Mission Annual Report January 2017
2016 MISSION PROGRAMS
Mission Fund Raisers: On February 21 the mission team hosted its annual “Soup Sunday” fundraiser. Six different soups were served (chili, avglememo, minestrone, gumbo, ham/bean, and kale/sausage/tortellini) along with a special cake made by the Szpakowicz family for the event. Parishioners were very generous with their donations. $824 was evenly divided and distributed in the accounts of the following mission participants: Mic Sloan, Hansen family, Betsanes family, Linda Kopulos, Szpakowicz family, Tsiones family. (Matt Potter, also donated a pot of soup and his time to this endeavor).
The Annual Mother’s Day Brunch (3rd one) coordinated by Lynn Betsanes on May 8 was another success with $1,005 divided among 9 mission participants who worked this event.
Mission Participants & Programs in 2016: In March, Sarah Hansen traveled to Romania with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship program where she volunteered at an orphanage. St. Luke donated toward her expenses. Sarah spoke before the parish about her experiences and thanked it for the financial assistance. Twelve individuals participated in three mission teams that went out this summer to Guatemala, New Mexico and Montana (Fr. Andrew and Emma Hansen went on two of these mission trips).
• Guatemala – The team worked at the monastery/orphanage and also with the generous donation of Vivian Tadin, was able to take the children and staff to a water park and the ocean for a day’s outing, as well as an educational program at the chocolate museum with lunch following. Joan Betsanes submitted a power point presentation on her Guatemalan experience which Fr. Paul showed at a coffee session.
In August, Fr. Andrew and Fr. Paul, at the invitation of OCMC missionary Floyd Franz, went to Romania. Fr. Paul presented “Spirituality of Addiction” and Fr. Andrew presented “Alcoholism in the Family” at a monastery. In the city of Cluj they visited a new facility for those with alcohol and substance abuse challenges and attended an Alanon and an AA meeting. They also presented two suitcases filled with toddler sweatshirts (“hoodies”) our parishioners donated to the mother/child center that Floyd’s wife directs in that city. Traveling to the city of Yash, they met Fr. Julian, Director of the Wellness Program there, and who later visited and did a slide presentation at our parish in the Fall. Their final stop was at a program for street children where they met the director who is coordinating a 2017 Romanian mission trip for us. They did second presentations on the above topics there as well. Visits to several monasteries completed their trip. The intent of this trip was for Fr. Andrew to introduce Fr. Paul to Floyd and “pass the baton” to him for further involvement. St. Luke’s Board approved payment of 50% of each mission participant’s fees. Mission participants pay the remainder through involvement in church fundraisers and personally.
In November, Fr. Andrew went to Alaska at the second invitation of OCMC missionary, Floyd Franz to present seminars on alcoholism and substance abuse. Fr. Andrew did his own fund raising for this trip. During his eight days there he and Floyd met with Bishop David, presented before the two day diocesan assembly (“Addiction in the Family”) and spoke extemporaneously on the subject as well. Later at the Cathedral in Anchorage they met with a Diocesan Council that is setting up a wellness program to address addictions in the villages. The goal is to set up a permanent facility. In Kodiak Fr. Andrew presented on the same topic (see above) along with Floyd and also had the opportunity to meet with former OCMC missionary Fr. David Rucker, now teaching at the seminary there. Matushka Rucker took them on a tour of asocial service facility she counsels with for those in abusive relationships.
IOCC (INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES)
IOCC Chicago Fundraiser Banquet: May 12 - Eleven from our parish attended the IOCC Chicago Fundraiser Banquet in Des Plaines. The church purchased the table and designated one of our monthly charity collections for IOCC.
X-Treme Leadership Conference: Nicole Szpakowicz was nominated by our parish and Bp. Paul as the OCA Diocese of the Midwest delegate to IOCC’s X-Treme Leadership Conference in Minneapolis. She spent the week of July 30 – August 6 with teens throughout the country. Our church paid $100 toward this program with IOCC paying all other expenses. Nicole was “bubbling over” with emotion about her experience and said of all the Orthodox youth activities she had been in (OCA MIDWEST DIOCESE SUMMER camp and YOCAMA) this had been the most fulfilling. She is the second from our church to attend this program.
IOCC School Kits: Teen, James Nickolau with assistance of his mother, Diane, purchased $112 worth of materials (with Luba Johnson donating a lot of supplies) for school kits which were assembled by our teens this past month and sent to IOCC for distribution to targeted areas (i.e. Syria, Iraq). James will be coordinating health kits during Lent 2017 for IOCC distribution.
OTHER MISSION EVENTS
Chicago Benefit Dinner: On March 10, 13 members of St. Luke attended the 19th Annual Mission Team Chicago Benefit Dinner for OCMC – the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. Very Reverend Doctor Chad Hatfield, Chancellor, CEO & Professor of Missiology at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary was the keynote speaker. Angela and Jonathan Tatooles, Stea Zekios and Maria Vrame volunteered as servers at the dinner. St. Luke paid for the table of 10.
St. Nicholas Uganda Children’s Fund: On May 15 – Peter and & Sharon George directors of St. Nicholas Uganda Children’s Fund did a presentation during coffee session on their ministry. A free will offering was made to them afterwards, and several parishioners are now providing monthly support for children in this program as well. The Council designated one of the monthly charity offers for them.
2015 Follow-up to Ukraine Program by Daniel Lynch: Daniel submitted a lengthy report on his involvement in a Ukraine orphanage his sister was adopted from. Our parish assisted Daniel in his fundraising endeavor toward this mission. 2017 MISSION PROGRAMS
March 3 – 10, 2017 our first mission team will travel to Guatemala, spending part of the time at San Miguel del Lago, home of the Orthodox monastery we have been going to on trips this past year. We will work at the monastery and with those children that were moved back to the inner city Hogar Rafael Ayau orphanage. The second part of the program will be with First Things Foundation. Orthodox Christian and founder/director of First Things Foundation, John Heers, has invited us to work with his group in the NW highlands of Guatemala where there is a group of Russian physicians who have built a clinic for the Mayan villages. In addition to painting, and basic construction work on the clinic two of our team members (physicians from a Florida OCA parish on our team) will assist at the clinic. Others of us will be involved with the village children.
A summer trip to Romania is “a work in progress with a date to be announced. YOCAMA programs in Montana and New Mexico are other options, along with an IOCC domestic program not yet decided on.