1 GOOD NEWS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION, ROCHESTER, NY President s Message Jim Stathopoulos offers his remarks at the end of his tenure as President December 2014 Sunday School Update Do you know what the Sunday school is up to? Check it out! 962 East Ave Rochester, NY Christmas Celebrations Make sure to check the back page of this month s bulletin for updates MESSAGE FROM FR. CATALIN My dear family in The Lord, O ne of our many goals in life and the most important one is the salvation of our souls. That should be our main focus, main concern, and main reason for us being here and living on the Earth. The central point of our spiritual life, should be Christ, The Savior of the world, The One Who opened for us the Kingdom of Heaven and gave us this wonderful opportunity to be saved. That s the reason because our ancestors built Churches where Christ will be glorified and worshiped and where the people will go and seek the salvation of their souls. Our Church of The Annunciation in Rochester New York, we Her people, have the same ideal in our life, to come and worship and glorify Christ, looking forward for the salvation of our souls and the life everlasting. Everything what we do here in Church is for Christ, Who is the Center of our spiritual life, and for the salvation of our souls. Christ is the Tree and we are the branches as members of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and we should make every effort to move with Him on the path of His salvation, through His Holy Church. On November 15th, we just began the Advent of Christmas, which is the fasting period before the Nativity of Our Lord. On this period of time, we are called to purify our souls and bodies, to grow in our spiritual life and to give our entire beings to Christ Our Lord. We decorate beautiful our houses, we present our family members and friends with gifts, we also give to our charities this time of the year, and these are all wonderful things, because it is the most wonderful time of the year! But in the same context lets, not forget the real Reason for the season, that we are in the anticipation of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and everything what we give and every single work what we do, should be for His glory. This is also a time when we should strive to go to Holy Confession and prepare to receive Christ in the manger of our souls. Wishing you all, a Wonderful Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year, I embrace all of you in The Name Of Our New Born Lord, and remain prayerfully yours, His unworthy servant, +Father Catalin
2 DECEMBER EVENTS To see an always-up-to-date calendar, visit annunciationrochester.org/calendar PHOTO SUBMISSION DEADLINE Sunday, November 30 If you already have a family portrait that you would like to submit for the upcoming Annunciation Photo Directory, please submit it along with $10 by November 30 th. All submissions to the photo directory are due November 30 th. MOVIE NIGHT: CHRISTMAS WITH THE KAROUNTZOSES Sunday, November 30 at 5:00 pm Please join us for a social event, Sunday, November 30 at 5:00pm for a private screening of a Greek Comedy film, Christmas with the Karountzoses by Robert Krantz. He is the owner of Ellinas Multimedia, producer and actor in Do You Wanna Dance?, author of Falling in Love with Sophia. Lenten Mezedes & wine will be served. We would encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance for $10 in parish hall or call Eleni , Patty or Pres. Felicia Watch the trailer today at AGHIA PARASKEVI CHRISTMAS PARTY Sunday, December 7 at 3:00 pm in the Church Hall The holidays are approaching, so this year like any other, we need to make all the necessary arrangements for a successful Christmas Party. Our entertainment will be provided by Mastoras. Please make your reservations by November 30 th. The cost for each person is $25. All proceeds from our Christmas Tree this year will go to the Orphanage in Africa. RSVP to Tzeni Kostopanagiotou ( ), Katina Sekella ( ), Athanasia Harisis ( ), or Olga Kiriakidis ( ). All are welcome! PHILOPTOCHOS CHRISTMAS PARTY Tuesday, December 9 at 5:30 pm in the Church Hall The Philoptochos will have its annual Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 9 at 5:30 pm in the Church Hall. Please sign up on the bulletin board in the church hall to bring a dish to pass. For more information, contact Maria ( ), Demetra, Nancy, or Helen Eisenberg ( ). The Philoptochos will be collecting funds to donate to Hannah s Hope. Hannah along with four beloved friends died together in a tragic automobile crash just days after they graduated from Fairport High