The Best Kept Secret?
Fr. Alexander Goussetis
A phrase that is often used to describe the Orthodox Christian Church in this country is "the best kept secret." I have found that to be a most annoying description. Why should our treasure of Orthodoxy be such a secret? Are we not called to share our faith with the world?
A recent publication by the Department of Outreach & Evangelism of our Archdiocese best captures the vision that each parish and each Orthodox Christian should strive for. Allow me to share excerpts of this wonderful pamphlet.
In the period from the Resurrection to Pentecost, the Sunday Epistle readings tell us of a community of believers who were so totally devoted to God that their life together was charged by the power of the Holy Spirit. They prayed and served together in true Christian fellowship, loving each other and sharing their lives with one another. People related in ways that blurred the lines of gender, race, and culture. Unbelievers coming into contact with this community of believers saw a vision of life that was so dynamic that they could not resist it. We read in Acts 2:47 that "the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." This is the Church that we as Orthodox Christians claim to be.
If we believe that in Orthodoxy we have the fullness of the Truth, then we have the great responsibility – the Great Commission – to share it with all people...
Outreach will require that we remind cradle Orthodox of the missionary nature of the Church, teaching them to welcome inquirers and converts, and to see them as an asset to the parish and our faith. Converts will grow to appreciate our historical and ancient Christian roots and will inspire others as they embrace the Orthodox faith...
Outreach is not a person, a committee, a mission center, or a project. Outreach is an attitude. Everything we do is an opportunity for outreach and evangelism...
I found these passages very inspirational. These words may help us to clarify our purpose and ministry as a parish. The establishment of a mission parish in northern Lancaster County is based on this command of Christ and His Church.
The Annunciation community has been blessed with a long and glorious past. May we be mindful of the potential and opportunities that the future holds, for the glory of God.