1 September/October 2004 Volume 2 Issue 6 A publication of the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George Piscataway, New Jersey The Voice of Saint George The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the LORD. (Matt.3:3) By Very Reverend Alexander Kile, Archimandrite Inside this Issue Priest Message 1 President s Message 4 Message from our Patriarch Message from our Metropolitan 5 6 Dear Parishioners On September 1 st our Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the Ecclesiastical New Year. Happy New Year to all the faithful! On behalf of the Parish Council and myself, I welcome you back from your vacation to your spiritual home. With your presence you will give life to the community center which was mute during the summer. All the beautiful programs are waiting for our youngsters, our Goyans, our Greek and Sunday School students, and our Altar boys to come alive again. As you have noticed in the church calendar, in October with God s blessings, I am going to start Bible Classes every Thursday. I invite everyone to attend in whatever language they want. We ask for your participation, not only in the Bible classes, but in every event of the community, and we emphasize how important your involvement is in all the church organizations. Love and concern for one another, as well as active participation in the Lord s work make us a proud family. We have a number of great events coming up: The memorial Concert; it will take place on Saturday September 11, Everybody is encouraged to attend. On Sunday September 19, 2004 we will have a common Divine Liturgy in Asbury Park with all the clergy of the Metropolis. There will be no church service here. Please try to be present at this historical event as it will be the first time celebrated with our new Metropolitan and all the clergy of New Jersey. This is a tradition we inherited from the late Archbishop Athenagoras, who later became the Ecumenical Patriarch. In October we are going to have our Annual Dinner Dance in Pines Manor. Everybody should support this beautiful and festive evening. We also ask you to put a generous ad to the special journal that we are trying to publish this year, which will remain a historical record book of our community. I also hope and pray that soon we are going to have good news about the construction of the much needed new Parking Lot of the church. For more information on the different events please consult the activity book. I pray that I will be seeing you in as many events as possible. (Continued on page 3) Message from Archbishop Demetrios Church Dance Information 7 10 Philoptochos News 12 7th Ecumenical Council 13 PTO News 15 Sunday School 16 Photos 18 Summer Olympics 21 Liturgical Schedule 22 Ο Ιερατικώς Προϊστάµενος Αρχιµανδρίτης Αλέξανδρος Κιλέ Αγαπητοί ενορίτες, Την 1η Σεπτεµβρίου, η αγία µας εκκλησία εορτάζει την εορτή της Ινδίκτου που είναι η αρχή της Νέας Εκκλησιαστικής χρονιάς. Εύχοµαι Καλή Χρονιά σ όλους τους πιστούς. Το εκκλησιαστικό συµβούλιο, αλλά και εγώ προσωπικά σας καλωσορίζουµε καθώς επιστρέφετε στο πνευµατικό σας σπίτι από τις καλοκαιρινές διακοπές. Με την όµορφη παρουσία σας θα δώσετε πάλι ζωή στην κοινότητά µας. Θα ζωντανέψουν οι διάδροµοι µε τις φωνούλες και το περπάτηµα των παιδιών και της νεολαίας µας. Όλα τα ωραία µας προγράµµατα περιµένουν να αρχίσουν Μπορεί να έχετε παρατηρήσει, από το πρόγραµµα που σας έστειλα τον Ιούλιο, ότι τον Οκτώβριο, µε την βοήθεια του Θεού, θα αρχίσουµε βιβλική µελέτη κάθε Πέµπτη το απόγευµα. Σας προσκαλώ όλους να συµµετάσχετε σε όποια γλώσσα επιθυµείτε. Σας προσκαλώ να συµµετάσεχετε ενεργά (Continued on page 3)
2 Page 2 The Voice of Saint George GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SAINT GEORGE Very Reverend Archimandrite Alexander Kile Parish Ministries Parish Council President Demetrios Arhontoulis Vice President / Administration Katerina Leftheris Vice President /Operations Constantinos Theokas Secretary Petra Knox Treasurer George Psyllos Comptroller Nick Banis Members Constantine Apostolakis Lampros E. Bourodimos Maria Kaouris Christodoulatos Michael Dimitrakis Bill Fottis Panos Georgopoulos Anthony Kalogridis George Petrantonakis Dimitrios Zalokostas Special Thanks to all volunteers, Sunday School staff, Workers, Coaches, Greek Dance Instructors & Parents who support all of our church organizations, programs, and