School. Funds collected will go towards helping children in Africa including building classrooms in Africa at St. Hannah s School. PARISH COUNCIL ANNOUNCEMENTS OFFICERS Demetrios Stathopoulos President Amiel Mokhiber Jr. 1st Vice President Dr. Kathryn Markakis 2nd Vice President MEMBERS Maria Aslani-Breit Philip Broikos Helen Eisenberg Julie Eveleigh Eric Vangellow Treasurer Dorothea Sanchez Secretary Dr. Stamatia Destounis Asst Secretary Tasos Kolokouris Chris Theodorou Van Zissis Continuing throughout the month of December, we will hold Saturday evening Vespers at 5PM weekly except when they conflict with events. Please check our website at for more information. The Nativity Fast began on November 15 th. The fast is a light fast (fish allowed) until December 12 th. On the 12 th, the fast is a strict fast until Christmas. Annunciation offices will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year s Day. Please submit all donations for 2014 by December 28 th at the latest. PARISH CLERGY & STAFF Rev. Fr. Catalin Mot, Proistamenos Rev. Fr. Jerry Tasikas, Emeritus Priest Nicolaos Tzetzis, Youth Director Sylvia Bauer, Parish Administrator CONTACT US Voice: (585) Fax: (585) Web: annunciationrochester.org Greek Fest on the Web: rochestergreekfestival.org
3 2014 CHRISTMAS CARD DEADLINE Wednesday, December 10 You are invited to participate in our Parish Christmas Card. As you may recall from past years, this beautiful card lists all the members of our Parish, and it is sent to the 900 members of the Annunciation community. Please help us keep up this annual tradition by providing a small donation of $20 to help defray the costs of printing and mailing. Please see the back page for more information. GOYA MEETING: ADULT VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Sunday, December 14 at 12:00 pm On Sunday, December 14 th our GOYA will have its last meeting of the year. GOYA is a program for all Orthodox Christian teenagers in grades We will have pizza and soda at the meeting. Also, our GOYA is in desperate need of a handful of adult volunteers who will help to advise and guide the GOYA as it goes forward. If you are interested in volunteering as a GOYA advisor, please contact Youth Director Niko Tzetzis at as soon as possible. FAMILY NIGHT OF FAITH - CHRISTMAS EDITION Tuesday, December 16 at 6:00 pm It s the most wonderful time of the year, and we want to invite you to our last big potluck dinner and discussion of Join us at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, December 16 for an evening of prayer, food, and discussion. Please bring a Lenten dish to pass. Our topic of discussion will be I am King. SENIOR S CHRISTMAS PARTY Thursday, December 18 at 11:30 am Please try to attend, and bring a friend. CHRISTMAS PAGEANT & FAMILY BRUNCH Sunday, December 21 immediately following Liturgy Join us for the annual Sunday School & Greek School Christmas Pageant and Family Brunch sponsored by the Parish Council. Following our Annual Christmas Pageant, that is so beautifully performed by our Sunday School & Greek School students, we invite you to join us for a delicious brunch with your families and fellow parishioners. This year the menu will include scrambled eggs, hash browns, French toast, fruit, juice, and coffee. P.S. Look for a very special guest who will also be joining us on that day! VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: OPEN DOOR MISSION Monday, December 29 at 6:00 pm We need 6-8 volunteers for our monthly trip to the Open Door Mission. This is a wonderful opportunity to serve our neighbors in the city of Rochester. Learn more at There is a sign-up sheet on the blue bulletin board in the church. Students will earn 2 hours of community service for participating. SERVICE SCHEDULE REGISTRY DECEMBER 4, THURSDAY St. Barbara Orthros 9:00 Divine Liturgy 10:00 am DECEMBER 6, SATURDAY St. Nicholas Orthros 9:00 Divine Liturgy 10:00 am DECEMBER 12, FRIDAY St. Spyridon Orthros 9:00 Divine Liturgy 10:00 am DECEMBER 15, MONDAY St. Eleutherios Orthros 9:00 Divine Liturgy 10:00 am DECEMBER 24, WEDNESDAY Christmas Eve Vespers Vespers 5:00 pm DECEMBER 25, THURSDAY Nativity of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ Orthros 9:00 Divine Liturgy 10:00 am SATURDAY SERVICES Vespers 5:00 pm SUNDAY SERVICES Orthros 9:00 am Divine Liturgy 10:00 am Sunday School begins after Communion Sunday School ends at 12:00 pm BAPTISMS Benjamin Thomas Swain, son of Kevin Swain & Soultana Swain (Strembenis) was baptized on November 16, 2014 MEMORIAL NOVEMBER 30 Demetrios Demkou (5 Years) Memorial Service and Coffee Hour Damianos Ioannakis (6 Month) Memorial Service and Coffee Hour
