Rectors Annual Report January 2011
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, Civil Air Patrol Chaplain-monthly moral leadership classes, Monthly ministry to the mentally challenged at the Garden Center. Alcoholics Anonymous meeting Liaison, PADS Volunteer.
Last Year ended with the passing of our beloved Archbishop Job. It was through his archpastoral care that I came to St Luke. May his memory be eternal. I am happy to report that Fr. Matthias Moriak was elected at our diocesan assembly last November. Fr. Mathias has taken up residence in Chicago and will be consecrated as Bishop of Chicago on April 29 – May1. He will be visiting parishes in the area and will be attending our quad parish picnic in June.
2011 begins my 15th year as parish priest of St. Luke. Over those years we have kept tract of our membership and Church attendance. We continue to grow slowly replacing those who move on with new members. We have an adult membership of 117. We have seen a tremendous growth in the number of children. I was surprised when it was reported to me that it was now 70. There have been Sundays when we have had over 150 in attendance. I have been practically standing in the narthex when blessing the children at the end of the Liturgy. We are a children friendly parish and with them come their parents. We are going to have to face the problem of out growing our facilities. I hope by next year I can report we completed a plan to increase the size of our worship space.
Prayer is what we do as Orthodox Christians. We have as complete a liturgical life as possible under the conditions of modern life. All the major feasts are celebrated either with Great Vespers, Litya and Liturgy or Vesperal Liturgy. The feastday Matins are celebrated on the Sunday after the feast. We are one of the few OCA parishes that have Matins on Sunday morning with a cadre of readers and chanters. Next year they will be receiving training from Helen Jonas from St. Constantine $ Helen in Byzantine chant. It is a major concern of mine that we have such a poor attendance for all services other than Sunday. We need to have a committed ministry to cover weekday services so at least someone is praying on those days. Our choir continues to progress adding new music and practicing. There are openings for tenors and sopranos. Choir members need to be more committed to the ministry of choir singing and support the director by coming to rehearsal. Besides the liturgical services we have our prayer ministry. Included in this ministry are our prayers after Saturday Vespers and morning prayers on Tuesday and Thursday. We are continuing to pray for the sick, homeless and persecuted Christians around the world.
We are now in the middle of our fourth year as a PADS homeless shelter. I must commend Tom Kosbiel for his devotion to the homeless. Last year we housed 430 women and children with 4800 volunteer hours. One of the high points of the year was the participation of a team of 5 adults and 5 teens to Project Mexico. It was my personal joy to see them fulfilling the Gospel by building houses for the poor. This year we have 14 who are interested in returning to Mexico or some other missionary activity. Last year we gave $16,000.to a variety of charities through our matching program. This number should grow as we finally pay off our mortgage in about 4 years.
This year we have seen our School of the Seventy adult education program expand. We have participants from other states involved through the internet. Our website continues to grow with, if feasible, live streaming Sunday services. We will have internet a hook up and WI FI for our educational programs next year. Our close relations with St. Constantine & Helen continues with joint services and participation in the Archdiocese Junior Olympics. This year we had 30 participants, a record number. We are again planning a pilgrimage to the Holy land in June which will include Petra and St. Catherine’s Monastary. We still have a few reservations open.
There are 34 active ministries. Last year we added a Prospora Baking ministry using the Gifted Pan. We have AA and CODA using our facilities on Thursday and Sunday evenings for a small donation. There is a natural flow of people moving on to other ministries and new people taking on ministries. Changes have taken place in the Liturgical Ministry, Kitchen Ministry, Birthday Card Ministry, and Lost Sheep Ministry. We also have a new Sacristan. We still have openings in our Youth YO ministry and Blood drive ministry. If interested in creating a ministry or taking one on see Fr. Andrew or the team leader.
Future construction plans include new lighting for the parking lot and the completion of the prayer Gazebo donated in memory of Subdn. John Verderber and other donors. This will be a place where anyone can come to pray and light an electric vigil. We hope also to use it to bless water. On the agenda at the annual meeting a design plan for worship space expansion will be presented. Our parking lot limits what can be approved by the building and zoning dept. We believe they will approve this plan.
Most of my report is the work of you, our members. Please read the reports for more details. I pray for and commend our Parish Council and those who are doing ministry. As Christ said,” The fields are ready for harvest but the laborers are few.” Please read the reports!