UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF DEVELOPMENT
Stewardship Workshop: Igniting a Flame...
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9)
For many of our ancestors and family members, the fall months were a time of hard labor followed by the intense relief and joy of a bountiful harvest. For a growing number of the clergy and laity of our Holy Church, the autumn of 2014 will be remembered as a time when the seeds of renewal were sown in preparation for the harvest of revitalization and rebirth in our parishes.
In the course of only three months the Consistory Office of Stewardship will sponsor three seminars led by Mr. William Marianes, a member of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, a dynamic lay leader and teacher who serves as legal consultant to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA.
Mr. Marianes has traveled over 160,000 miles to inspire and energize thousands of church leaders throughout the United States - leading to outstanding improvements in many aspects of their parish life. His program Igniting the Flame of True Orthodox Christian Stewardship provides a dynamic, inspirational, step-by-step educational and interactive experience that effectively teaches participants how to implement a successful stewardship strategy at the parish level.
The first seminar was held in September at the Metropolia Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and was attended by over forty lay members and clergy representing 14 different parishes of our Metropolia. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and His Grace Bishop Daniel welcomed Mr. Marianes to the Church’s Spiritual Center and began the sessions of the day with a Prayer Service in front of the South Bound Brook icon of the “First Fruits”, which depicts Sts. Volodymyr and Olga holding a small version of the Church of the Tithes – Desyatyna Tserkva – in Kyiv, which was built by St Volodymyr as a portion of his tithing to the Lord. The caption on the icon reads: "As an offering of the first-fruits, we raise up a temple to glorify Your Mother, O Christ our God, as you renew our hearts."
As a result of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participants, a second seminar is scheduled on November 15, 2014 at Sts. Peter and Paul UOC in Carnegie, PA. These dynamic sessions are at times both sobering and but also uplifting, as success and improvements are guaranteed if we are committed to implementing positive changes.
Mr. Marianes also led an intensive all-day session during the annual Clergy Conference in October. Our clergy were challenged to embrace a renewal of their sacred ministries in the spirit of Christ’s command to the Apostles as reported in the Gospel: "Go therefore, make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28). One clergyman noted that the thought-provoking and inspiring session was very best presentation he had experienced in decades.
These practical and spiritually based approaches ask us to break the chains of ineffective and stagnant practices and to reset the focus of parish life. By adopting the processes presented, we will revitalize those activities which are central to our Church's mission as received from Christ and we will reestablish our houses of worship as the focal point of our lives. These sessions are a solemn and urgent call to action that will produce a bountiful harvest from our labor to make thoughtful and prayerful changes within our parishes.
Fanning the Flame
The Office of Stewardship, with the support of the Council of Bishops and other Offices of the Consistory, is currently planning additional seminars to occur in the coming months for the faithful in the following areas: southern California, upstate New York and New England and our own St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, MD.
A UOC Stewardship Advisory Committee is also being formed to provide support and resources to our parishes in the process of their own stewardship growth, and, to explore additional tactics in which the entire Church can further benefit from these enlightening perspectives.
If you have any questions, would like to receive additional information about the Stewardship initiatives or would like to participate on the Stewardship Advisory Committee, please contact Fr. Robert Holet, Office of Stewardship Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 973-2500.