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Outreach & Evangelism Report Annual Meeting January 2008

Prepared by Lee Kopulos, Chairperson

Jesus Christ instructed us to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…teaching them,” and He promised that as we did this He would be with us “always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19). This discipleship includes both “inreach” and “outreach.”

Inreach involves developing and nurturing the God-given talents of the faithful. In the past few years efforts to accomplish this have included:

• The Purpose-Driven Life (PDL). Discovering one’s God-given talent is the major theme in the PDL books and videos prepared by author and pastor, Rick Warren. Over the past three years several parishioners and Orthodox people from other churches met at parishioners’ homes on Friday evenings in time-blocks of several weeks. Attendees viewed PDL videos and discussed them to learn how to discern God’s purpose for a person’s life. This activity not only strengthened relationships among St. Luke parishioners that attended, but also developed friendships with other Orthodox Christian participants from nearby parishes.
• Pulpit Instruction. Fr. Andrew presented 12 sermons that covered “Basics of the Faith.” Handouts were provided for further reflection.
• Missions & Evangelism Conference. This is an annual Labor-Day-weekend event sponsored by the Antiochian Archdiocese. In 2007 Fr. Andrew, Lee, and four other St. Luke parishioners attended this 3-day seminar at Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania. Our parish paid half of each attendee’s conference fee and provided transportation. Over 70 Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox seekers were present at the conference. During this time Fr. Andrew also served the Divine Liturgy for the 2007 opening of the Orthodox Campus Fellowship (OCF) meetings at Pennsylvania State University.
• Understanding and Conveying American Orthodoxy. This 16-week spring/summer course focused on the positives and negatives of interacting with Orthodox seekers, converts, “retreads,” and “reverts.” Course materials were based on the book, One Flew Over the Onion Dome, by Fr. Joseph Honeycutt. Various Orthodox Christian converts’ personal testimonies, both on video and in print, were also evaluated and discussed.
• Conciliar Press Booklets. These free-of-charge and numerous booklets are on display in both the narthex and fellowship hall. Each booklet provides a short, thorough explanation of an aspect of the Orthodox faith. Everyone at St. Luke should read them, discuss them with fellow parishioners, and pass them on to other people.

Outreach engages each Orthodox person in the sharing of his or her faith. It is the responsibility of all parish members to seek, inform, and encourage relatives, friends, associates, and neighbors to learn about Orthodoxy. As Fr. Honeycutt says, “You cannot add Orthodoxy to Christianity. Rather Orthodoxy is Christianity. We shouldn’t beat others over the head with this fact. But we should never shy away from it.” While not everyone can be a noticeable evangelist, all of us can do something to take the message of the Gospel to relatives, friends, associates, and neighbors. Outreach activities at St. Luke that are especially geared toward non-parishioners include:

• Greeter Program. Visitors are welcomed in the narthex each Sunday as they arrive for the Divine Liturgy.
• Guest Direct-Mail Program. Information cards that visitors fill out are passed on to Fr. Andrew, and visitors are personally contacted during the week following their visit.
• St. Luke Website (www.stlukeorthodox.com). Many people have found out about us on our website (see Website report below).
• Bible Study Sessions. These are for anyone who would like to attend. So come and bring your relatives, friends, associates, and neighbors. Everyone gains from Bible study.

Many people have visited St. Luke parish over the past five years as the following table shows:

Quarter 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003

Jan – Mar 14 18 9 30
5 Apr – Jun 12 13 4 12 22
Jul – Sep 9 12 14 13 5
Oct – Dec 8 10 8 17 31

TOTALS 43 53 35 72 63

The current number of St. Luke parishioners and adherents totals over 200 adults and children. Recently we have been receiving many young married couples with children. (We pray for many, many more!!!).

One final note: While St. Luke parishioners are very hospitable and good with guests, please be advised to say the following when encountering a new guest: “Hi! I am Mary [or Peter]. I don’t think I have met you yet.” (Lee says to always avoid saying, “Is this your first time here”?).