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Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message September 27, 2020

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Indeed, we can all relate to the words of our hobbit friend. The past several months have been burdensome and difficult. They have brought out the best in us, and regrettably, perhaps the worst in us as well, at least fleetingly. But no matter, the good Lord has directed our steps, inspired us to find solutions to problems and strengthened us to endure tribulation, illness, financial stress and uncertainty.

I’ve missed seeing you all at the level of which we are accustomed. And I look forward to the day things are normalized, and we can emerge victoriously and peacefully from the rubble of a down-trodden pandemic.

But actually I write this message with hope, anticipation and good will. For sure, our day to day lives are still governed in many ways by coronavirus. But you know what? At church, we have made many strides in pushing forward.

Our Young Adults came together just last week and enjoyed the first (and I mean very first) social gathering on the lovely grounds of our church, since we purchased the property and moved in.

Sunday School will begin soon. This Sunday, our parents will meet after the Divine Liturgy to have the program unveiled and learn about the new and exciting direction we have taken during our continuing restrictions and circumstances. But again, I repeat – Sunday School is starting! This is nothing but a positive move and I pray our children and their families participate with enthusiasm and support. It will be worth it.

Our children and Sunday School families are not the only parishioners who will enjoy a revived religious education program. In mid-October, our Orthodox Inquirer’s Class and Bible Studies will also resume.

Both the Bible Study and Orthodoxy classes will be taught in-person and using Zoom. So please, I invite you all to participate in one or both learning opportunities.

Wednesday Evening Bible Study will explore a part of the Bible that is new to our class – The Old Testament. I look forward to sharing with you the works of the greatest apocryphal writers of the OT in Daniel, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  Primarily, we will be studying the Book of Daniel, but that would be nearly impossible without referencing the other two. Please join us! More detailed information will follow.

I will be sending Zoom links to my Summer Bible Study list, so need to contact me if you were participating. But if you wish to join us via Zoom, please email me and I’ll add you to the list. In order to protect the Zoom experience, I will only send invites to people I actually know.

As for the Inquirer’s Class, we will be moving weekly Paraklesis Services to 6:30 pm and conducting the class from 7:30 to 9:00 pm on Thursday evenings. Who among us has learned all there is to know about our precious Orthodox Faith. None of us. So since it will be easy to Zoom in, please consider this lovely refresher course.

And as I always mention, please share this class with any of your friends, family, co-workers or neighbors who can benefit from the salvific message of the Gospel, the Church and our Lord Jesus Christ. Please, take the time to pray about who in your life would be inspired to learn of our Faith.

St. Anna Men’s and Women’s Ministries have been actively serving our parish, parishioners and the greater community throughout the pandemic and will continue to make a positive impact on those within and outside our direct purview.

Our GOYA calendar is finally beginning to take shape, and more active youth ministries are also directly around the bend.

So I’m putting it out there once again – there is allot going on and we are beginning to look and feel like a Greek Orthodox parish once again. Thank God!!!

Are you ready to get involved once again? Are you ready to return to worship. Remember, we safely have room for 100 people now. Are you ready to participate regularly in the active life of your St. Anna parish? At this time, the table is set for worship and ministry, as much as we can anyway. There is more and more going on, and my every intention is to serve your spiritual needs while glorifying and giving thanks to our Creator.

Yes it’s true. Things still look and feel differently. But honestly, not quite as much as before. Come for Liturgy. Grow with Sunday School. Become enriched with a class.

This is your parish. It’s here for you. As long as we continue to congregate with proper social distancing and other safety measures, we are confident that we will continue to build upon our vibrant parish life.

We wish these things had not happened in our time. We did not ask for these things. All we can do is make the best of our situation. God forbid I paraphrase Tolkien, but that’s pretty much the gist.

With Much Love in XC,

Fr. Anthony Savas