Rectors Annual Report January 2005
By Father Andrew Harrison
Mileage - odometer reading Jan 1 2004 = 08,426
Other Activities-, Member of Lemont Clergy Association, Vice-President Orthodox Clergy Association of Chicago, Oak Forest Hospital Chaplain, Civil Air Patrol Chaplain, CAP Summer Encampment, Lemont Police Chaplain. Gave the invocation at the Middle Eastern War Memorial dedication, attended St. Vladimir’s Summer Institute, was Delegate to the National Council of Churches, and Deanery Camp Spiritual Advisor. I participated in an Ecumenical Thanksgiving service, and a Lemont nursing home service. I Hosted two OCMC Team Chicago Missionary events and did the Typica Service on Sunday afternoons for St. Mary’s Children and completed a one month long missionary trip to India.
Goal #1 - Mutual Ministry
Developing old ministries and adding new ministries is an essential dimension of our strategic plan. We now have 47 ministries. The Education team has 9 ministries. The Bulletin Board ministry was added this year. The property team has 11 ministries with one new leader. The Historian ministry is now open. The Evangelism team has 10 ministries with the Sept 11th ministry added this year. The Hines VA Hospital ministry has been closed. The Community team has 12 ministries. We added the Christmas Decoration ministry and the Bond ministry this year. We need someone to take over and develop a Children’s ministry. The liturgical team has 5 ministries which include 2 deacons, a sub-deacon, 16 readers and 25 choir members. The goal remains the same, everyone should have a ministry or be helping someone with a ministry. I am searching for ministries and people to fill them. We could use a Men’s ministry, and a Senior ministry. We do have some individuals who have several ministries. This situation can continue as long it does not become a burden. If you are a member and want to participate in a ministry or create one, just come and see me I will help you fulfill your calling.
Goal #2 - Communications
The Internet website is still expanding. We now have an online store and are developing an online Bible study. We have received our first online donation using Pay-pal. We have new members, visitors and international exposure because of the site. Will Stevens developed our second site but because of his work schedule he can no longer maintain it. I am now negotiating with the Orthodox Young Adults to take over the site and use it for mutual benefit. Through the internet weekly prayers are sent out with a Bible verse with an opportunity to respond. We need to update our e-mail list. The chat room continues each Sunday at 8PM but we very few chatters. The Evangelist newsletter has a new editor and was published four times this year. The ad book for our 20th anniversary received praises for its content. It is a shame we did not sell more advertisements. This year we have several articles in the newspaper about the Sept 11th commemoration and the 100th anniversary of the building. The calendar and Sunday bulletin provide current activities which are both posted on our website. No one should feel that they are not informed about Parish happenings although I wonder if the publications are being read.
Goal #3 - Community
Social gatherings are an important facet of a growing Church. The 20th anniversary celebration was the high point of the year. We had a number of small group fellowship activities such as the two mission team pot luck dinners, restaurant rovers and movie club plus the Annual Parish Picnic and New Years eve party. I am distressed about the poor attendance at many of these activities. This could be one reason why we have not seen our membership grow. Social functions are a way to introduce our parish to non-churched family members and friends. Next year we all have to make a concerted effort to attend these events and bring guests.
Goal #4 - Education
The importance of education is reflected in our excellent facilities. We are attracting young families with small children. The educational ministries work very diligently to offer the prescribed Orthodox curriculum A concern which needs to be addressed is the inconsistency in attendance.. The ministry needs the full cooperation of all parents to be effective. This year we added a two-part discussion with our teens on Human Sexuality, which I presented. Not all of our teens were present even though it was announced and letters were sent. We are planning a Lenten Church School Retreat this year and we hope to have full participation.
I continued prepared liturgical activities and sermons for both children and adults to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and also provide Christian answers to the moral dilemmas we face in this post-Christian culture. A new adult education class began this year concentrating on evangelism. This will continue and be expanded into an adult guided reading program which will lead to a title of Catechist. (Teacher of Orthodoxy) I published a new expanded Divine Liturgy book with instructions, guidelines, and a suggested dress code. Parents should go over these instructions with their children. New books for the Nativity and Theophany Services have also been printed. Next year I am planning to have a book for the Paschal Vigil and Divine Liturgy. I am always open to your suggestions about educational needs and sermons.
Goal #5 - Building and Grounds
Last year we finished the sacristy, choir room, bell tower stained glass windows, and memorial garden. With these projects completed we have finished our expansion. We still have problems with our leaky old basement. Our needs for the future will be related to the needs as we expand parish activities. We do need a new church computer and a candle sand box for the narthex. Our new audio system should be completed soon. I am still in contact with officials in the Forest Preserve and am hopeful that we can come to some agreement about the use of our parking lot and the sledding in the winter.
Goal #6 - Outreach, In-reach and Evangelism
The list of activities under other activities described above show my involvement in this goal. The two activities which stand out for me over the past year were the role St. Luke played in the founding of St. Mary’s Antiocian parish and the support of the Orthodox Church in India. If we added up the numbers, we helped over 600 Orthodox Christians.
As far as parish membership, we are reporting 105 members but in actuality when this report was written we have 89. We have some members who did not renew their membership as yet and others that were listed as members but do not attend or support the parish. We still have a number of college students who should be on the roster but have not turned in their Estimate of Giving cards. An effort was made to include them in our membership.
On January 25th I turned 65 years of age. I reported to the Parish Council that at this time I do not have any plans to retire. That could change at any time. I asked the Parish Council to set up a committee to draw up a plan in case, either through sickness or retirement, I would need to be replaced. Ken Stevens will head the committee and I plan to work with the committee to insure that the replacement that may be selected, in case the need should arise, will continue to build upon the work of the past rectors. I commend all members of the Parish Council for their diligent commitment to the Lord’s work. Please read all the reports as they describe the excellent work of council members and ministry leaders. My concern, looking over the parish, including membership, attendance at Liturgy, Church School and fellowship activities, is that we may have reached a plateau and we need to take the steps necessary so that we do not lapse into decline.