Lay Chairperson Report - January 2005
Submitted by Lee Kopulos
I constantly marvel at the solid effort put forth by our Board Members who head ministries as well as our parishioners who take that extra care for their Church. Everyone is interested in making God’s home a good home for His people. The parish exists for one reason - to be the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ. Therefore, the Church has a mission, one mission, to be complete and whole (Catholic) and to do His work (Apostolic) according to His word. The Great Commission is His word, given by our Lord & Savior, and summarizes our purpose for a life in Christ, "Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt; 28; 19-20). We have much for which to be thankful. But there is much more to do if we are to live up to Christ’s directive.
But this year was very exciting and fully packed with evangelism and hospitality opportunities that the Lord gave us to go along with our very Special 20th Year Anniversary Celebration. The Lord pushed us to live up to His Great Commission and, needless to say, we did our best to live up to Him!
Two real challenges this year
St. Mary’s. I must say that St. Luke Parish had a very special highlight and somewhat unusual opportunity and challenge this past year. This was the challenge we took on ourselves of hosting, parenting and/or mentoring the new Parish of St.Mary’s (Antiochain Archdiocese). And, we offered our hospitality to them without reservation for as long as it would take them to find a permanent location. We proved to be true evangelists and pan-Orthodox by giving our parish buildings and worship facilities to help build up the body of Christ within the Orthodox Arabic speaking community. Our roots as a missionary parish served us well in taking on St. Mary’s large congregation of over 200 adults and 70 children. Now they are in a new location having all the elements for success. What a marvelous experience! Thank you, O’Lord!
<India Trip. The second very important and exciting challenge for the year was to make sure that Father Andrew and Pat got off to India for their one month tour without a hitch. Well, the Lord was with us on this one as we raised the $7,500 needed and sent them off with a prayer for a safe return. Fr. Howard Sloan became the interim priest and the parish ran smoothly. Soon Father and Pat returned with a wealth of stories. This put an "Amen" to another Saint Lukian evangelism event.
The Ministry Teams, here are some of the happenings in ‘04:
Team Leader Aristea Zekios and Church School staff placed a real exclamation mark on their program by offering Vacation Church School, publishing a curriculum summary, providing a Fall Parents’ Newsletter and hosting an Open House for the Parents. They also held deanery teachers’ workshop last February.
Bulletin Boards Group has enhanced our look in the hallways with beautiful pictorial displays of our special events;
Movie Club had many viewings but highlighted by "The Passion of Christ" movie and discussion;
YO had a very successful Hot Dog/Ice Cream Social to benefit the milk/biscuit program in Calcutta, India collecting $435 and a Christmas Tree Ornament sale to benefit the OCA Christmas stocking program.
Team leader Mike Bauml and his team along with Maintenance minister Nick Lisowski have done wonders inside and around the building. Having a brand new building to learn about and keep up, a second congregation (St. Mary’s) to keep safe and secure, a new sacristy to build and the finishing touches to the choir loft is a lot in any one year! All these were accomplished with professional precision. Thanks to all the ministers in this very large and on-going group!
Team leader Sue Lisowski had a number of wonderful events to plan for in ’04. Our 20th Anniversary Celebration proved to be the highlight of the year. Luba Johnson, Diane Wilczak and George Poulos did a grand job in putting this timely and memorable event in order. The successfully Annual Picnic started with an outdoor liturgy celebrated by Archbishop Job. Third, was our "Mission Send-Off Pot Luck Dinner" for Team Chicago, a group of missionary adults going out to the "unknown" with our Fr. Andrew and Pat going to India. A special blessing for missionaries was served by Archbishop Job.
George Poulos and his team developed a new Church Brochure which has been formatted and printed in color. It presents a more in-depth view of our parish for newcomers. Caye Caswick planned the annual all day 9/11 Prayer Memorial for the Palos Community. Our Parish did its job of annual Charity collections as we supported regular and new programs: the Evergreen food pantry; the winter coats distribution; Christmas gifts for the poor; pregnancy assistance program support (PASS) and the big support financially for Fr. Andrew and Pat’s month-long trip to India.
Financial Reports. You should all know of the fine accounting and financial record keeping that Bob Zubenko has done during this past year. I have always said this is the most difficult job in the Church. Bob has done a masterful job in every respect. Make sure you thank him for his devotion to the job and timely bill paying and reporting!
What’s the Challenge Next Year - ’05 ?
Here are a few ideas and needs for next year:
1) Community Night. We need to build a better sense of community even though we are a commuter church. In this connection, I recommend that Wednesday be Community Night at the Church where anyone can come to do his/her ministry work, have a ministry meeting or join the evangelism meeting. The hours that the building would be open are 5 pm thru 8pm.
2) Back-up Computer. The parish needs to have a computer at the Church for back-up in case something happens to the ones that the Council members and Fr. Andrew operate at their offices/homes away from the Church. All good organizations have a back-up computer. We have been remiss in not installing one sooner.
3) Congregation Study. There are a number of congregational studies for Church Development that can help us discover and enhance our weaknesses. This will help us build a better evangelism effort which results in increased spiritual blessings. We have a lot of room in our class rooms. How do we better attract more souls and fill our classrooms with children, too?
4) Hands on Charity. We do our fair share of charity but we could do more and must according to Matt 25: 31-46. I discovered a new way of feeding the hungry. It can be done without a kitchen or feeding area. The concept utilizes mobile catering and a whole program can be done rather inexpensively from St. Luke’s to the local poor neighborhood. The program could be a cooperative of a number of Orthodox Churches. We really need to get this kind of program of grass-roots hospitality going.
5) Part-Time Custodian. There appears to be a need for a custodian. This once-a-week job would help greatly in cleaning, organizing, receiving and repairing small, but important, details which our property team and other ministry teams cannot tackle due to time constraints.
We all look forward to another great year in the Lord. The entire Council thanks everyone for their attention to God’s Church. We wish everyone a good and healthy New Year.