Parish Mission Statement:
To follow God's commandments, and to fulfill our calling as the Church of God by cooperating with Him to spread and live out that Faith which shines forth from His Holy Body.
The Church is here
1. To live the Life in Christ as members of His Body in continuity of faith, hope, and love with all faithful of every time, place, and generation in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, "Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13.8).
2. To proclaim the Gospel (good news) of our Lord Jesus Christ to everyone that we meet, to some in word and to others in kind actions, and to promote a complete Orthodox Christian world-view, and to adhere to and uphold the principles of the Orthodox Faith safeguarded and handed down to us by the Holy Spirit from our Lord and His Apostles (Mk. 16.15-16ff).
3. To be open to all who are searching for that Body which is historically and verifiably the full continuation of the Church of the Apostles where they may find the fullness of the Faith as it has been handed down by the Lord (1 Tim. 3.15, 2 Thess. 2.15). For He has given us to know and participate in the Mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13.11). "For we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rules of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory....But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God...we have received the Spirit which is from God...that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God" (1 Cor. 2.7ff). We are told in Scripture that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," which is found in "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3.5,15), the same Church which is "His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1.23).
4. To bring all those who are are thirsty for the waters of life closer to the Lord, and to those who are willing to lovingly and openly receive them into His Body, the Church, "that they may have life, and have it more abundantly" (John 10.10).
5. To be a parish that embraces all ages, ethnicities, and races within our local context (Rev. 14.6,1 Cor. 9.21ff, Gal. 3.8, 2.14, Col. 3.11, 1 Cor. 12.13, )"the married and unmarried"so that whole families and individuals meet together to form a greater family in the Lord, providing a locus of grace and receptivity in which all members minister unto one another according to their needs (no, it is not simply the priest's job!). We follow God, who loves everyone equally and unites differing national groups from "every nation, tribe, tongue, and people" (Rev. 14.6) into one Church, which is His body.
6. The Orthodox family is the "little Church,"a manifestation of the greater Church family and thus the Church is also here to promote a complete Orthodox Christian way of life in family practices, such as showing God's love, doing good to one another, helping one another, prayer, self-discipline, and teaching children self-discipline. Parents, sacrifice your time for your children and spouse, for everyone to flee from the selfishness of the world, and to the Savior of the world.
7. To maintain the heritage of traditional Christian culture and to provide the foundation for a fully Christian way of life of discipleship, prayer, fasting, almsgiving and community founded on and nourished by the holy Mysteries and the liturgical life of the holy Church.
8. To be, above all, a Eucharistic community (John 15.4-11): making manifest the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; worshipping the Holy Trinity in spirit and truth; and seeking to know God in order to be conformed to Christ's example of true humanity and to be transformed to become partakers of the Divine Nature (2 Pet. 1.3,4), that we might receive His joy, and that our "joy may be full" (John 15.11).
9. For this Faith and this Church martyrs have given their lives through the centuries. It is the Church that was built upon the Rock that is Christ, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail (Matt. 16.18). It is this Church that has kept intact that which it has received from the beginning (1 Tim. 3.15).
10. To Preserve, foster and perpetuate the Orthodox Faith
11. To give financial and energetic support to liturgical, educational, and other spiritual activities providing necessary buildings for the worship of God and any appurtenant annexes or additions and materials as may be pertinent or pursuant to the purposes of our parish as a member of the Body of Christ.
12. To admit persons of the Orthodox faith through the sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation, and Communion according to the rites of the Church and usher them through life according to the teachings, discipline and Holy Traditions of the Orthodox Church.
13. Practice charity according ot the high ideals of the Christian religion and, to the extent feasible, lend support to all causes of benefit to our community, state, and nation.
14. To pray for the hierarchy of the Church and obey them in accordance with Hebrews 13.7 and 13.17, and to show mutual submission one to another in love for Christ.