events. Special Thanks to the Bulletin Committee: Evie Georgopoulos, Mariea Kazantzis and Evellyn Tsiadis. Philoptochos Society St.Barbara Eleni Andronikou, President Choir Dimitrios Fousteris, Director Sunday School Helene Pappas, Director Greek School Panos Georgopoulos, Director Toula Karamarkos, Principal Sofia Amaxopoulos, Teacher Mrs.Katerina Kourti-Gavalas Angeliki Papasavas, Teacher Chrisoula Plias, Teacher Parent Teacher Organization Dorothy Koutsoras, President GOYA Aris Kalimanis, President GOYA Advisors Eileen Stellakis Diane Parais Sandy Stratoudakis Dimitrios Zalokostas Andriana Tolis George Papagrigorakis George Hadjiloucas We encourage all of our community organizations & ministries to post their events in The Voice of St. George. We remind you that events should be advertised a month in advance. Information should be submitted one month prior to issue in which it will appear. We thank you for your cooperation. FOCUS Nick Kambitsis Senior Citizens Dorothy Coniaris JOY/HOPE Sophia Exarchakis Maria Kantilierakis MOMS & TOTS Thomai Chronis Elaine Thermos Committee Chairpersons Stewardship Petra Knox, George Psyllos Church Festival John Lyssikatos Memorial Dolores Stroumtsos Web Design Bill Fottis Welcome/Hospitality Peter Alexander Have you visited the St. George website lately? Just go to: www. STGEORGEPISCATAWAY.ORG
3 September-October 2004 Page 3 By Very Reverend Alexander Kile Archimandrite (Continued from page 1) With your love and support, we are going to uplift this community, making the founders of this Holy Church that labored so hard to create this beautiful Christian community, very proud of their children and grandchildren. Even if we have just moved to the area, or we are new members of the community, we have the responsibility to preserve this Legacy, to continue this Holy tradition and give it to the generations who follow us. You may ask me: How? The answer is very simple: by supporting the Greek School, the Sunday School, the GOYA and by being present in all of the activi- ties of our church. Most importantly, we have to send in our Pledges so we can fulfill our duties as Parishioners. From these pledges we support all these programs and we keep our doors open. Your personal pledges are your expression of love and expression of gratitude to God for being so good to you. This is the real meaning of the pledge giving. God gives me different blessings and I return my pledge to His dwelling place, to His Church. So please, send in your pledges if you haven t done so. The church needs your support. Christ s work on earth needs your financial support. Around the middle of August you received a report from the stewardship committee informing you about our pledge status. If you have any questions, you can reach me at the office (732) , or you can call my residence (908) and leave a message. If it is an emergency or if you need to talk to me immediately, you call me at my cellular phone (732) As you can see, you can reach me everywhere. I am in God s and your service. May we have a wonderful Ecclesiastical Year. May the Blessings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through the intercession of our patron Saint George be abundant upon you and upon the members of your beloved families. With much love in Christ The Pastor Very Rev. Alexander Kile Archimandrite Ο Ιερατικώς Προϊστάµενος Αρχιµανδρίτης Αλέξανδρος Κιλέ (Continued from page 1) σε όλες τις κοινοτικές εκδηλώσεις ανάλογα µε τον χρόνο και τα ενδιαφέροντά σας. Χρειαζόµαστε την συµµετοχή και την βοήθεια όλων. Αυτή η ενεργή συµµετοχή, η αγάπη και το ενδιαφέρον µας κάνουν να είµαστε µία υπερήφανη και ευλογηµένη οικογένεια Έχουµε προγραµµατίσει πολλές εκδηλώσεις γιά το Φθινόπωρο: Στις 11 Σεπτεµ βρίου θα έχουµ ε την επιµνηµόσυνη συναυλία της τραγικής επετείου. Στις 19 Σεπτεµβρίου θα έχουµε µονοεκκλησιά στο θέατρο του Asbury Park µε όλους τους ιερείς, προεξάρχοντος του Σεβασµιώτατου Μητροπολίτου κ.