New Beginnings. September is the start of a new Ecclesiastical Year. September is the start of a new school year. September is when the summer comes to a close, and we get back into our normal routine with activities at the Church.
September is also when we have our annual Greek Festival. This is a wonderful time of Christian fellowship. I love seeing all the volunteers come out for two days, working together with a great spirit, and growing closer to one another. It’s also a fantastic time for our Church family to offer a beautiful Christ-centered witness to the larger Webster, Central MA, Northeast CT community. We are known for our delicious Greek food and pastries, but I also hear comments every year about the loving, warm, welcoming feeling everyone experiences when they attend our festival. Our Festival is a great time to overwhelm our visitors with Christ-centered love, and who knows, maybe some of the hundreds of people who attend will think of joining us for a Sunday Liturgy as well!
I want to thank our chairpeople Lisa Healy and Marie McNally and all the many people who have been working hard and will work hard during the Festival weekend! Everyone’s dedication and service is greatly appreciated!!!
The Sunday after the festival we will have a very special visit from our beloved Metropolitan Methodios. This will be his first visit in two years. In fact, he will be seeing all the beautiful renovations of our Church for the first time! He has tried to come several times over the past two years, and unexpected circumstances prevented him from coming. Anyway, the Sunday after the Festival on September 17, please make every effort to come to church on time and welcome our loving Shepherd.
On Sunday, September 23rd we have two other special occasions. First, our Sunday school program begins, so please bring all your children to attend. We will have five classes with a potential of 52 students! Our teachers are getting ready for a great school year. Please bring your children from the beginning of the Divine Liturgy so that they can hear the children’s sermon each week, and the go to Sunday School after receiving Holy Communion.
Also on Sunday, September 23rd we will have the great joy of welcoming eight new members into our Church. We will have a Chrismation Service in the middle of the Liturgy to anoint these new members with Holy Chrism, where they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and then will make a profession of faith to become full members of our Church. We will welcome George and Annalisa Dunning and their children Helen, Ephraim, Lucy and Francis, along with Mike Kokoszka and Lynn Purcell. Please come and join us in welcoming them into the fullness of our Church Family.
An exciting new ministry that our Church Family will begin on Saturday, October 7th is “The Living Bread” Soup Kitchen. Once a month we will open up the doors of our church and invite whoever is in need in Webster and the surrounding area to a delicious free, hot meal! Right now in the Webster/Dudley area there are two churches that offer a free meal every other Tuesday and every other Wednesday. So that means once every week, a person in need in this area can find a homecooked, warm meal. We want to join these churches in serving our community. Our organizational committee has decided that the first Saturday of every month from 12:30-1:30 we will serve a meal.
We will need many volunteers to help cook the meals and offer a welcoming and loving presence to our guests. Of course, this is pretty easy for our Church Family to do since we are such a loving, warm and hospitable community! Please let me know if you are interested in joining our planning committee, or if you want to volunteer to cook, to serve, to clean up, or to help in any way we need.
We will also be looking for people to offer donations to help offset the cost of each meal. I already have two donors who said they will cover the cost of two meals. We are looking for someone to donate $300 to cover the costs of the meal. Maybe you can do this in memory of a loved one, in honor of someone, or simply in thanksgiving for how blessed each one of us are. I don’t think we will have any problem getting donors to cover all the expenses of this exciting new ministry! Thomai Gatsogiannis already told me she will make a pita for each meal we have! If others want to make something to add to our meals, let me know!
Having talked with those who run the soup kitchens at the other churches, I’ve heard over and over again what an incredible blessing this is not only for the people who come to eat, but also to the community that offers this meal. We will experience the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
I’ve also heard how this is a ministry not only about giving a warm, delicious meal to people in need, but it is a wonderful opportunity to just sit with others, talk with them, get to know them, and share God’s love in a concrete way. Some people who will come will be looking for a good meal. Others will come simply because they want loving fellowship. Whatever the reason, we will be there to see Christ in the face of each person. As Jesus said, “I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me to drink. [I was lonely and you spent time with me.] Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.”
Looking back at the summer, thank God we had some beautiful experiences as a church family. I want to thank all those who participated on and who supported our Project Mexico team. You can read the reflections of team members and see pictures on pages 6-9. It was truly a blessed experience, and this has been a special part of our church family for the past 12 years. In October, we will have our annual Pantry Drive where we want to collect 40 boxes of supplies for St Innocent Orphanage. Please help us out once again!
With love and gratitude in Christ Jesus our Lord,