Outreach & Evangelism Report Annual Meeting January 2004
Prepared by Lee Kopulos, Chairperson
The Process of calling all to Salvation
"through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ. - (Rom. 1:5-6)
All people are called by Christ to join His Church as His Apostles. As His Apostles we are members of His body and charged the awesome responsibility of preaching repentance, baptizing and teaching His Commandments (Matt:28:10-20). In the Book of Acts 1:8, " you shall be witnesses to Me..." In James 1:22-23, " but be doers of the word and not just hearers only." And finally, in the Book of Acts, we are instructed that salvation is in the name of Christ alone, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts4:12)
We have mentioned many times in these annual reports that the process of calling all to salvation is each member’s responsibility. It is simply a matter of sharing your Christian Faith. You can open your mouth to someone or write a note or give them a piece of that fine literature we have available in the pamphlet racks. The message is to be taken to your FRIENDS, RELATIVES, ASSOCIATES and/OR NEIGHBORS. We have coined this effort, the process of St. FRAN. Here is how to get started:
1). List your St. FRAN people;
2003 in Review - The "Teaching All Nations" Program
The 2003 plan sought to continue to penetrate all areas and functions of the Church with the Gospel message of being a "Witness for Christ", be it the Ministry of Education, Community or Property. In Education as an example, we used the theme of "Teaching All Nations" a program which highlighted the missionizing of all the various Orthodox countries,ie, Albania, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Romania and Russia. Each adult parishioner presented his country and ancestry in terms of their founding Saints and heritage using maps, dress, artifacts and foods. All Church School classes and adults attended these fine presentations in the Fellowship Hall after Liturgy.
The 9/11 Memorial Service
This is St. Luke’s special annual prayer-filled event in commemoration of those Americans lost in the terrorism of 9/11. Last year over 300 locals came to St. Luke in honor of the dead and to pray in the morning, noon or evening. This year we had Bishop Job and Fr. Andrew hold an evening service. Local Police, Fire and Administrative officials were invited.
Our Parish was honored last year by the Mayor of New York City who presented us with a relic in the form of an I Beam. This beam has been made into a candle stand for veneration in the Narthex of the Church.
St. Luke Forum
This year’s program at Moraine Valley C.C. featured a presentation on Christianity and Islam by Dr. Harry Boosalis, St. Tikhon’s Seminary. Unfortunately, this program was not well received. Very few locals came out to hear the discussion. It was not what we had hoped for given the issue which is a very large one here in America.
New Parish Brochure
We are just about ready to go to press with this all encompassing brochure on the Church.
George Poulos is putting his final touches on the picture, color combinations and art forms. It will be a St. Luke specific outreach pamphlet for evangelism.
The Greeter Program
This program has been in existence for all the now 20 years of our existence as a Parish. It has gotten refined and changed as we have grown from mission status to Church. We take pride in welcoming our guest and serving the Parish during and after Divine Liturgy. Our staff of 12 Greeter is now rising to 14 with the addition of June Anderson and Barbara Zerlentes who are now in training this year.
It was good, average year in terms of the number of guests received as noted below. Last year was a record year even after excluding the 300 on 9/11. At St. Luke’s we welcome guests, introduce them to our community at Fellowship and follow-up with a written note and telephone call after the visit. Here is a summary of the past 5 years:
St. Luke Guests - 5 years
Qtr 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999
Mar. 5 15 21 26 14
June 22 6 5 11 16
Sept. 5 38 20 8 15
Dec. 31 31 13 17 15
Total 63 90 59 62 60
Last year we added 16 new members to our Church. This year a total of 9 new members have been welcomed. We now serve a total of 194 adults and children as of July, 2003.
We pray that through the intercession of our Patron St. Luke and the blessing of our Savior Jesus Christ, we will continue to obey His word and be formed into "an icon of an American Orthodox Christian Church".