Therefore as a parish of Christ's Church we have no other choice than to commit ourselves:
- To obey God's commandments toward the Church as expressed in Scripture and Tradition. Examples of commandments directed toward the parish as a group are as follows:
1a. Live the Life in Christ: "Eat my body" and "drink my blood" "repent," "do good," "do charitable deeds...pray...and...fast", "do good to all, especially those of the household of Faith" "bear one another's burdens"
1b. Spread the Faith, which includes growth of parish, diocese, and Orthodox Christianity in general: "Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded" (Matt. 28.19-20) and "Preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk 16). Growth of diocese (members one of another)--i.e. in locality. Not in vacuum. St. John Chrysostom says that each parish is a member of a diocese, and thus is a member of the body, each member building up to be One Body of Christ throughout the world.
1c. "As much as possible leave peaceably with all men, as much as depends on your part"
1d. Honor and pray for the hierarchy Heb. 13.7,.17
1e. "Honor the ruler"--respect the civil authorities and abide by the laws of the land inasmuch as they establish peace and good order.
1f. "Come, follow me." Be more concerned about Christ's will than our own agendas
2. To constantly search for and affirm God's will in our lives by always seeking to learn more about our Faith, to always seek to live it in our lives, by attending and paying attention to the services, praying, reading/learning about Scripture, lives of the Saints, the Church Fathers, Church history, and other such practices.
3. Charity: First and foremost "charity begins at home." "Do good and share" (Heb. 13.16) As the family is the little Church, acts of love and support to family and expressing this as an aspect of the Faith is one of the first acts of Charity. This extends to the greater parish family, and to the Diocese, Metropolia, and Orthodoxy in general. From here, we as a Church also reach out. We do food drives and have a food pantry and an alms box. But there are other things to be done as well. To give our time as a community and as individuals to those around us volunteering in various capacities, and donating time, goods or funds. This also involves sacrificing. If we do not have the money to donate or to give to those in needwe fast from certain self-indulging pleasures for a time so that we are able to give to others.
4. To pray as a church, as families within the church, and as individuals
5. Feasting and Fastin: as a parish, we celebrate the life that God gives us as individuals and as a community. We do this above all beginning with the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, which starts every week off on a celebratory note. We commit ourselves to celebrate Christ in our lives with joy in the feasts. At the same time, we also encourage each other virtue and self-control, not exposing ourselves to things that harm our soul and refraining from over-indulging in food, alcohol, gambling, etc. This teaches us to be able to celebrate with joy Christ in our midst even when there is no "earthly satisfaction" of food, drink, and other "indulgences." The key is to avoid the sinful extremes of over-indulgence and self-deprivation which is harmful to the body (although physical discomfort at times builds character, such as working hard on a worthwhile project, anything which is harmful to the body is not in God's plan).
6. To reach out to the Orthodox Christians in nearby communities, and make our parish community fully accessible to them.
7. To care for those of our own parish in spirit and body
8. To reach out and care for the greater community around us. This means sharing our rich customs and practices that we have received with the parish's founders so that they can continue them in their lives, but this also means, reciprocally, being opened to learning cultural dynamics from which they come and welcoming their expression of them, so long as in no way they conflict with the Faith itself. In this way we will pave the way to the preservation of rich customs which might otherwise die out preserve the richness of each other's backgrounds
9. To go and make disciples of all who are around us, witnessing to our Orthodox Faith. This is a matter of both principle and of practicality. Without this dynamic, the church will eventually close and the faith will die and we will all be held accountable before the throne of God for such a grievous neglectful sin. For every soul that we could have saved and didn't, we will be held accountable, for "judgment begins at the house of God," and "what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God" (1 Pet. 4.17)
Go and preach the gospel to every creature "Go and make disciples of all nations" teaching them to observe Christ's commandments. We are responsible not simply for the growth of our parish, but also for the growth of Orthodoxy (in fact, the former is simply a result of the latter), and our lack of concern for the one will result in a lack of fruit in the other. As Orthodox Christians we believe that the Orthodox Faith is a gift from God to all of mankind, and it is our job to make it accessible to them.