July 2004

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Fr. Antony PortraitGlory to Jesus Christ! This summer brings with it the usual things: conferences, heat, humidity and summer hours. What is different this year is that the Archdiocese has called a special convention to address important issues regarding its new Self-Rule status. The controversies surrounding the decisions of the holy Synod have died down (See the letter of Metropolitan PHILIP at antiochian.org) and we are ready to vote on a revised constitution and candidates for bishops to head the new dioceses that will be created. This will occur at the General Assembly in Pittsburgh on July 16-18. As always, please remember the Archdiocese, its leadership and people, in your prayers. May the All-Holy Spirit be with us.

Although summer is vacation time for many parishioners, the life of St. Mary’s doesn’t seem to quiet down much at all. Attendance for the past several years has been exemplary. Still, I am already thinking of September and the explosion of activity that accompanies it. Parishioners have come to me with some wonderful ideas about how to expand and strengthen the ministry of the community both within and without. Not only have they come with new ideas, they have come with the will and energy to do the work! As truly dynamic as the parish is, we can always do better. What do you think? Do you have any ideas to offer? Would you like to help with any of the on-going ministries or to volunteer to help begin something new and creative? There is a place and work for everyone. Here is a list of what we offer now:

Women’s Club (Antiochian Women)
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine (including web-site & e-mail list)
Diakonia-The Fellowship of St. Elizabeth (social ministry)
Small Groups Fellowship
The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch
Church School
Choir and Chanters
Parish Council

We also need help planning the annual Fr. John VonHolzhausen Lecture and helping to coordinate the new regional St. John the Divine Seminars, one of which will be held at St. Mary’s in the early spring of 2005.

So much has been accomplished; but there is much that still needs to be done. Consider over the summer how you would like to participate and be ready when September comes to roll up your sleeves.

May God grant you a blessed and restful summer.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Antony