κ. Ευαγγέλου. Η µονοεκκλησιά αυτή είναι µία παλαιά παράδοση που κληρονοµήσαµε από τον αλησµόνητο Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αµερικής Αθηναγόρα τον µετέπειτα Οικουµενικό Πατριάρχη. Όλες οι εκκλησίες θα είναι κλειστές και σας παρακαλώ να µεταβείτε εκεί γιά να εκκλησιαστείτε και να εορτάσουµε µαζί αυτό το ιστορικό γεγονός. Στις 16 Οκτωβρίου θα έχουµε τον ετήσιο χορό της κοινότητός µας στο Pines Manor, και ζητώ όπως η αγάπη σας υποστηρίξει αυτή την χοροεσπερίδα αγοράζοντας εισιτήρια συµµετοχής, και επίσης αγοράζοντας διαφηµιστική σελίδα στο αναµνηστικό λεύκωµα που φέτος θα τυπωθεί σε διαφορετική µορφή και θα µείνει ωραίο ενθύµιο της κοινότητος. Προσεύχοµαι και εύχοµαι σύντοµα να δούµε από την πολιτεία την έγκριση των σχεδίων και την αρχή των εργασιών του νέου χώρου στάθµευσης αυτοκινήτων που είναι τόσο απαραίτητος για την κοινότητά µας Γιά πληροφορίες σχετικά µε άλλες µελλοντικές εκδηλώσεις, σας παρακαλώ συµβουλευτείτε το ετήσιο πρόγραµµα που σας ταχυδροµήθηκε τον Ιούλιο. Εύχοµαι να σας βλέπω σε όλες τις εκδηλώσεις. Με την αγάπη που σας διακρίνει θα προχωρήσουµε και θα κάνουµε τους προγόνους µας, τους ιδρυτές αυτής της αγίας εκκλησιαστικής µας κοινότητος, και όλους όσους κοπίασαν για την προκοπή της, υπερήφανους. Γιά εµάς, ως παιδιά τους ή εγγόνια τους ή εστω και αν ήλθαµε πρόσφατα στην περιοχή, ο Άγιος Γεώργιος είναι ενορία µας και έχουµε ιερή υποχρέωση να γίνουµε συνεχιστές αυτής της παράδοσης των ιερών και οσίων της πίστης και του Γένους µας. Πρέπει να µεταλαµπαδεύσουµε τις αξίες αυτές στις νεότερες γενιές και να τους µάθουµε να τις κρατούν «ως κόρην οφθαλµού». Έτσι θα γίνουµε ζωντανά παραδείγµ ατα στην ελληνοαµερικανική και γενικά στην αµερικανική κοινότητα. Μπορεί να µε ρωτήσετε: «Πως µπορώ να συµµετάσχω;» Η απάντηση είναι απλή: Έχοντας πίστη, υποστηρίζοντας τα προγράµµατα της νοελαίας, παροτρύνοντας τα παιδιά σας να λαµβάνουν µέρος, και µε την ζωντανή συµµετοχή σας στις εκδηλώσεις της κοινότητος. Ο κυριώτερος τρόπος όµως είναι η συνδροµή σας (η λογία σας) προς την εκκλησία. Στέλνοντας την ετήσια συνδροµ ή µας εκπληρώνουµε το χρέος µας προς την εκκλησία, υποστηρίζουµε όλα τα προγράµµατά της και κρατάµε της πόρτες της εκκλησίας ανοιχτές. Η προσωπική σας συνδροµή είναι η έκφραση ευγνωµοσύνης προς τον Θεό που είναι τόσο καλός µαζί µας. Αυτή είναι η αληθινή έννοια της λογίας: Αναγνωρίζοντας τις τόσες ευλογίες που µου δίνει ο Θεός εγώ ανταποδίδω στην επίγεια κατοικία Του, στην εκκλησία Του. Παρακαλώ, αν δεν έχετε στείλει την συνδροµή σας, στείλτε την το (Continued on page 4)
4 Page 4 The Voice of Saint George ταχύτερο δυνατόν. Τον Αύγουστο πήρατε την ενηµερωτική έκθεση της επιτροπής. Αν έχετε κάποια ερώτηση µπορείτε να µου τηλεφωνήσετε στο γραφείο (732) ή στην κατοικία µου αφήνοντας µήνυµα στον αριθµό (908) Αν είναι µεγάλη ανάγκη ή θέλετε να επικοινωνήσετε απευθείας µαζί µου γιά κάποιο επείγον θέµα, τότε τηλεφωνήστε µου στο κινητό τηλέφωνό µου στον αριθµό (732) Όπως βλέπετε, µπορείτε να επικοινωνήσετε µαζί µου όποτε θέλετε. Είµαι στου Θεού και στην δικιά σας διάθεση. Είθε να έχουµε µία καλή χρονιά. Οι ευλογίες του Θεού και Σωτήρος ηµών Ιησού Χριστού διά των πρεσβειών του προστάτου µας Αγίου Γεωργίου να είναι πλουσιοπάροχες επάνω σας και στα µέλη της οικεγενείας σας. Μ εν Χριστώ αγάπη Ο Ιερατικώς Προϊστάµενος Αριµ. Αλέξανδρος Κιλέ A Message from our President Dear Parishioners and Friends, Welcome back! I hope that you had an enjoyable summer. On August 15 th, the day of the Dormition of the Theotokos, we had the procession of the epitaphio followed by a luncheon with music and dance (Panigiri tis Panagias). It was an exceptional day for all of us that attended the service and procession. I would like to thank Father Alex for putting this celebration together. With his efforts and the help of many of our parishioners, this was an unforgettable day. Thank you all. Now is time to think about the new ecclesiastical year. The Greek School classes will begin on Monday, September 13 th, and the Sunday school will begin on Sunday, September 26 th. On that Sunday our church will resume regular church hours. I would like to welcome the Greek School Teachers, Sunday School Teachers and Aides, Youth Advisors, and all the organizations. Our semi-annual General Assembly will be held on Sunday, September 26 th. (This is the second call). Financial statements will be available prior to the meeting. We are asking all of our parishioners to attend this meeting, to hear the progress of our community and to bring any other suggestion that they may have for the future of our community. A welcoming luncheon will be served to all. Our annual dinner dance will be held on Saturday, October 16 th at the Pines Manor. Please make an effort to attend and support this event for an unforgettable evening celebrating our heritage and honoring our