4 PRESIDENT S MESSAGE from Parish Council President Jim Stathopoulos My fellow Annunciation Parishioners: As we wind down another calendar year and my term as President and as a member of the Parish Council comes to an end, I want to reflect on the last three years I have had the pleasure of serving our Parish. I believe that the leadership of our Parish has been in good hands. As a Parish Council collectively, we have accomplished a number of good things; the hiring of a new full time Proistamenos, the completion of the Boiler Project, a revival of our Youth programs and the hiring of a wonderfully talented Youth Director. There is a light that is starting to burn bright in our Church. Sadly, there are some things that have not been accomplished. While we have endeavored to be as transparent as possible in our running of the Church, there are those who have questioned what we have done. Additionally, I have failed you in at least one area; getting the message across to you about Stewardship. It saddens me that many in our Parish (as you will see below) do not understand what it truly means to be a Steward of our great Annunciation Parish. Our Church cannot continue to survive on an average pledge of less than $350/year. If we are to keep the lights on, the candles lit and the light burning bright for our Youth, we must be able to increase our giving. As you will note in the attached breakdown of giving, fully 55% of those who have pledged to our Church have given $350 or less. If not for the Greek Festival, which by the grace of God was successful beyond our wildest dreams, our Parish would not be able to continue to exist. Our Parish budget, which is balanced between Income and Expenses, demands a total $550,000 to operate. If our Parish is to survive and thrive, as we all hope and expect it to, our collective Stewardship must be increased. As I have stated in this publication previously, $20/ week for your Church is not, in my opinion, asking too much for what we are getting back in return. If each and every Steward who has pledged in the attached list increased his giving to $1000/year ($20/week) our Stewardship income would jump to $440,000. As the quick financial report that is also shown in the Good News tells us, this year we are running at significant deficit through the first 10 months of the year. How can we continue to operate our Church in this manner? To complicate matters, as you all know, our facilities are crumbling. One need only look around the Church to see some of the many problems that face us; roof leakage in the baptistry and community center, crumbling marble in the entrance to the narthex, handicap walkways that are leaking and a parking lot that is failing. These are only a few of the issues that you can see with your eyes. There are also numerous issues that you cannot see that affect our church. The point of this is to tell you what you already know, but might need to hear again; our Church is over 50 years old and needs help. The Parish Council has commissioned a complete building assessment study that will report to us all the outstanding issues with our facility. Included with this will be a list of wants and potential improvements. With each, we will have budget information that will give us approximate costs of the work that needs to be accomplished. We anticipate that this will be somewhere in the range of $300,000 to $500,000 for the necessary repairs. Our plan is to present this to the Community at large sometime after the beginning of the New Year. As the year comes to an end and my term comes to completion, I wish to leave you with the following thoughts: Will you consider increasing your Stewardship? I hope that you can speak to your husband/wife, family and friends and discuss what I have shared with you here. Can you increase your giving to $20/week as a minimum? There are many good things that are happening in our Parish. There are many things that we can improve. Our community is filled with many wonderful people. Collectively we can accomplish many things if we find the resolve to do so. The question is, can you put aside your differences, whatever they may be, to do so? I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as the President of our Community these last three years. I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving and great holiday season and health for each of you and your families.
