Pastoral Letter July 29, 2018

“And the Survey Says…”
– Steve Harvey

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Though it’s been many years since I worked as a professional in the advertising and marketing business, I still find it completely fascinating how highly effective communications can yield desired results. Before attending the Seminary, I was charged with the creating and execution of advertising campaigns for both local and national companies. People paid great sums of money for our firm to deliver targeted and measurable results for their advertising dollars spent.

But even though the movies and TV shows simply give the impression that days spent at work in an advertising agency are spent in creative bliss, catering to the whims of deep-pocketed clients, the reality is actually quite different. More time, for me, anyway, was spent in research than the actual design of a campaign.

Before an advertising can do it’s job of selling something, it must first be heard, seen, or read. And if people are going to take time out of their busy schedules to dedicated 30 seconds to your message, you better capture their attention in a hurry. And this is accomplished, only after you’ve done your homework on your audience, your product and your means of communication. Everything has to be in sync, or the message is lost in the clutter and white noise of daily living.

One of the most dependable forms of obtaining such information is the conducting of a survey. Not the kind of survey found on gameshows that are designed to entertain and get a laugh, but the data-driven, scientific, “boring” survey that requires preciseness in its creation and attention when taken. Surveys give us insights into how elections may play out (like a poll), they tell us how we feel about customer service, they provide useful information that well help with the improvement of literally every industry on the planet.

People who serve people want to know how to better serve those people. And the best way to find out how, is to ask those people.

Our St. Anna parish has embarked on just, such a process. Your Parish Council has gone through the process of creating, writing and delivering a survey to our Stewards in order to find out how best we can serve you in the capacity of planning for our future needs when it comes to a permanent church home. When properties around the Valley become available that might be attractive options for us, the Parish Council, together with the Real Estate Ministry Team, our Long Range Planning Ministry Team and the Capital Campaign Committee, needs to consider the needs, wants and climate of our parish. We need to know the individual thresh holds, limits, desires and opinions of those whom we serve. So, we sent out a survey.

If you are a Steward of St. Anna, and have filed and email address with us, you have received this survey. It will close on August 1, 2018 and I, together with the committee that created it, and the parish council who commissioned it, ask that you take the time and fill it out. It will take no more than about ten minutes. The questions are simple and they are important.

The future goals and direction of our parish require that the parish chime in on the important details where our future is concerned.

The questions are designed not to lead you down any path. Your input and your honest participation is all that is required. It is anonymous. So please don’t think someone will approach you at Sunday Fellowship and inquire about your opinion on this or that.

The conducting of this survey is the most active step we have made towards the eventual purchase of a property since last year. Knowing the most basic desires of the parish will help us to gain traction and prioritize our efforts. Seriously, please, fill out the survey.

On another point entirely, I would like to offer my sincere blessings and gratitude for all who participated in any way, in our Feast Day Celebrations this past week. Our picnic was electric. Great Vespers and the inaugural veneration of the Relic of St. Anna (please read His Eminence’s comments in the Bulletin) was an historic evening full of Grace. And the Divine Liturgy in commemoration of the Dormition of St. Anna was a blessed and inspired service; for the Relic remained for the veneration and adoration of the faithful in attendance.

We welcome Fr. Ambrose back with us, as he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy this Sunday. I will be with the participants of our Parish Fishing Trip up at Strawberry Reservoir. We will celebrate Sunday Services in the marina’s outdoor pavilion.

My final reminder is a continued call for volunteers for our Vacation Bible School. It’s right around the corner. Fun for all who participate. Fun for those who volunteer and contribute.

This has been and continues to be a very active summer for our parish and parishioners. I pray that the remaining days are filled with countless blessings and safe activities. By the time I greet you again with my Thursday/Friday message, the Fast for the Dormition of the Theotokos will have begun. Enjoy a blessed and fruitful Lent.

With Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony Please-Fill-Out-Your-Survey Savas