past President, Mr. Thomas Kouridakis, for his dedication to the community of Saint George for more than 25 years. I also remind everyone to support this fundraising event by donating to the dance souvenir journal. I wish to all our parishioners, health and happiness as we begin this new ecclesiastical year and I hope to see a lot of old and new faces attending church and participating in the various programs that are offered to all. Sincerely, Demetrios Arhontoulis President Αγαπητοί ενορίτες και φίλοι, Εύχοµαι να περάσατε όλοι ένα όµορφο καλοκαίρι και σας καλωσορίζω στην καινούργια εκκλησιαστική χρονιά. Η κοινότητά µας γιόρτασε την ηµέρα της Κοιµήσεως της Θεοτόκου ( εκαπενταύγουστο), µε µεγαλοπρέπεια. Μετά την Θεία Λειτουργία, είχαµε λιτανεία της Εικόνας και του Επιταφίου της Παναγίας. Το πανηγύρι µας έληξε µε ένα πλούσιο γεύµα µε µουσική και χορό. Ευχαριστούµε τον Πατέρα Αλέξανδρο για την διοργάνωση, διότι µε τις προσπαθειές του και µε τις προσφορές πολλών ενοριτών µας, απολαύσαµε όλοι µία λαµπρή µέρα. Ένα µεγάλο ευχαριστώ σε όλους. Το Ελληνικό σχολείο αρχίζει στις 13 Σεπτεµβρίου και το Κατηχητικό σχολείο αρχίζει την Κυριακή 26 Σεπτεµβρίου. Εκείνη την Κυριακή (26/9) αρχίζει και το χειµερινό πρόγραµµα της εκκλησίας µας. Θα ήθελα να καλωσορίσω τις δασκάλες του Ελληνικού και Κατηχητικού σχολείου, τους βοηθούς, τους υπεύθυνους της νεολείας και τα µέλη όλων των οργανώσεων της εκκλησίας µας. Η ηµιετήσια συνέλευση των µελών της κοινότητάς µας θα γίνει την Κυριακή 26 Σεπτεµβρίου (δεύτερη πρόσκληση). Πριν την συνεδρίαση θα κοινοποιηθεί ο οικονοµικός απολογισµός. Παρακαλούµε όλους τους ενορίτες να έρθουν στην συνεδρίαση, να µάθουν τα νέα της κοινότητας, και να µας φέρουν καινούργιες ιδέες για την πρόοδο και το µέλλον της ενορίας µας. Θα παρατεθεί γεύµα σε όλους. Η ετήσια χοροεσπερίδα της κοινότητας µας θα γίνει το Σάββατο 16 Οκτωβρίου στο Pines Manor. Παροτρύνουµε όλα τα µέλη και τους φίλους της κονότητας να παρευρεθούν σ αυτή την όµορφη βραδυά, ώστε να διασκεδάσουµε όλοι µαζί και να τιµήσουµε τον απερχόµενο πρόεδρο της κοινότητάς µας κ. Ευστράτιο Κουριδάκη. Υπενθυµίζω επίσης, πως όλοι πρέπει να υποστηρίξουµε αυτό το γεγονός προσφέροντας γιά το αναµνηστικό λεύκωµα που εκδίδει η επιτροπή της χοροεσπερίδας. Με την ευκαιρία αυτή θα ήθελα να ευχηθώ σε όλους τους ενορίτες µας υγεία και ευτυχία και εύχοµαι να δούµε πολλά γνωστά και νέα πρόσωπα στην εκκλησία µας και στις πολλές εκδηλώσεις της κοινότητας µας. Καλή χρονιά! Ο πρόεδρος ηµήτριος Αρχοντούλης
5 Page 5 September 1, 2004 BARTHOLOMEW BY THE MERCY OF GOD ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE, NEW ROME AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH TO THE ENTIRE PLENITUDE OF THE CHURCH GRACE AND PEACE FROM THE CREATOR OF THE WHOLE OF CREATION OUR LORD, GOD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST Beloved Brothers and Children in the Lord, Fifteen years ago, our venerable predecessor, the late Patriarch Demetrios issued the first official decree for the preservation of the natural environment, an encyclical letter to the pleroma of the Church, formally establishing September 1st as a day of prayer for the protection of the environment. That historical proclamation emphasized the significance of the eucharistic and the ascetic ethos of our tradition, which provide a corrective for a consumer lifestyle and an alternative to the prevailing philosophy of our age. The Church Fathers have always insisted on the critical importance of self-examination as a pre-condition for spiritual growth. Echoing the classical oracle of Delphi, Clement of Alexandria exhorts: "Know yourself! If you know yourself, you will know all things." Evagrius of Pontus states: "He who knows himself knows God." And Isaac the Syrian claims: "To know oneself is to know one's failures, which leads to the resurrection of the dead." Therefore, let us consider what we have learned as a hurch over the last fifteen years. What knowledge have we gained? What failures have we experienced? And what direction should we now assume? In the five summer seminars that were held annually from at the Theological School on the Island of Halki, we learned about the close connections between environmental issues and education, ethics, communication, justice, and poverty. And in the five international symposia held biannually from 1995 to date, we have explored the impact of our