5 AΠΌ ΤΟΝ ΠΡΌΕΔΡΟ ΤΟΥ ΔΙΟΙΚΗΤΙΚΟΥ ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΊΟΥ Aπό τον Πρόεδρο του Διοικητικου Συμβουλίου Δημήτριος Σταθόπουλος Αγαπητοί πάροικοι της Ευαγγελίστριας: Με τη λήξη της χρονιάς η θητεία μου ως Πρόεδρος και ως μέλος του Ενοριακού Συμβουλίου έρχεται στο τέλος, καί μία ανασκόπηση σχετικά με τα τρία τελευταία χρόνια, ηταν ευλογία να υπηρετώ την Ενορία μας. Πιστεύω ότι η ηγεσία της Ενορίας μας ήταν σε καλά χέρια. Ως Ενοριακό Συμβούλιο συλλογικά, έχουμε καταφέρει μια σειρά από καλά πράγματα, όπως, η πρόσληψη του νέου Προϊσταμένου, η ολοκλήρωση της κτηριακής λέβητας θέρμανσης, η αναβίωση προγραμμάτων Νεολαίας και η πρόσληψη ενος ταλαντούχου νεαρού ως υπευθύνου της Νεολαίας. Υπάρχει φως καί το μέλλον αρχίζει να λάμπη φωτεινά στην Εκκλησία μας. Δυστυχώς, υπάρχουν μερικά πράγματα που δεν έχουν ολοκληρωθεί. Αν και έχουμε προσπαθήσει όσο το δυνατόν νάμαστε πιο διαφανείς στη λειτουργία της Εκκλησίας μας, υπάρχουν και εκείνοι που έχουν αμφισβητήσει τα όσα έχουμε κάνει. Αλλά, έχω αποτύχει τουλάχιστον σε ένα τομέα: το μήνυμα να γνωρίζητε το καθήκον της Οικονομικής χρηματικής υποστήριξης καί συμμετοχής σας. Με λυπεί πού πολλοί στην Ενορία μας (όπως θα δείτε παρακάτω) δεν καταλαβαίνουν τι σημαίνει να είσαι το κατά δύναμη Steward/Υποστηρικτής της Ευαγγελίστριας. Η Εκκλησία μας δεν μπορεί να συνεχίσει να υπάρχει με ένα μέσο χρηματικής προσφοράς λιγότερο των $350 τον χρόνο. Αν θέλουμε να κρατήσουμε τα φώτα αναμένα, τα κεριά αναμένα, την νεολαία λαμπροφωτεινή, πρέπει να είμαστε απόφασισμένοι να αυξήσουμε την εθελοντική χρηματική προσφοράς/υποστηριξη μας. Όπως θα παρατηρήσετε στην συναπταία έκεθεση κατανομής προσφοράς, πλήρως το 55% των παροίκων έδωσαν $350 ή λιγότερα. Χωρίς το φεστιβάλ, που με τη ευλογία του Θεού ήταν επιτυχής πέρα των προσδοκιών μας, η Ενορία μας δεν θα είναι σε θέση να βρίσκεαι και υπάρχει. Ο Προυπολογισμός τηε εκκλησίας, γιά νάναι ισοσκελής εσόδων/ εξόδων, απαιτεί το ποσό των 550,000 δολάρια για να λειτουργήσει. Εάν η Ενορία μας είναι να επιβιώσει και ευημεί, όπως όλοι ελπίζουμε και αναμένουμε, η συλλογική μας οικονομική υποστήριξη θα πρέπει να αυξηθεί. Όπως έχω αναφέρει προηγουμένως, $20 την εβδομάδα για την Εκκλησία σας δεν είναι, κατά τη γνώμη μου, πάρα πολλά εν συγκρίση απ αυτά που που λαμβάνουμε πίσω. Αν κάθενας μας που συμπεριλαμβάνετε στο συνημμένο κατάλογο έκαμνε την προσφορά των $1000 το έτος ($20 / Εβδομάδα) το σύνολο του Προυπολογισμού θάταν $ Η σύντομη οικονομική έκθεση που παρουσιάζεται επίσης στο Good News, μας λέει οτι θα έχουμε σημαντικό έλλειμμα τους πρώτους 10 μήνες του τρεχοντος έτους. Πώς μπορούμε επιστατούμε την εκκλησία μας με αυτόν τον τρόπο; Τα πράγματα περιπλέκωνται, όπως όλοι γνωρίζετε, με τις εγκαταστάσεις μας που καταρρέουν. Μιά ματιά γύρω από την Εκκλησία δείχνει μερικά από τα πολλά προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζουμε, όπως το ταβάνια του Βαπτιστηρίου καί κοινοτικής αίθουσα να στάζουν, την καταρρέυση του μαρμάρου στα σκαλιά της είσοδου του νάρθηκα, τις διαβάσεις πεζών με ανάκγες που στάζουν και ένα parking lot σε ανάγκη αμέσης επισκευής. Αυτά είναι μόνο μερικά από τα θέματα που μπορείτε να δείτε με τα μάτια σας. Υπάρχουν όμως πολλά θέματα που δεν μπορείτε να δείτε πού επηρεάζουν την εκκλησία μας. Σας λέω αυτό πού το ξέρετε, αλλά πού πρέπει να το ξανακούσετε: η Εκκλησία μας είναι πάνω των 50 ετών και χρειάζεται γενική διόρθωση και ανασκευή. Το Ενοριακό Συμβούλιο έχει αναθέσει μια ολοκληρωμένη μελέτη αξιολόγησης των κτιρίων που θα αναφέρει όλα τα εκκρεμή ζητήματα με τις κτηριακές εγκαταστάσεις μας. Μαζί με αυτό θα είναι μια λίστα με τις επιθυμίες αποφάσεων και τις πιθανές βελτιώσεις. Γιά κάθε προγραμμα, θα έχουμε τις πληροφορίες του προϋπολογισμού εξόδων που θα μας δώσει κατά προσέγγιση το κόστος των εργασιών που πρέπει να επιτευχούν. Ελπίζουμε ότι αυτό θα είναι στά $ με $ γιά τις απαραίτητες επισκευές. Το θέμα αυτό σκοπεύουμε να το παρουσιάσουμε στην Ολομέλεια αρχάς του Νέου Έτους. Καθώς η χρονιά φτάνει στο τέλος της και η θητεία μου θα ολοκληρωθεί, θα ήθελα να σας αφήσω με τις ακόλουθες σκέψεις: Θάταν στο φιλότιμο σας να αυξησητε την χρηματική υποστηριξη σας; Ελπίζω ότι μπορείτε να μιλήσετε με τον/η σύζυγο σας, την συγένεια και φίλους σας και να συζητήσετε τις σκέψεις μου που συμμερίζουμε μαζύ σας. Μπορείτε να αυξήσετε προσφορά σας $20 εβδομάδα ως το ελάχιστο ποσό; Πολλά καλά πράγματα συμβαίνουν στην Ενορία μας. Αλλα, και πολλά άλλα πράγματα μπορούμε να βελτιώσουμε. Η κοινότητά μας είναι γεμάτη με πολλούς υπέροχους ανθρώπους. Μαζύ μπορούμε να πετύχουμε πολλά πράγματα, ας λοιπόν βρούμε τη θέληση να το πράξουμε. Το ερώτημα μου είναι, μπορείτε να βάλετε κατά μέρος τις διαφορές σας, όποιες και νάναι αυτέ: κάντετο! Σας ευχαριστώ που μου δώσατε την τιμή να υπηρετήσω ως Πρόεδρος την Κοινότητας μας αυτά τα τρία τελευταία χρόνια. Εύχομαι σε όλους μια υπέροχη ημέρα των Ευχαριστιών και την περίοδο των εορτών την υγεία για τον καθένα και τις οικογένειές σας.
