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Lay Chairperson Report - January 2004

Submitted by Ken Stevens

January, 2004

This October 2004, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the St. Luke Parish. For those original church pillars who are still active members of St. Luke today (namely; Andy & Sherry Chakonas, Paul and Pat Dravillas, Lee & Linda Kopulos, George & Esther Poulos, Maria Vrame, Stea & Peter Zekios), it has been a proud achievement. Kudos and blessings to these faithful parishioners, who had the dream and the energy to bring the vision for St. Luke to fruition, and have contributed unremitting efforts over the past two decades to keep our parish strong and viable. Since its establishment, new members have also contributed heart and soul to contributing and maintaining parish vision and growth. This parish has made enormous strides over the years, both spiritually and physically. As we enter the next lifecycle score, we pray for God’s continued grace, guidance and blessings.

In terms of physical growth, the new addition is now providing the much-needed facilities for education, administration , and fellowship. We have made great use of the new addition for our own purposes, and most recently, we have an opportunity to offer our space to benefit our brothers and sisters in Christ in a mission start-up endeavor. Commencing January 11, the Church of the Virgin Mary, a new Antiochian Orthodox mission, will convene services at St. Luke on Sundays at 12:30. Although the mission will have its own services, there is the possibility of combining certain services that historically have had low attendance, such as Vespers and weekday services. Another area for sharing costs and fellowship would be external activities such as workshops and retreats, further allowing both parishes to enjoy fellowship and cultural diversity along the way.

Year 2002 has also been a strengthening period for the team ministry system which was implemented at St. Luke three years ago. With ministry team leaders overseeing Education, Property, Community, and Evangelism, many sub-ministries have been established under each area, thereby sharing the goals of effectual ministry.

To this very end, one of the key goals in the current St. Luke Strategic Plan evolves around Mutual Ministry; i.e. "St. Luke will work toward becoming a place of mutual ministry in which all members are supported in fulfilling their baptismal covenant to be ministers in God’s world." Without a doubt, we must continue to emphasize the steadfast principal that ministry is the work of all the people of St. Luke. Each and every member is a minister, and must be utilized in ministries according their respective God-given spiritual gifts. The very presence of God on earth is experienced through the working of the Holy Sprit who orchestrates the life of the Church for the common purpose of restoring all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. We have an overall view of what God requires of us individually through the words of Christ Jesus:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

With a view towards that important end, previous parish surveys have consistently revealed that parishioners view the key strengths of St. Luke as profound fellowship and camaraderie, a high desire of parishioner and pastoral caring, concern and commitment, and a high level of energy/proactivity. I see no abating of these very positive strengths. Wioth God’s good grace, St. Luke will continue to grow spiritually and physically. The Parish of St. Luke is committed to pursing God’s will for the church and nurturing the spiritual lives of all who attend its services and activities. An important aspect of this is being good stewards of our human, financial, and physical resources, and leveraging our assets so as to do the most ministry possible with the resources we have.

May God’s grace and love keep us grounded as we seek His wisdom and His blessings in realizing our Vision moving forward.

All God’s Blessings,

Ken Stevens