wasteful lifestyle on the waters of the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea, the Danube River, the Adriatic Sea, and the Baltic Sea. Together with theologians, scientists, politicians and journalists, we recognized in a tangible manner the responsibility that we all bear - before one another, before our world, and before our God - for the destruction of our world's natural beauty, for the depletion of the earth's resources, and for the devastation of our planet's diversity. More especially, we have appreciated how the preservation of the natural environment is intimately related to the cessation of warfare, to the restoration of social justice and to the management of world poverty. We have learned how the way that we treat human beings is directly reflected in the way that we relate to the natural environment, as well as to the worship that we exclusively reserve for God. It should come as no surprise to us that we are able to misuse the natural and material creation when we are able to abuse our fellow-human beings. The Mother Church has been at the forefront of significant gatherings and agreements of world peace and welfare, of economic and social reform, of human rights and religious tolerance. When it comes to the appropriate response and the proper theological reflection, there is no doubt that our Orthodox Church has a great deal to contribute to the contemporary debate concerning ecology. We are able to draw upon the depth and ealth of our Scriptural and Patristic heritage in order to contribute positively and constructively to the critical issues of our time. Where, however, as Orthodox Christians we reveal the greatest vulnerability is in the practice of our theory. It is always the easier approach to lay blame on Western development and technological progress for the ills that we confront in our world. And it is always a temptation to believe that we hold the solution to problems that we all face today or else to ignore the imminent danger that we face globally. What is more difficult - and yet at the same time more noble - is to discern the degree to which we constitute part of the problem itself. Just how many of us examine the foods that we consume, the goods that we purchase, the energy that we waste, or the consequences of our privileged living? How often do we take the time to scrutinize the choices that we make on a daily basis, whether as individuals, as institutions, as parishes, as communities, as societies, and even as nations? More importantly, just how many of our Orthodox clergy are prepared to assume leadership on issues concerning the environment? How many of our Orthodox parishes and communities are prepared to materialize the knowledge that we have accumulated in recent years by practicing ecologically-sensitive principles in their own communities? How do the decisions of any local community and parish reflect on a practical and tangible level the experience that we have gained on a theoretical level? In an age when the information is readily available to us, there is surely no excuse for ignorance or indifference. To overlook is to shut our eyes to a reality that is ever-present and ever-increasing. Former generations and cultures may have been unaware of the implications of their actions. Nevertheless, today, more perhaps than any other time or age, we are in a unique position. Today, we stand at a crossroads, namely at a point of choosing the cross that we have to bear. For, today, we know fully well the ecological and global impact of our decisions and actions, irrespective of how minimal or insignificant these may be. It is our sincere hope and fervent prayer that in the years ahead, more and more of our Orthodox faithful will recognize the importance of a crusade for our environment, which we have so selfishly ignored. This vision, we are convinced, will only benefit future generation by leaving behind a cleaner, better world. We owe it to our Creator. And we owe it to our children. May we be strengthened by God to make the right decisions and may the grace and infinite mercy of our Lord and God Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
