St. Luke Parish: The Next Step
By Mike Bauml
During my six-year term as lay chairperson, many things have happened
in the development of the Saint Luke parish. Obviously with the new construction in
progress, much is still happening.
I have come to the realization that a parish is much like any
individual. It is in a constant state of flux and change. People come and people
go. Some draw closer to their faith and others take a step back. Each decision that we
make as individuals and as a parish, each program we implement, each church function,
each church service either moves us further along our path or causes us to regress. As
individuals we can grow and flourish, or we can become stagnant and wither away. So to
it is with our parish.
The new building will provide desperately needed space and facilities.
Over the past two years, we have reorganized our parish council to better accommodate our
ministries, developed a mission and vision statement, and implemented a strategic plan.
We are presently reaching out to others through our evangelism programs,
charity contributions, and our website on the Internet. From our humble beginning, we've
come a long way to become a thriving parish. In some ways I feel that when the new
building is completed, it will be like we've graduated from college! But now it's time to
get to work.
Since all good things come from God, we must begin with prayer. Let
each of us ask God for the strength and determination to do what needs to be done, the
wisdom to know what needs to be done, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to do what has
to be done.
These past 18 years have been a preparation for this moment in time. St.
Luke parish stands poised for the future and that future is all about opportunities. What
will we do with these opportunities? After all, we are answerable to God, our children,
our children's children, and ourselves.
Our vision and mission statements indicate that we want to be an icon
of an American Orthodox Church and to bring people of all backgrounds to Christ. We have
been working towards that goal. Although we have a long way to go, in many ways we are
becoming that icon. We have services in English and parishioners with a wide diversity of
cultural backgrounds. So we are a melting pot of Orthodoxy just as America is the cultural
melting pot of the world.
St. Luke parish represents the Orthodox Faith with an American flavor.
St. Luke and other parishes like it are very essential to the growth of Orthodoxy in our
country. We need to renew our efforts to reach out not only to other Orthodox and
non-Orthodox Christians, but also to those who have not yet found God or have pulled
away from Him. The new building complex will help in this effort by providing the
necessary facilities for programs that will reach out to all who respond to our
We have been blessed and given much. Therefore, much is expected of us.
It is time for us to step up and be the icon of an American Orthodox Church that we say we
want to be. We each need to reach out to all souls, even those that have lifestyles that
are different from ours. There is much work to do and it will require sacrifices from
each one of us in terms of our time, talent, and treasure.
I can envision an America where every person who is called to worship
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has the opportunity to experience the fullness of our
Orthodox Faith. We are only on this earth for a short time. The work we need to do is for
the glory of God. So let's make every day count for Him.
A new year, a new millennium, a new building! St. Luke parish stands at
the brink of a new era and the possibilities are endless. Will we be leaders or followers?
Will we continue to grow and flourish or become complacent and wither away? The ball is in
our court. With God's help and guidance, let's pick it up and run with it! It may not
always be easy, but it will lead us to ultimate Joy.