Rectors Annual Report January 2009
By Father Andrew Harrison
Other Activities - Member of Orthodox Christian Clergy Association-on the Sanctity of Life committee and attended a seminar on Suicide prevention, Lemont Clergy Association- Ecumenical Thanksgiving service and had services at the Lemont senior care facility, Lemont Police Chaplain-gave invocation at ground breaking ceremony for new police station. Civil Air Patrol Chaplain-monthly moral leadership classes and gave the invocation at the Middle Eastern War Memorial, Monthly ministry to the mentally challenged at the Garden Center, Team leader of 5 missionaries for a 30 day OCMC Youth Camp mission in Romania, Led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Sts Constantine and Helen. Preacher at Missionary Baptist church.
In 2008 we completed a planning workshop program which was begun in 2007 developed by the Diocesan Parish health Administrator (Joe Korma) The workshop was created in response to church planning programs which do not consider some of the unique challenges’ of an Orthodox Church. The test which we took in 2006 revealed we had high marks in all areas but could use improvement in three dimensions: Loving relationships, Passionate spirituality and holistic small groups. I reported last year on these dimensions and I believe we have continued to make progress.
The workshop developed by Joe Korma took a different approach. He developed 8 focos areas of a healthy Orthodox parish. They are: gospel centered vision, vibrant worship, shares leadership, open communication, authentic community, Christian formation, active service and spreading the gospel. Based on this model St. Luke is a healthy parish. The council members and team ministry leader reports reflect progress is all of these areas. The results have been continued growth in membership. This year I am reporting 115 adults and 60 children. We made up for those who have passed on and those who have moved. In addition to those who are listed as official members we still have an additional 45+ adults who are on our mailing list, attend but have not committed for membership for one reason or another. Steve Hansen reported we have average increase in Sunday attendance of 10 souls. We have two who are preparing for Chrismation in April. It seems every Sunday we more visitors.
This past year under the leadership of Steve Hansen, the council and ministry teams worked on my fourth anniversary and supported the mission to Romania. I want to commend them for the moving tribute to my Priesthood. I also want to thank Fr. Sloan, Fr. Nelson, Fr Herman for covering the parish while I was away on the mission. Allison Murphy and Clark Wilson should be mentioned for missionary activities in Romania and Tanzania. Certainly a high points for the year was our News Years party, the very wet Quad parish picnic and the Diocesan assembly which the Community team provided leadership for the south area parishes.
There have been some changes this year in ministry leadership. Maria Vraim retired as choir director. We will always remember her for 24 years of dedicated service. Katie Bern directed until Paulette Vasquez took over as our permanent director. Phillip Neznanov transferred to Palatine and was replaced as head of the property team by Mike Bauml. Pearl Homiak transferred to St. Barbara’s Monastery in California and was replaced by Tom Kosbiel as our homeless Hospitality minister. We replaced the liturgical readers who moved and added additional readers. This year Matuska Alexandra Lukashonak our Icon Lady, June Anderson and Sabine Casten both long time choir member fell asleep in the Lord. We will miss them.
During this our 25th anniversary year, the parish is facing several challenges which need to be considered in the short term, mid term and long term. These issues came out of our planning workshop with Joe Kormas. The most immediate challenge is that we are outgrowing our facilities. In the short term we have and will continue to reconfigure the seating arrangements so we can add 10 to 15 chairs per year for the next three years. We are increasing the size parking lot to handle more cars. We are still negotiating with the forest preserve for space. In the mid term we considered two Divine Liturgies on Sunday at 7 AM and 9:30 AM. The parish has given clearance to proceed by this has not yet been approved by Archbishop Job. There is also the consideration of a second priest. In the long term the establishment of a new mission in an area where we have parishioners possibly south of Interstate 80 should be persued. Expanding our present facilities was discussed as a long term project but zoning may be a deterrent.
The second challenge is my possible retirement. This came to a head with the sudden death of Fr. Stephen Karaffa pastor of St. Peter & Paul. My recommendation would be to begin the process to find an assistant priest. He would be charged with development the mission parish concept and to work with our growing church school program as a youth pastor.
Finally I commend all of you for your prayers and support during my surgery and travel. The priest is responsible for the souls of his parishioners and will be judged for that. You are responsible for caring for your Priest. My only concern would be to see more of you on time so you can hear my sermons and that you attend Vespers and feast day services more regularly.