6 GREEK ORTHODOX METROPOLIS OF NEW JERSEY August 11, 2004 Page 6 The Reverend Clergy Esteemed Members of the Parish Councils, Philoptochos Societies, Faculty and Students of the Catechetical and Greek Afternoon Schools, Directors and participants of all Youth Organizations, and all devout Orthodox Christians of the Greek Orthodox Commmunities of our Holy Metropolis in the State of New Jersey. My beloved Brothers, co workers and faithful Orthodox Christians, It is with much joy that I greet you in the name of the Lord and I pray that the summer months have been restful. With this letter, and with much spiritual gladness I take the opportunity to announce that the HOLY CROSS DAY CELEBRATION, instituted in 1947 by the then Archbishop of North and South America and later, Ecumenical Patriarch ATHENA GORAS, and which had since become a living tradition for the Diocese of New Jersey, shall continue. With the elevation of our Diocese to a Metropolis, and my Election, Consecration and Enthronement as the Metropolitan of New Jersey, and with the encouragement of both Clergy and Laity, it is a great honor for me to proclaim that THE FEAST OF THE ELEVATION OF THE HOLY CROSS, will once again be celebrated in the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey. This celebration will take place at the PARAMOUNT THEATER AND CONVENTION HALL, 1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ on SUN DAY, SEPTEMBER 19, The Orthros shall begin at 9:00am followed by the Archieratical Divine Liturgy at 10:15am followed by the Service of the Sanctification of the Waters and the retrieval of the Holy Cross by the Members of G.O.Y.A. of the Greek Orthodox Communities of New Jersey. Please be advised that on the above stated Sunday, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated ONLY at the Paramount Theater and Convention Hall with the participation of all Clergy as my concelebrants, and the Faithful of all Parish/Communities of the State of New Jersey. If you wish to accommodate those Parishioners who can not travel to Asbury Park, you are encouraged to celebrate the Orthros and Divine Liturgy on the previous morning of Saturday, September 18, Let us gather together as one Orthodox Family and Community in prayer and celebration, and as we celebrate the Elevation of the Holy Cross, let us re commit and rededicate ourselves and our lives to Him Whose mission and purpose was and is our personal elevation and entrance into His Heavenly Kingdom. Furthermore, this Encyclical is to be read to your Congregations and published in your Community Bulletin beginning on Sunday, August 22, It shall be a beautiful event and celebration. Please encourage your faithful Parishioners, young and older, to attend. Further information pertaining to this celebration will be forthcoming under separate cover. Wishing upon you the faithful Communicants of your Parish all of God s blessings, I remain With paternal love and blessings E V A N G E L O S REMINDER: Metropolitan of New Jersey The Divine Liturgy of Sunday, September 19, 2004, with the participation of all Clergy and Parishioners of the Greek Orthodox Communities of the STATE OF NEW JERSEY will be Celebrated ONLY in the CONVENTION HALL IN ASBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY. 629 Springfield Road, Kenilworth, NJ, Tel: (908) Fax: (908) Web:
7 Page 7 The following is Archbishop Demetrios speech at the 37 th Clergy-Laity Congress in NY, July 2004 To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, the members of our Parishes and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, It is with great joy and thanksgiving to God that I greet you following the successful and edifying convening of the 37th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress, National Philoptochos Convention, and National Young Adult League of our Holy Archdiocese of America. Over 2000 delegates and participants gathered July in New York City for worship, fellowship, training, and meetings that were focused on strengthening and advancing the sacred ministry of each of our parishes and of the entire Church in America. This was a historic Congress for our Archdiocese due to the remarkable level of participation, the recognition and support of the progress made by our national ministries, and the high level of discussions and decisions made by this essential administrative body of clergy and laity. First, we had an increased participation of parishes, compared to previous gatherings, made possible by an effort that provided financial assistance to many of our smaller communities. In