Good Afternoon, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
I pray you are well, and that your spirits are full of the calm and peace of Jesus Christ. I look forward to the next opportunity to be with you, praying together in the church building that we worked so hard to acquire to the glory of God. Though I am still awaiting the results of my coronavirus test, I am confident in a negative result and fully expect to resume active ministry on June 25th. Please continue to pray for the welfare and good health of all who have suffered under the presence of this biological menace.
This Sunday is Father’s Day and I am pleased to share that the church will be open for live worship! The Orthros will begin at 9:00 am followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 am. Due to my continued quarantine, there will be no weekday services until after my first Sunday back in church. I am sorry for that great inconvenience. But we must all pray for the time when this is behind us.
Having been touched by the realities of coronavirus, institutionally and personally, I have gained a great sense of humility and helplessness against a force that is much greater than all of out control. We can take precautions, follow guidelines, create procedures and live life through vigilance. We can’t stop the spread. But we need to do all we can to mitigate it.
Therefore, through the direction of our parish council, and with my full, enthusiastic support, we have upgraded out mask policy at the church:Beginning with Sunday’s services, the wearing of a face mask is required to enter the building.
We are not the first Greek Orthodox Church to make face coverings necessary, and I’m sure we will not be the last. But more and more organizations are tightening this restriction rather than loosening. it. Though I shouldn’t need to say this, I feel compelled to anyway: this is not a political statement.
This has nothing to do with party affiliations, political philosophies, Constitutional interpretations or anything other than our desire to create the safest environment possible, so people are free to worship at ease, and with confidence that we take the spread of coronavirus seriously.
Two weeks ago, we opened the church, and right off the bat we had a positive case of the virus at church. Had we not responsibly acted on safety measures, and had there not been a 100% compliance with our face mask request, perhaps our benign outcome would have been disastrously altered. It makes full sense to look out for each other, respect our mutual desire for wellness and dawn a mask for a couple hours.
Our community was established through positive energy, selfless sacrifice, a familial sense of community, the prayers of St. Anna, our protector and, and through the creative hand of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us continue on this same path, walking together (six feet apart, of course) and moving collectively to the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.
To all of our dads, grandfathers and godfathers, I pray fervently for you and the families who will honor you. I welcome Fr. Nicholas Andruchow as our celebrant on Sunday, June 21st, and thank him for not allowing us to suffer another Sunday without a St. Anna Divine Liturgy. I, like many of you, will be worshiping at St. Anna’s through my computer. I find that a blessing, in that it will give me a more intimate exposure to your own liturgical experience, and will undoubtedly help me improve our live streaming process.
God Bless and Be Well!
With Much Love in XC,
Fr. Anthony Savas
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I trust and pray that you are all well. As we are moving quickly towards the date of opening our Sanctuary to live participation in worship,
I invite you to open the following link that will allow you to watch an instructional video that will welcome you back to the church.
If you are planning an immediate return to worship, or waiting a bit longer, please watch this video; lovingly prepared by the youth of our parish.
I want to thank Kennedy Carrera most especially for all of her hard work and creativity in producing this video.
Please continue to send in your email addresses to me if you plan on joining our Bible Study, beginning Next Wednesday Night at 7:00 via Zoom. I’ll be sending out the invite shortly.
Also, please be reminded that our GOYA Forum on Racism will be held next Tuesday Evening at 7:00, also on Zoom. That invite is soon to be sent out as well. For security reasons, I only send the invite to those who request it.
If you are not planning on attending services this Sunday, please be sure to livestream as we will be honoring our Sunday School Graduates following the Divine Liturgy.
Really, that’s it for me tonight. I’m not going to take much of your time by reading what I have to write. Rather, please watch and listen to what our children have to say about coming back to church!
God Bless! See you Sunday (at least up to around 90 of you)!
Much Love in Christ,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s been said that The Nativity of Christ is God with us. The Wood of the Cross is God for us. The Feast of Pentecost is God within us.
Indeed, these are simple, theological statements, but they are also very true. The events in Bethlehem prove that the Incarnate God had chosen to live with, and minister to humankind. The events of the Crucifixion are witness to God’s unyielding love for his fallen creation. And though Pentecost does not take place until next Sunday, I am reminding you now, that this great Feast is nothing short of God taking up permanent residence in the bodies and souls of the Christian Faithful. As the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we become consecrated vessels, living temples and hallowed beings.
We have one more week before this wondrous miracle is made manifest and becomes a new reality in the continuous cycle of our liturgical life. Please use this week in prayer and preparation. To be sure, we have much to prepare for, and pray about.
Sunday, June 7th, the Day of Pentecost is the first day in two months that you are welcome to return to church and worship with your fellow St. Anna Parishioners. Are you ready? Are you prepared? If you are, that is fantastic and I can’t wait to see you. If you still feel uneasy about venturing out, please be reminded that there is no judgment against anyone moving at a slower pace. St. Anna’s will be there, waiting for you when you prayerfully decide to put away your dress sweats and fancy bathrobes, and actually come to a service!
I’m sending these reminders a week early so you can mark your calendars and get your self prepared. We have everything arranged for your return. While the sanctuary will look very different from the last time you were present, with chairs removed, directional decals on the floor and signs posted inside and out, the familiarity of the home you acquired will cover you like a warm blanket.
We have space for approximately 86 people, since we have expanded the sanctuary to include the over-flow space behind the barn doors. I have not devised a system to have you sign up because based on my conversations with you, there are quite a few families who are waiting a bit longer to return. Never the less, I am praying that I’ll see 86 of you next Sunday.
When you come, please be courteous to your fellow Christians and wear a face mask. Are we requiring the use of a mask? No. Are we strongly encouraging you to do the right, thing, use common sense and do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus, and anything else that may come from an errant sneeze or cough? Yes. Yes, we are.
The following Tuesday, June 9th will be our first service celebrated for parishioners who are at least 65. Liturgy only – at 9:00 am. Please enjoy the extra measure of safety that has been prepared for you.
And as another reminder, starting next week (NOT this week) the Paraklesis Service is being moved to Thursday evenings and you are also welcome and encouraged to come to the church for that service.
Starting the second week of June, I am going to start a Bible Study on Wednesday Evenings at 7:00 via Zoom. Please email me if you are interested in participating and I will send you the link. We will study points of Scripture that speak to calamity and distress. These times have been challenging and difficult. The Bible has much to say to comfort, guide and ground us. I’ve enjoyed my preparations for this Bible Study. It has given me much comfort already.
I hope to see more of you tomorrow, with your families to receive Holy Communion tomorrow after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you as soon as possible,
With Much Love in Christ,