the direction of His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver. Please make your checks out to the St. Anna Benevolence/Altar Fund, and we will forward one check to the IOCC. Lord have Mercy!