Outreach & Evangelism Report Annual Meeting January 2009
Prepared by Lee Kopulos, Chairperson
Theme: The Importance of Christian Renewal
St. Paul’s exhorts the Romans with this truth:
“And, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that we may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans Chapter 12:2)
St. Paul, our greatest evangelist in the Church, writes to us that while we are one body in Christ, we do not have the same abilities. Since the Lord has made all of us a bit different, St. Paul encourages us to use our God-given gifts through His grace for the building up of the body of Christ. Therefore, our diverse talents need to be used in harmony with our ministries. St. Paul goes on to list some seven of them – prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving (do so liberally) and mercy (do it cheerfully). In all of this we must be affectionate to one another, steadfast in prayer and given to hospitality.
St. Luke Church exhibits much of these qualities in its people and ministries. With our love of Christ, strong faith as a group and a humble heart we have turned the corner on how faith and works go together. This is very important in our salvation for it is true that a good spirit will do good works, the will of God!!!
We know this too from St. James Chapter 2: 14-26 where he says at the end: “For as the body without spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Here is what has been accomplished this year in the evangelism corner of the Church:
1. The Greeter Program
We wish to say “Thank You” to Barbara Zerlentes who decided to “retire” this year. She has given many good years of talent and time to our program.
Our Greeter Patron Saint – St. Sampson the Hospitable.
St. Sampson the Hospitable has been named our intercessor for the Greeting program. The icon of Saint Sampson has been blessed and available for veneration close to the Candlestand. St. Sampson was a prominent physician in the 6th Century at Constantinople and gained a wonderful reputation for the care he gave everyone’s body and soul. Although a wealthy man, he gave more than medicine as he readily offered alms for the poor and words of advice and comfort to the troubled. After healing the Emperor Justinian, he declined any reward stating, “I once had plenty of silver, gold and other riches, but I gave it all away for the sake of Christ, that I may gain heavenly and eternal wealth.” He requested a home for the poor be built and Justinian agreed and put him in charge. Sampson fell asleep in the Lord in 530A.D. This Saint is a welcome addition to our Church named after another great physician and Apostle St. Luke.
2. Narthex Design and Construction
3. New Church Brochure & Welcome Packet
4. Bible Study
5. Adult Guest Visits
Here is a summary of first time guest visitors for the past 5 years: 2008 – 44 2007- 43 2006 – 53 2005 – 35 2004 – 72.
Also, the current number of adults and children we list as served is now in excess of 225 souls. We continue to attract young couples and hope and pray for more!!!
A Final Note
It is the responsibility of the laity, known as the Royal Priesthood, to encourage outsiders – friends, relatives, associates and neighbors to come and learn about the Holy Orthodox Faith. In the First Epistle written by St. Peter it says, “ But you are a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1Peter Chapter 2:9)
Fr. Joseph Huneycutt in his very popular book, “One Flew over the Onion Dome,” encourages remembering this truth:
“One thing we must not forget: Orthodoxy is Christianity….You cannot add Orthodoxy to Christianity. Rather it is Christianity. We shouldn’t beat others over the head with this fact but we should never shy away from it.”