“Lord, sanctify those who love the beauty of Your house.”
(Prayer of the Second Antiphon from the Divine Liturgy)
A MOMENTOUS YEAR—BEHIND AND AHEAD
This has been a remarkably challenging year. Never could we have imagined the events that took place these past twelve months—so much turmoil and uncertainty and change. Yet we must continue to hold firm to our trust in God’s providence. Just as He has carried us through these dark days, He will also guide us forward as we enter 2021.
This coming year is very important to our St. John community. In 2021, by God’s grace and through His providence, St. John will find its permanent home. This is the culmination of more than 20 years of maturation. God willing, our parish will put down roots at a property where our children and grandchildren will worship, where generations of seekers will walk through the doors to find the fullness of the Orthodox Christian Faith—seeking beauty and depth of worship, they will be awestruck by the palpable experience of sanctity within God’s holy temple.
THE GRACE OF A SANCTIFIED CHURCH
“On feast days… how is it that the very air at the altar and in the church become
light-bearing? This is the breath of Your grace, the glow of the light of Tabor.”
(Kontakion 9 from the Akathist of Thanksgiving)
This year, by God’s grace, St. John will establish permanence. We will build a God-pleasing holy church, to His glory, which will attract the wounded and broken souls in our midst, who yearn for communion with their Creator. Then one day our community will be blessed by the service of Consecration, during which the church is “baptized and chrismated,” receiving an immense outpouring of grace through the prayers of our hierarch and the placing of holy relics within the altar. This sanctified space will become filled with the Holy Spirit, alive with the presence of holy angels and saints—a structure which will stand for generations, inviting all into the blessedness of God’s holy ones.
Each of you will take part in this blessed journey into the fullness of an established Orthodox community. Your hands will labor and your hearts and mouths will pray. Your efforts will be written into the walls, and you will be eternally remembered in prayer in this community:
“Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable founders of this holy church”
(Litany of Fervent Supplication from the Divine Liturgy)
THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED, AND YET TO COME
Despite numerous hurdles during this past year, our St. John Site Committee has moved forward with the work which you, our parishioners, entrusted to it. The committee has contacted banks to find out what size of loan our parish budget could afford. They have also vetted commercial real estate brokers to find the best fit for our parish.
This month we will start working with a commercial real estate broker to
- look for our new and permanent home property and
- prepare our current property for being listed and sold.
Within the year both of these milestones could be achieved, God willing. This is very exciting but can also be anxiety-producing. Questions immediately come to mind: How will we continue to worship through these transitions? Where will I be driving to church? What will happen to Agia Sophia Academy? And many more questions.
I encourage you: Don’t be silent! Ask you questions to our site committee, co-chaired by Diane Cherry and Nathaniel Lubliner. Or ask me directly. This is a transparent process which will ultimately involve every parishioner. We want the parish to remain united as we enter this exciting new phase in the life of our St. John community. Your voice is important, just as it has been throughout the strategic planning process and the fireside meetings.
Please pray for our community—to our Lord Jesus Christ, His Mother, and our beloved patron, St. John the Baptist. Our parish needs divine wisdom and guidance.
Thank you for your continued participation in this important work. May God bless our community!