Lay Chairperson Report - January 2009
Submitted by Steve Hansen
St. Luke Orthodox Church has experienced many changes in 2008 including a new Parish Council with several first-time members. I believe that all members of the council have been diligent in fulfilling the responsibilities they took on when accepting their individual positions. All of the team leaders have done a great job in 2008 of managing the needs of the Church and parishioners.
We lost Philip Neznanov from the Property Team and we wish him well in his move to Palatine. Mike Bauml was appointed to complete Phil’s term and has jumped in with much vigor. Mike has completed many projects in a very short time and has many more in progress at this time. The retaining wall and landscaping were completed, new heaters were installed in the bell tower stairwell, and the parking lot and new sign are in progress to name a few. Thanks to Mike for accepting the appointment and continuing to work tirelessly as always.
Greg Wassilkowsky has been working on a new cellular contract that should bring in an additional $32,000.00 annually. The cellular towers have allowed us to pay for the mortgage on our new building, and then some. Thanks to Greg for his hard work.
George Evangelopoulos has lent his time and expertise on several of the recent building projects. We thank you for your help.
The Quad Parish Picnic was an event to remember this year. The monsoon rolled in just as the food was being served. I’m sure that even though many of the planned activities had to be cancelled, everyone will remember the picnic of 2008.
Father Andrew celebrated 40 years as a Priest in July at Nikos Restaurant. Congratulations!
We celebrated the New Year and St. Luke’s 25-year anniversary recently with entertainment provided by the St. Luke Band and others.
Several outings were planned by the Restaurant Rovers and were well attended. It was nice to see everyone get together for some fellowship outside of the Church. Thanks to Luba and her team for their continued hard work.
Our Sunday school program is blossoming in our new facility. I believe that it is clearly one of our strengths as evidenced by the increase in the number of children attending Church in 2008. The attendance figures for 2008 show an increase in 10 souls per week (2 Adults, 8 Children). I feel that the increase in young families adds to the vibrancy of the Orthodox experience at St. Luke.
Else Tennessen is rejuvenating the School of the Seventy. Hopefully, more of us will take advantage of the opportunity.
We partnered with St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church for the Olympics late last spring and had a great turnout of participants.
We have great deal of involvement in the community and beyond considering the size of our Parish. We have the PADS program, the Christmas toy drive, the coat drive, involvement with PASS, and our monthly charity collection, to name a few.
This year’s 9/11 program was another success and continues to bring out the patriotism in everybody. It is a nice tribute every year and reminds us all of the fragile nature of our society.
We had a couple of parishioners experience travel abroad doing mission work as Clark Wilson went to Tanzania and Allison Murphy accompanied Father Andrew to Romania.
In a time when our economy is suffering, stores are closing, people are losing jobs, and 401K’s are not what they used to be, our financial situation currently is doing very well. Our proposed budget for 2009 is up almost $20,000.00 with an increase in pledges of almost $15,000.00.
We are also in position to pay off our mortgage in as little as five years because of the tower income that we were blessed with. As evidenced in 2008, things can change very quickly. I feel strongly that we should continue to contribute additional funds to buy back bonds in an effort to shorten our mortgage when possible.
While our Church has grown over the past 12 months, we need to continue to be conscious of the needs of our fellow parishioners, continue to be welcoming to our guests, and continue to be visible in our community. For if we become complacent, we may end up like the servant who received one talent and buried it in the ground. We have been blessed with many gifts. Therefore, we need to determine how to best use our resources to ensure the viability of St. Luke. We want to continue to grow so that others may come and experience worship in the Orthodox Church.
Our strategic planning for the coming years becomes increasingly important as Father Andrew draws nearer to retirement and our mortgage dwindles. Assuming that the tower income continues, we will have many opportunities in the near future to put our talents to work in the name of Jesus Christ.