6 STEWARDSHIP LETTER by Fr. Catalin Mot My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, It is that time of the year again, when we are ready to close another fruitful year, here at Our Church of The Annunciation. This time we ve decided to do something different, and to publicize the whole list of our parishioners with all the names and giving range to the Church, for each family. We are not doing that to embarrass people, because we love you equally and want to serve you, regardless of what is your giving to Our Church. The real reason, because we made this format of our stewardship campaign, is to show everybody what they have been giving and to respectfully ask all of you, if you please consider giving more to your Church in the future. I m asking this, because Our Church is growing, in numbers, in personnel, in expenses and needs too. If 30 years ago, the Church needs were costing an X amount of money according to the needs of that moment, now in 2014, it s a big difference in the amount of dollars that we need to operate Our Church. It is not the same exact picture, the structure of The Church maybe the same, but not the financial picture of it! 30 years ago, $300, was a lot of money, nowadays it is not! I made a reference to $300, because believe it or not, this is the average giving to Our Church at this present time. If I have to give you some ideas of what s the average giving of other Churches, in our Metropolis, I only can tell you that the other two large parishes in The Upstate New York, are ahead of us in giving to their Churches. Syracuse s average giving is about $600, and Buffalo is about $500. Yet, out of the three parishes, we are the largest and more financially potentiate than the other two. In The Metropolis of Detroit at large, in Detroit Metro Area, the highest average giving is probably Saints Constantine and Helen Parish in Westland Michigan, which averages about $800 annually, and the parishes in the South, which have an average giving of $2000 annually per family. Therefore looking at these numbers, we all have to admit that we are far behind them and we have to recognize the need to increase our giving. Nothing will be possible to make Our Church a better environment, if we don t understand to give more, because at the end of the day it will be up to us, if this will be possible of not! It all depends in our understanding and will in how to support Our Church. It s Our Church and we need to support it, the people from the outside will never help us on that respect! It is our responsibility and we have to decide what do we want to do? To stay the same and struggle every year like this, or we want to move forward, to the 21st and to support Our Church according to the needs and the requirements of the 21st century. Everything goes up all the time, our electric and gas bill, our cable TV bill, the food prices go up all the time and all other things and we don t do much to stop that, but rather we readjust our budgets, to be able to accommodate it! On this respect I would like to bring this up to your attention now and to respectfully ask all of you, let s unite ourselves in the Spirit of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and let s try to give to Our Church according to our best capability! With love in Jesus Christ Our Lord, I remain prayerfully yours, +Father Catalin CHURCH FINANCIAL INFORMATION OMITTED FOR ONLINE BULLETIN PLEASE SEE CHURCH OFFICE OR PRINT BULLETIN FOR MORE INFORMATION
7 A PERSONAL REFLECTION an O&E submission by Sylvia Bauer I recently attended a General Assembly meeting for our church on November 2nd. There was nothing unusual about the Agenda, just typical routine stuff. Pass a budget. Nominate PC members for our upcoming elections. Present a Festival Report. Vote in Board of Auditors.. Business as usual. What was equally usual was the message from our parishioners that they feel out of touch and uninformed with the state of our parish. We have ceilings and roofs that need repairs. Marble steps breaking. Lack of transparency. Parking lot repairs. An unprecedented dependency on our Festival to pay for our day to day operating expenses. And finally a decline and stagnant stewardship program. All very valid and true points. Unfortunately while true, a few very hard working individuals had to take the brunt of these concerns as if it was up to them entirely to fix all our concerns and problems...but I will get back to that. It is true we NEED so many things. And at the same time we WANT so much more. And the most glaring truth is we have the capability and have been blessed with the means to accomplish all of it. The Parish Council has instructed me to break our Stewardship Giving into smaller categories in an effort to illustrate how our giving can make a difference between keeping things business as usual or truly MAKING A DIFFERENCE in our present and future existence of our beloved Annunciation Church and Parish. We have as if this date used $150,000 in Festival funds to pay for our daily operating expenses. The truth is that the funds are being used for a good cause. Our festival has allowed us to hire a Youth Director who has done a wonderful job addressing the needs of our youth ministries and more importantly getting to know and connecting with our kids. I would say that truthfully, our youth ministry is important enough to our parish that I would NOT place its existence in the hands or taste buds of our