addition, attendance of the more than 70 workshops and educational sessions reached 2500, affirming the need and commitment of our faithful to growing parishes of faith and love that offer genuine and effective ministry. Reports from these sessions as well as complete information concerning the decisions made at this Congress will be available in the September issue of the Orthodox Observer. Second, this Congress gave us the opportunity to review the objectives and the accomplishments of the national ministries of our Church. As presented in the departmental, program, and institutional reports, remarkable progress has been made over the last few years in the extent and quality of every aspect of our work. More assistance and additional resources are now available in our Archdiocese, and our quality of leadership in these vital ministry areas will ensure that this level of offering will continue. Third, this Congress advanced the administrative uniformity and strength of our Archdiocese by revising and approving the regulations that will guide the work of our parishes. This was a monumental task for our Archdiocesan Council and for the Clergy-Laity Congress that was accomplished in an open and thorough manner, focused on the growth and progress of the Church in America. Our deliberations and decisions acknowledged that these issues are important, and our conduct and progress affirmed that such matters belong exclusively to the administrative and spiritual purview of the Church, not to courts of law. It is indicative that the very courts of law, by the recent decision of the New York State Supreme Court to dismiss the lawsuit against the Church, recognized this reality and re-enforced the fact that the courts should not intervene in the manner in which the Church is governed. All of these achievements of our 37th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress are truly a recognition of our unity in mission and witness as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and to our commitment as Orthodox Christians to further the work of the kingdom of God. Both unity and commitment are critical for what God has called us to do at this time and in this country of America. As we approach the beginning of a new ecclesiastical year on September 1 and as we build on the accomplishments and blessings of this Congress, we must be united and committed to a strong and continuous mission that will focus on three objectives: a) the increasing and enhancing of educational opportunities and training in the faith for children, young people, and adults, b) the sustained effort to reach the unchurched and to bring people back to the Church and to Christ, and c) the offering of substantive assistance for the well-being of families, which are the real and vital elements of growing communities. As presented at the Congress, we will facilitate this work by providing more resources for outreach and education and through an intense, yearlong emphasis on the Family, the most fundamental element of strong communities. Within our parishes, our conscientious care for the Family should constitute a permanent activity. Our goal should be to make our families "Churches at home," "kat'oikon ekklesia" (Romans 16:5). Here is a principle for our sustained renewal and growth. Making our families "Churches at home" requires that we give added attention to the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of married couples, children, single-parent families and senior adults. Moreover, we will continue to make strong efforts to minister effectively to intermarried couples who constitute a significant part of our faithful. I call upon each of you to commit to building communities of faith and love through your participation in the worship and ministry of your parish. It is in the local parish, the community of believers, that true, enduring, and life-giving ministry is offered to all in need of truth and salvation. In turn, we promise the continuous efforts of our Archdiocesan ministries in accomplishing these objectives. May the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon each of you as He leads us as one family, one body, one Church, one people, united in faith and love, laboring together in serving the people and in honoring our God and Savior. With paternal love in Christ, +DEMETRIOS Archbishop of America