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Outreach & Evangelism Report Annual Meeting January 2011

Prepared by Lee Kopulos, Chairperson

“We are the Church of Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the Martyrs!”

Our evangelism and outreach program this year centered on two important aspects of Christian life: First and foremost is the fact that we must be faithful to the Apostolic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the Martyrs. We gain and enhance our faith through our Bible Study program which has just completed its 4th year. Second, we get inspired to do God’s work when we participate in the annual Missions & Evangelism Conference. All our studies are centered on discovering one’s spiritual gifts and using them for the benefit of Christ’s Church. Of course, there is no better example of using your gifts then our patron St. Luke who had many gifts and extraordinary qualities as a healer, historian, evangelist with St. Paul and iconographer.

Formation and Struggles, The Birth of the Church AD 33- 200 This book covered the years after the resurrection centering on the early church and its experience with the Roman Empire and its cult of the emperor. Included in this study was: The Birth and Expansion of the Church beyond Jerusalem, Religious Syncretism, St. Paul’s missionary work, the Jewish –Roman Wars and the Rift between Christians and Jews, the new Christian centers – Rome, Antioch and Alexandria. Persecution & Martyrdom, The Christian Apologists and the Saints who began the development of church doctrine in response to Gnosticism and other forms of erroneous thinking. The martyrdom of Justin and Polycarp are highlighted. In the second century St. Justin, considered the foremost Apologist, along with Athenagoras of Athens, Theophilus of Antioch, Origen of Alexandria and Tertullian along with St.Irenaeus and St. Clement. The text was supplemented with excerpts from the Didache and Apophatic theology found in Timothy Ware’s text on church history. The basic elements in the Orthodox doctrine of God are:
1. God is absolutely transcendent (The essence and energies distinction of God)
2. God is not cut off from the world that he made
3. God is personal, Trinitarian
4. Our God is an incarnate God

The Mission & Evangelism Conference
Five of our parishioners made the trip to Grand Rapids, Mi. at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church. The speakers were headed by Fr. Peter Gillquist and Dn. Michael Hyatt (President /CEO Thomas Nelson Publishers). The conference centered on the work of the Holy Spirit in the individual and the church:
• No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit
• There are diversities of the Gifts but the same Holy Spirit
• There are differences in ministries but the same Lord

There is one body and one spirit in the church. Gifts for leading the church and equipping the laity for its work are listed in Ephesians 4: 11-16.

Greeter Program – our Patron is St. Sampson 6th Century master of Hospitality
We have 12 very faithful Greeters in 6 teams. We thank all of them for their fine service. They all make that important first impression and helpful assistance for the first time new guest. Next year we will begin training our young high school people to be Greeters, too.

Visitors and Guests,br /> The US economy is still suspect with job loss still a big problem, Income woes and now increased taxation will continue to be a problem for our people. Perhaps this is the reason for rather low numbers of new visitor/guests over the past two years as below:
‘10 ‘09 ‘08 ‘07 ‘06
Total Guests 28 27 44 43 53

Finally, we urge everyone to begin thinking and praying about coming out to our Bible Study program on Wednesday nights. The material is good, but the discussion is best!!! We will be studying a set of the Catholic Epistles in the spring meeting which center on how Christians should act in this world.

“Constant pondering of the Holy Scriptures will always fill the soul with incomprehensible wonder and joy in God” - Isaac the Syrian