greater Rochester Patrons to buy gyros and moussaka dinners from us once a year. Our Festival patrons can help us in other ways but not in our day to day existence. I personally would never place the security and care of my children and home in my neighbor s hands. So let s go back to who is responsible... Is it the PC President, the Treasurer, the Festival Chairman? The Priests? The Staff? The Numerous Volunteers? The answer to that question is that the responsibility belongs to ALL of us. We are a spiritual family. It was by free will we chose to build this church on East Avenue. It was by free will that we have all supported it these many years. And it is by free will that we will decide collectively if we want to continue with our mission or if it is time to lock it up and go home. As you look at the Stewardship Giving below we offer you a few facts to reflect upon: 1. The vast majority, 70%, have been giving the same amount for the past 30 years. While $400 or $300 had a greater buying power 30 years ago it certainly does not have the same today. 2. Our Annual Stewardship Budget should be at least $550,000 and more in order for us to self sustain and not place our existence on our Festival Patrons. 3. Our giving should not reflect our personal feelings about each other but instead should reflect our desire to sustain and preserve our faith and our church. It should reflect our love and free will. 4. Our $300 or less bracket, while 30 years ago was able to sustain us and was considered our highest giving bracket, should be reserved for our seniors on fixed social security incomes, widows, young members just starting their careers, students, and families without a steady income. In fact we should, as the loving spiritual family that we are, be offering assistance to those members who need it most. Finally, and this final truth is our reality and the one thing each of us needs to be aware of; that while our Stewardship Program may not have been as aggressive as perhaps it should have been; while Priests and Councils left it to our own desire to increase our giving because it s a sensitive subject and a personal decision; while all of the above has created a false sense of security; the truth is that we need all our members, aside from those who fall under the category in #4 above, to make at least a 50% to a 100% or more increase to their Stewardship. To think outside the giving as usual that we have all become accustomed to. Ask yourself am I in the right bracket? Ask yourself if you can give $1000 or more? And if you have already paid it in full for this year then consider making an additional contribution. And if your name is not yet listed, please send your Stewardship in today. You will see as you read the President s and Treasurer s Messages that they took your words to heart and they have made it their mission to give you transparency and the reality of our current state of affairs. The time is NOW, collectively, to decide the fate and future of our beloved Annunciation Church and Parish and all it has to offer us. How the next chapter in our history unfolds belongs to all of us... I thank God each day for His many blessings and wish each of you a Blessed Thanksgiving
8 SUNDAY SCHOOL UPDATE by Sunday School Co-Director Rhonda Stamatis One Hundred and Fifty children filled the Sunday School halls on September 7th to begin another year of religious education. Parents were invited into classrooms to meet teachers, share in welcome refreshments and participate in making a project with their child. After twenty minutes parents moved into the Chapel for our annual informational meeting while teachers were able to get to know their students and give the first lessons of the year. We have a vibrant church school education program with dedicated parishioners who volunteer their time as teachers. Our program includes children from 3 years old to Seniors in high school. Each year we ask that students are re-registered into the Sunday church school program. Students that have not been registered in 2014 will be taken off the registration list. Please contact the Sunday School office if you did not register your child this year. Our typical Sunday School day begins with students being called to the Solea for a childrens sermon. At the conclusion of the sermon students in Pre-K 3/4 and Teen class go directly to classrooms for instruction. Kindergarten through 8th grade gather in the Chapel for 10 minutes to be lead in hymnology by one of our three choir directors, Peggy Basile, Julie Eveleigh, or Zoi Varahidis, after wards students are released to classrooms for their church school lesson with Sunday School being dismissed at 12:00 pm. I would like to welcome three new teachers this year into the Sunday School program. Mary Beth Kolokouris who is team teaching 1st grade and Kristen Savage and Julianne Gitsis who are team teaching 5th grade. We are thankful for your service to the Annunciation Church and the youth of our parish through the ministry of Sunday School. The Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk in Rochester was held on October 19th. Each year our 6/7/8th grade students participates in this walk as their classroom philanthropy project. Students, teachers and chaperones left the church parking lot at 9:00 am to attend the walk. Thank you to the Annunciation congregation for supporting this effort with donations of $ The students themselves contributed another $ which brought the total donation to $ I would also like to thank Mary Anagnostopoulos for her continued efforts each year in planning and organizing this classroom philanthropy. On Sunday November 23 our hymnology class participated in the Liturgy by joining the choir to sing Praise the Lord/ Enite Ton Kyrion and O Son of God/Tou Dipnou Sou. The students worked on these hymns during the fall session of hymnology. