Rectors Annual Report January 2015
By Father Andrew Harrison
Orthodox Christian Clergy Association - Vice President
This report that follows is the report I submitted to the Diocese for 2014. Rather than repeating the information, I will just update it below.
Highlights of Top Three Activities
Provide Food & Shelter for the Homeless (PADS) – Total 480 Women and Children housed and fed during season once a week from October to May. Food teams from 5 Christian Churches.
Outreach and Charitable Activities
Donations given to the following charities through offering and 100 % matching grants: Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) Mission Fund, IOCC, Ancient Faith Radio, PADS Floyd Franz long term Missionary in Romania, Assisting Wounded Vets, Coptic Orphans, St. Jude’s Hospital, Prevention Abortion South Suburban, Journey Hub, YOCAMA Indian Mission team, St. Elisabeth Convent-Belarus, Hogar Raphael Orphanage-Guatemala total $17,000+given.
Major Challenges Faced
Correct building exit codes and expand the present church building. Projected cost $375,000 The Project is on hold until the encroachment issue with the Forest Preserve Land is resolved Building mortgage was paid off as of Sept 1.
Upcoming Special Events/Anniversaries - October 2013 to September 2014
St. Luke Feast day and 30th Anniversary planned for October 18-19 with ordination of John Segvich to deaconate, Peter Tatoolas to subdeaconate. Readers Tonchered: Mark Olson, Steve Hansen, Annual September 11 Memorial.
As you see in the report above, I reported a membership of 124: 12 seniors under nursing care and 4 College students whom we cover for the diocesan assessment. Total Sunday attendance has shown a small decline since 2011. It has decreased from last year’s report of 112 to106. Weekday Liturgies and Saturday Vespers are about the same as last year. We have 5 chanters who chant the Sunday morning Matins. The Tuesday and Thursday morning prayer group has shown a slight increase in attendance. We may move to an earlier time or different days We had 3 baptisms, 1 wedding and 4 funerals. Because of your commitment to the Christian work of our parish, our total operating budget has increased to $252,000.
This year I had the privilege of being spiritual leader of a mission trip to Hogar Raphael in Guatemala. The program was organized by Michaelyn Sloan. We had 8 from St. Luke and 2 from other parishes. The team was split up into different projects from moving tiles to cleaning fish ponds to crafting classes. I was able to repair some plumbing leaks. The highlight of the mission experience was hearing the Spanish worship services sung by the children of the Orphanage. They know the services by heart. We were able to do some site seeing, traveling to Antigua for dinner and shopping. We took the children to the zoo which was paid for by your donations. We thank all who supported this mission trip. We have registered for next June to take a team of ten. Michaelyn Sloan, David Velazquez and myself will be traveling to Hogar for a lecture on drug abuse and we are planning to visit Mayan villages who have newly converted to Orthodoxy.
Jill Olson is now our PADS site manager and I am responsible for the laundry. I take dirty laundry to Christ Hospital every week and return with clean laundry. I can always use help. I am also available as backup when a shift has not been filled. I covered one 3 am to 7 am shift so far this year. Jill has been doing a wonderful job scheduling volunteers but it is still a daunting job finding enough volunteers. Posters were placed in local Orthodox churches. This can be expanded. If we do not get the support we will not be able to continue. Last year two churches dropped out of PADS and were not filled when the season began. The homeless had to sleep outside for one night.
The congregation now is responsible for singing of the Liturgy. I have noticed that not everyone is using the Orthodox hymnals. The majority of you are singing. We would like have 100 percent participation. The choir continues to practice and we always can use new chanters and choir members.
George Poulos and Nick Lisowski have continued to hang new printed murals. We now have completed the lower part of the right side and behind the iconastas. We have been able to hang them at a reduced cost of $200.00 each. The other side of Old Testament subjects will be completed in 2015. These will be removable if the expansion project is approved. We are also hanging a large mural of Divinci’s Last supper to enhance the fellowship hall.
The Parish Council under the leadership of Steve Hansen has continued to follow your decision to expand the church facility. Steve’s report explains the Council’s reasons for the funding changes and the reason why the project is on hold. If we can resolve the issues with the parking lot and the forest Preserve we could start construction in the Spring or there will be no construction at all.
This year in adult education we added the Mens Theological ministry under the leadership of Theo Poulos. This has been a long time in coming. We have covered several complex theological subjects and discussed relevant t social issues. Since some of our discussions have dealt with personal issues, we like to keep a level of confidentiality. Men are invited to attend and share their issues and religious questions.
The highlight of the year was the celebration of our 30th Anniversary. I want to personally thank Diane Wilczak and all who made the day a great success. The commemorative book will be published soon. I hope it will be distributed by this annual meeting. Allison De Young and George Poulos are to be commended for the photos and graphic art. I want to call attention to the excellent historical narrative compiled by Stea Zekios. When you read it you will surprised with all the accomplishments of our parish. Bishop Paul and Bishop Irenei both commented on the unity in love that was expressed.
On January 20th I submitted my letter for retirement to our newly consecrated Bishop Paul, our dean, Fr. Thomas Mueller and the Parish Council. The official date I gave is Dec 1st. I will have completed 20 years as your spiritual father. Bishop Paul assured me he will work with the parish to find a suitable candidate. I will be available to guide the new priest and help through his orientation but as St. John the Baptist said about Christ “He must increase and I must decrease. I do not plan to leave the area at this time.
The parish is generally doing very well. The membership has increased to 124 with 67 registered church school children. We had the ordination of a new deacon, subdeacon and three readers. Total giving in support of the ministries and charity have significantly increased. Our Lord has blessed us and we are using his blessings for the building up of His Church. Much of this report has been the work of you, our members. Please read the reports for more details. I pray for and commend Rdr Steven Hansen, Council Lay Chairman, the Parish Council members, and all of you. May our Lord grant you Many Years.