Rectors Annual Report January 2010
By Father Andrew Harrison
Other Activities - Member of Orthodox Christian Clergy Association -on the Sanctity of Life committee and attended a seminar on Suicide prevention, Lemont Clergy Association- Ecumenical Thanksgiving service and had services at the Lemont senior care facility, Lemont Police Chaplain-gave invocation at ground breaking ceremony for new police station. Civil Air Patrol Chaplain-monthly moral leadership classes and gave the invocation at the Middle Eastern War Memorial, Monthly ministry to the mentally challenged at the Garden Center. Alcoholics Anonymous meeting Liaison, PADS Volunteer.
This has been a difficult year for me and for St. Luke Parish as I celebrate my 70th birthday. To participate in the funerals of Archbishop Job and celebrate the funerals of Sub Dn John Verderber, Julia Koclanas, Lisa Covington and Tom Zerlentes all younger than myself brings to mind that we are only travelers in this life and are preparing for the life to come. Joe Kopcha who had been in the VA long term care facility also departed this life.
St. Luke parish has been my longest Pastorate. I am now beginning my 14th year. These 14 years have been a time of growth and development. The parish has grown from a mission to a fully established parish with excellent facilities, solid financial stability with a mortgage that will be paid up in a few years, full liturgical life, expanding church school program, active council and ministry leaders and a congregation which supports the ministries with their time, talent and means. We continue to grow in membership replacing those who have passed on or moved away. The number of children attending is a great joy for me realizing that the first babies I baptized and are now teenagers. Under the leadership of Steve Hansen the reports of the council and ministry teams reveal that we are doing the Lord’s work in Palos Hill and throughout the world through our website, charitable and missionary support. Please read the reports
The book of Acts describe apostolic labor as an itinerant ministry. The apostles did not remain long after establishing a new church. When called to a new missionary location they ordained bishops and pastors to continue their work and moved on. I have averaged about 12 years in one location. As I begin this 14th year, and retirement does not seem eminent my role as pastor is changing. Instead of development and building, it could be to prepare a good foundation for the future. In the past year and the beginning this year we have had a number ministries that need leaders. We also have ministry leaders who would like a change, or a rest. My role will be to seek those who can fill these vacancies to continue the good works of past leaders and open new ministries as the need arises. We added a bread baking ministry and AA to our list of ministries this year.
We still have not solved the overcrowding of our sanctuary. On Sunday Dec. 22. we had the largest attendance we have ever experienced at St. Luke: 156. This was a special Sunday but if we consider the 80% capacity rule of we need to expand. Widening the church into the court yard is the only option we have. George Evangelopulos will be consulting an engineer to see if it is feasible and if it is possible to obtain a building permit.
Last year I investigated the possibility of establishing a mission station south of I - 80. I was met with resistance from diocesan authorities. There was a concern that a mission may attract parishioners away from area parishes. Also several of our own parishioners who live in the area expressed their concern since they are committed to St. Luke in Palos Hills. At this time, the concept is on hold until there is a consensus and personnel available. Still we are commissioned by our Lord to reach out into a new community and spread the Gospel.
There remains the possibility of two Sunday morning services as solution to the space problem but this would divide the parish and may not solve the problem because of the number of children who attend church school. Without a second Priest the additional service would have to be Matins which we now have or a Typica service. If a number of parishioners came to the council submitting a proposal for a second service and were willing to support it this could be a solution.
We have been paying down our mortgage using 80% of our tower income. We had been concerned that changing technology may eliminate the need for the towers which would put us into financial striates. The other 20% covered repairing facilities and the charity offering matching program. Now that we are on a better financial footing we decided at our last parish meeting in September to pay the required amount and use the additional funds to complete needed repairs and enhancements to the facility. In the future we are going to be tested to see how we use the blessing of the tower income for the work of the Lord. I believe we should never use this money for our operating budget. These may be very interesting times to see how we do. A proposal will be submitted at the annual meeting to use these funds to support a missionary team of our own parishioners to build houses for the poor in Mexico.
I would especially like to commend Luba Johnson, Caye Caswick and Debbie Dandeles who are leaving the parish council after three terms of office. And to all council members, ministry leaders, liturgical assistance, teachers, choir members, PADS volunteers and everyone who has given their support. Thanks be to God.