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to experience the Liturgy as an active participant. Our goal is to expose our youth to serving in various ministries of the church so as they grow into adulthood service to their parish becomes a regular part of their orthodox christian life. All communications from the Sunday School office are done through . If you have not received an this year please contact the office at SUNDAY SCHOOL PHILANTHROPY PROJECT Sunday School Children and Families, The Constellation Sands Visitation Center serves Monroe County s most vulnerable children, those in foster care. Often victims of abuse and neglect, these children, their foster families, and biological parents utilize the center for their primary healthcare, case management, counseling, and supervised visits among other activities. It is located in front of Monroe Community Hospital on East Henrietta Road. It has come to our attention through the foster parent network that the Center is desperately in need of toys and basic supplies. We invite you to join us in a drive to collect new and gently used toys, books, and cleaning supplies for these very deserving kids and the foster families that have taken them in. We especially encourage you to get your children involved in picking out donations. We will run this drive for the following 4 Sundays 11/23, 11/30, 12/7, and 12/14. There will be boxes outside the Sunday School office. They are in need of toys for all ages. The only toys they cannot accept are stuffed animals due to hygiene concerns. They are also in need of basic tools and cleaning supplies ( hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, Lysol wipes, brooms, dustpans, etc). Thank you in advance for your generosity, let s make this our most successful project ever!
9 NOVEMBER IN PHOTOS Above: GOYAns at the GOYA 60th Anniversary Banquet on November 8th Left: HOPE/JOYans at an event at Annunciation on November 15th. The kids made beautiful Advent wreaths! Below: Our GOYAns joined the GOYAns from Buffalo and Syracuse to compete at the annual Holiday Hoops basketball tournament in Sterling Heights, MI. The teenagers represented their communities very well!
10 WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THIS SEASON? by Youth Director Niko Tzetzis Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21 (NRSV) Every year around Thanksgiving, my parents start to ask me what I think I d want under the tree on Christmas morning. Around Thanksgiving, every year, I begin the conversation by telling them that I am happy with what I have, and that I want this Christmas to be less about presents than in years past. As I think about their question more and more, my list grows. It goes from Mom, dad, I think I ve got everything I need this year, to really all I need is a new iphone... oh and my ipad is a few years old. OH and what about one of those FitBit things? They look really cool! If you ask me once, it s easy to be strong. As the temptations for more things keep coming, though, I lose that strength. Eventually, the prospect of tons of new stuff under the tree is just too much to resist. I ve gotta have it all! If you ask someone who s studied marketing, I m sure they d tell you that the advertisements at this time of year (and throughout the year) aren t just selling us products, they re selling us a lifestyle. Advertisers know how to convince us that our lives would be better if we only had their product. Advertisers convince us that their products will bring us peace, joy, and happiness. As Orthodox Christians, though, we know that our joy, peace, and happiness won t come from these things. Just last week I joined a group of teenagers from our church as well as from Holy Spirit, St. Sophia (Syracuse), and Annunciation Buffalo in a trip to Detroit. We went out to Detroit to compete in a basketball tournament as one, combined Upstate NY basketball team. We went to Detroit as SyrBuffChester. We traveled, played, and hung out together as one community. It was pretty awesome to watch SyrBuffChester in action. The kids were the first to jump in and participate at the retreat on Friday, and they were a formidable force on the cour... err... on the dance floor! Not only that, but they immediately got to know and became friends with the kids from St. John s in Sterling Heights. So do you want to know what the reason for the season is? It s Orthodox Christians-people who know that Christ was born in a cave in Bethlehem-coming together to prepare and celebrate the birth of God in the Flesh. This Christmas, do all you can to remember that this community is the center of all Christmas celebrations. Let s all prepare for Christmas together with prayer and fasting, and come Christmas Day, let s all celebrate the birth of God together. The only way to truly celebrate Christ s birth is to celebrate it together. In the ancient Orthodox Church there was a saying, One Christian is no Christian. As a community, we can make the joy of Christmas last forever. God bless, and Merry Christmas!
