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Fr. Hector's Message

Dear Beloved Annunciation Family,
The beginning of the year always starts with a “Bang” in the life of the Church, with the clergy driving day and night to bring the Grace of Theophany to as many homes as possible with a house blessing and pastoral visit. This year, with the help of our newly ordained Fr. Theodosios, we were able to bless around 300 homes in the parish by the grace of God! It was a blessing to connect with so many of our families in the personal setting of your homes. Having been blessed by God, now it’s time for us to work side by side to carry out the work God has in store for us during the coming new year!

Let’s review some of the parish and ministry highlights for the upcoming year:

Worship
Everything we do in the life of the Church is nurtured and empowered through our worship of God. Just as our heart pumps the blood we need through out bodies for survival and strength, worship is the heart of everything we do in the life of the Church — pumping the blood of Christ throughout the entire Body of the Church, which empowers us to do the work of God and which sanctifies us and those whom we minister.

Opportunities for worship include the Wednesday evening Paraklesis service, Vespers on Saturday evenings, weekday Liturgies, Lenten services, and of course the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy which is the pinnacle worship experience in our Church.

Our goal is to encourage as much engagement as possible in our worship services, which is why we are actively recruiting newer members to join our choir with John Scanlon (choir practices are every Sunday morning at 8:45 AM) and our Byzantine Choir with Daniel Blain. Daniel has regular practices with the adult Byzantine Choir and will continue to offer introductory Byzantine music classes for beginners. A women’s Byzantine choir (using western scores) is also beginning this year and will be preparing to chant the Liturgy antiphonally with the men’s choir on designated Sundays. Please reach out to me or Daniel if you are interested in joining!

Our new iconography will continue into the Nave of the church this Spring and Fall as we continue to enhance our worship experience by adorning our worship space with the heavenly presence of our Saints and Angels who are invisibly present with us and worshipping with us at every church service. More information and details about the next phase of the iconography project are forthcoming.

Also, the clergy and parish council are working closely with Paul Benos to upgrade the Livestream and sound quality of our church services, and the new system is on target to be implemented by mid March.

Stewardship
Under the guidance of chairperson Niko Veronis and our Stewardship Committee, we had a record year of stewardship giving at Annunciation Church in 2019. We thank you! If worship provides us with the vision and energy to carry out our ministries in 2020 and beyond, strong and healthy stewardship giving provides the resources to build up and equip the members of the parish to fulfill our mission in Christ. The more stewardship grows, the more our possibilities expand to carry out God’s work and to shine more brightly as Christ’s Light in the world. We thank you for your generous stewardship giving which will continue to grow as our love for Christ and His Church grows.

Education Committee
One of the characteristics of a thriving parish is that its religious education efforts emphasize the continuing faith formation of the adult church members in addition to the spiritual formation of its children through Sunday School and other youth programs.

The Education Committee, under the leadership of Dr. Tom Miller, continues to explore new opportunities to nurture the faith formation of our adults. On the next page, you will see a summary of our established Bible Studies which have been nurturing the faith of our adults for decades. In the pages of this Annunciator edition, you will also learn about emerging groups, retreats, and opportunities to grow in our Orthodox Faith:

  • Plugged-In Group meets Sundays after Liturgy and is led by Dr. Tom, Dr. Zervanos, Jay Lampart, and other lay leaders, exploring a variety of topics related to the Orthodox Faith.
  • Study of the Ancient Church Fathers also meets after Liturgy and is led by Dr. Ed Blain, focusing on the reading of Ancient Christian writers from the second century.
  • Orthodox Parenting Virtual Conference is a free webinar being offered on Saturday, February 8, from 12-4 pm, featuring well-known Orthodox speakers from around the country, include two of our recent Advent Retreat speakers: Dr. Philip Mamalakis and Elissa Bjeletich. You may participate in this virtual conference by logging onto www.orthodoxparenting.com on Feb. 8.
  • Monthly Bereavement Support Group will be starting on Thursday, February 27, from 7:00—8:30 PM. This group will be led by Patti Anewalt from Hospice Pathways of Lancaster and other clergy and lay leaders of our parish. (more on pg. 13)
  • Lenten Retreat with Dn. Stephen Muse on Friday evening, March 27 @ 7:00 PM and Saturday morning and afternoon, March 28, dealing with the topics of Human Suffering from an Orthodox Christian perspective.
  • Facing Forward: An Orthodox Christian Retreat for Adults at the Antiochian Village (May 28-31) dealing with issues of parenting adult children and caring for aging parents. Online registration at: https://store.ancientfaith.com/facing-forward-2020.

Service and Outreach

  • Off the Streets: Check the parish calendar for outings every fifth Saturday and contact Joanne Martin for more information. (more on pg. 12)
  • Shoes for Kenya: The 11-12 grade Sunday School Classroom is leading an effort to college gently used shoes and sneakers for Kenya, as our parish works with Bishop Neofitos. (more on back page)
  • Project Mexico: Annunciation Church will be sending 25 volunteers to Project Mexico this summer from July 28—August 3. Support them generously with your prayers and financial contributions! (more on pg. 10)

Building Committee
Under the leadership of our Parish Council President, Dr. Spencer Phillips, we will be making important upgrades to our church facilities to accommodate and enhance the ministries of our church.

  • Bathroom Addition: The contract has been signed with Kautz Construction and final permits are being obtained to begin breaking ground and construction for the new bathrooms.
  • Classroom and Social Hall Renovations will be underway to further enhance our educational ministries. Parishioners will have the opportunity to support these exciting projects by making financial donations in memory of loved ones.

There is nothing more fulfilling and inspiring than carrying out the work of God side by side! Glory to God!

Connect with Us

We encourage you to contact us with questions, concerns and feedback

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
64 Hershey Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603

Phone: (717) 394-1735
Fax: (717) 394-0991


Weekday Office Hours: 8AM-4PM

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