11 PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS DATE: Sunday, December 14, 2014 TIME: Polls open immediately after Divine Liturgy till 1:30pm. CORRECTION TO NOMINATIONS: The five (5) members whose term of office ends this year are: Demetrios Stathopoulos, Dorothea Sanchez, Chris Theodorou and two (2) vacant seats. Van Zissis term ends in 2016 and was erroneously reported as ending this year in the October Good News. ELIGIBILITY: Parishioners in good standing are eligible to participate at the General Assembly on Sunday, November 2, 2014 and vote on Election Day, Sunday, December 14, Parishioners are considered to be in Good Standing if they have paid their Stewardship in full for 2013 and submitted a pledge or made payments for If you have any questions regarding eligibility, please call the Church Office, or contact any Member of the Parish Council. ABSENTEE BALLOTS: The last day to request Absentee Ballots is Monday, December 1, Absentee ballot you receive must be mailed back in the envelopes provided to the Board of Elections Post Office Box by Friday, December 12, Please direct any questions to a member of the Board Elections: Vickie Makovsky, Chairman ( ) Angie Laloggia ( ) Nitsa Hristodoulou ( ) Patricia Linares ( ) COMMUNITY RECOGNITION Above: Letter from the Federation of Social Workers Right: Honorable Mention award given to Annunciation Rochester Greek Festival for 2014 Human Service Worker of the Year In recognition of our Greek Festival s support of 15 local women & children s charities. As of this Festival, $167,500 has been donated over the past 13 years.
12 THANK YOU This month I have a really long list of people to thank for their tireless work for the community. GOYA 60 th Anniversary Thank you to Presvytera and Father Catalin for thinking of this event. If not for them, we might have missed a great milestone in the life of our GOYA. Also, thank you to Peter Kokorotsis and Van Zissis who put together an incredible meal for us all, and who donated their time. Thank you to A&G Meats and to Rochester Meats for their generous food donations. Thank you to all of the men who served back in the bar. Special thanks to Al Petro, Louie Gitsis, and to Bill Stathopoulos for helping to organize and serve. Thank you to Omonia Flambouro and to the Drosopigi Society for your donations, too. Holiday Hoops Trip Thank you to all of the parents who donated their time to chaperoning Philoptochos Christmas Party Tuesday, Dec. 9, 5:30, Church Hall our recent GOYA trip to Sterling Heights, MI. Specifically, thanks to Patty Gitsis, Betty Petro, Vickie Hristodoulou, Billy and Sofy Anthis, and to Ivey. Finally, thanks to all of our incredible volunteer youth coordinators. Our HOPE/JOY, GOYA, Sunday School, Greek School, Greek Dance, and any other programs would not exist without your hard work! With love in Christ for all you do, Niko Tzetzis Please sign up on the bulletin board in the church hall to bring a dish to pass Contact Maria, , Demetra, Nancy, Helen Eisenberg We will be collecting funds to donate to Hannah s Hope. Hannah along with four beloved friends: died together in a tragic automobile crash just days after they graduated from Fairport High School. Funds collected will go towards helping children in Africa including building classrooms in Africa at St. Hannah s School Why Join Philoptochos? Help someone in need Get involved in your community Make an impact Change someone s life Meet new people Share your skills and expertise Gain knowledge Network Be part of a philanthropic movement Below is a list of organizations that our Philoptochos has contributed to: Patrick House Hospice, Alternatives for Battered Women, UNICEF, along with helping those in our community who have needed assistance with medical and burial expenses. We would also like to thank those who have contributed toward the coffee hour in memory of their loved ones..may their memory be eternal.
13 Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation 962 East Avenue Rochester, NY14607 Address Service Requested Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Rochester, N.Y. Permit No PARISH CHRISTMAS CARD You are invited to participate in our Parish Christmas Card. As you may recall from past years, this beautiful card with a famous Byzantine icon of the Nativity on the cover, lists all the members of our Parish; and it is sent to the 900 families of the Annunciation community. It saves you time, expense and effort of mailing numerous individual cards to all your friends in our Parish. Please help us keep up this annual tradition by providing a small donation of $20.00 to help defray the cost of printing and mailing. If you would like your family name to appear in a special way, write it on the line below or call the church office. Deadline to submit changes and additions is Wednesday, December 10th. Please list my name/family in the Parish Christmas Card, as I have indicated below: Join Us for the Annual Sunday School & Greek School Christmas Pageant & Family Brunch Sponsored by The Parish Council SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014 IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE DIVINE LITURGY IN THE COMMUNITY CENTER Following our Annual Christmas Pageant, that is so beautifully performed by our Sunday School & Greek School students, we invite you to join us for a Delicious Brunch, with your families & fellow parishioners! BRUNCH MENU SCRAMBLED EGGS, HASH BROWNS FRENCH TOAST, FRUIT BOWLS JUICE & COFFEE PS: Look for a very special guest who will also be joining us that day! Thank you for your support!
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