The Promise -April 2012

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Newsletter from the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Westfield, New Jersey

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<ul><li><p>April 2012 ^ Volume 36, Issue 4</p><p>HOLY TRINITY GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH</p><p>WESTFIELD ^ NEW JERSEY</p><p>HtgocWestfield@htgocnj.org 908-233-8533 holytrinitywestfield.org</p><p>PromiseThe</p><p>Wait for the promise of the Father 1</p><p> THE REVEREND PETER DELVIZISMy dearest brothers and sisters in the Lord,</p><p>Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen! ! !</p><p>Together as a family of believers we fi nd ourselves in the midst of the Paschal celebration. For forty days, until May 23, we greet one another with this faithful address confessing the joys of Christs Resurrection.</p><p>By sharing this unique greeting with another on a personal level, we bind ourselves together in the Orthodox faith by succinctly describing the glorious empty tomb from which our salvation has sprung. This faithful exchange also becomes an affi rmation of faith, as it speaks loudly of Gods immeasurable love for us.</p><p>These are not empty words but the very foundation of our faith summarized in a short phrase. When we </p><p>say, Christ is risen, we automatically think of Christs victory over death. Perhaps we see Him coming forth </p><p>victoriously leaving the tomb. But the concept of Christs Resurrection is not fully understood </p><p>unless we add ourselves to this event. If we look at the icon of the Resurrection, we see Christ not as an isolated man by Himself, but rather as the Lord who grants Resurrection to the fallen. </p><p>We see Christ destroying the very gates of Hades and bestowing new life upon our fi rst parents, Adam and Eve. This same gift is offered to the prophets, kings and people of the Old Testament. So too, at this present hour is the gift of Christs glorious Resurrection being offered to us. Let us picture ourselves as </p><p>participants in Christs Resurrection. </p><p>Upon seeing all, let us confession the belief of the Church and profess it to be ours by saying, </p><p>Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen! ! ! ^</p><p>CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY, HE IS RISEN! ! !The Paschal Joy</p><p>THE GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA</p><p>Easter Sunday bursts forth with all its glorious and resplendent rays of light. The beauty emanating from the empty tomb dispels the darkness and fi lls the hearts of all believers. This is the most ancient and preeminent festival, Pascha, the Feast of Feasts! In these days, Death is swallowed up in victory and life is liberated. Pascha is the dawning of a new and unending day, as it constitutes the most radical and decisive deliverance of humankind.</p><p>The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the fundamental truth and absolute fact of the Christian faith. It is the central experience and essential kerygma (message) of the Church. It confi rms the authenticity of Christs </p><p>remarkable earthly life and vindicates the truth of His teaching. Christs Resurrection is the guarantee of our salvation. </p><p>For the faithful, we know that the Resurrection of Christ has not yet abolished the reality of death but it has revealed its powerlessness. Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of fl esh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and released those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15.</p><p>We continue to die but this physical death does not destroy our life of Pag. 3</p></li><li><p>Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church ^ Westfield, New Jersey2 The Promise ^ April 2012 ^ Volume 36, Issue 4</p><p>April - MayDates in the Life of Our Church</p><p>THE GREAT &amp; HOLY PASCHA11:00 AM Agape Vespers</p><p>Bright MondayThe church of ce closed</p><p>11:00 AM Trinity Circle4:00 PM Greek School4:00 PM Greek School</p><p>The Life-giving Spring8:30 AM Orthros9:30 AM Divine Liturgy9:00 AM District Oratorical Festival</p><p>Sunday of St. Thomas8:15 AM Orthros9:30 AM Divine Liturgy</p><p>12:45 PM Jr Greek Dance1:00 PM Baptism8:00 PM NNJYC meeting</p><p>4:00 PM Greek School</p><p>10:00 AM TOTS</p><p>4:00 PM Greek School7:30 PM Choir practice12 Noon Baptism3:30 PM Wedding</p><p>Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women8:15 AM Orthros9:30 AM Divine Liturgy</p><p>12:45 PM Jr Greek Dance1:00 PM Baptism</p><p>4:00 PM Greek School7:00 PM Philoptochos Board meeting4:00 PM Greek School7:30 PM Choir practice</p><p>Sunday of the Paralytic8:15 AM Orthros9:30 AM Divine Liturgy</p><p>12:45 PM Jr Greek Dance1:00 PM Baptism4:00 PM Greek School7:30 PM Parish Council meeting</p><p>Mid-Pentecost8:30 AM Orthros9:30 AM Divine Liturgy</p><p>10:00 AM TOTS6:00 PM Philoptochos Fashion Show4:00 PM Greek School7:30 PM Choir practice</p><p>Mothers Day8:15 AM Orthros9:30 AM Divine Liturgy</p><p>Mother and Grandmother Presentations</p><p>12:45 PM Jr Greek DanceMetropolis of New Jersey Clergy-LaityMetropolis of New Jersey Clergy-Laity</p><p>6:00 PM Grand BanquetMetropolis of New Jersey Clergy-Laity</p><p>11:00 AM Trinity Circle4:00 PM Greek School4:00 PM Greek School7:30 PM Choir practice7:30 PM Cultural Committee speaker</p><p>THUR10</p><p>THUR26</p><p>WED9</p><p>SAT28</p><p>THUR3</p><p>MON16</p><p>SUN22</p><p>THUR19</p><p>MON23TUE24WED25</p><p>TUE1</p><p>SUN29</p><p>THUR8</p><p>FRI20</p><p>TUE17</p><p>SUN6</p><p>SUN13</p><p>MON14</p><p>FRI18</p><p>TUE15</p><p>GREAT &amp; HOLY PASCHA-SUN15</p><p>SAT21</p><p>THUR17</p><p>CHURCHINGSSun., March. 11Andreas ConstantineSon of Melissa &amp; Constantine Krikos</p><p>WEDDINGSSaturday, February 25,Aurora Brown&amp; Constantine Galaris</p><p>FUNERALSMon., February 13^ Irene Stampoulos</p><p>Sacraments &amp; Rites</p></li><li><p>Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church ^ Westfield, New Jersey The Promise ^ April 2012 ^ Volume 36, Issue 4 3</p><p>Parish Council - 2012</p><p> THEODORE DEMETRIOU, PRESIDENT</p><p>TWe are well into the yearevery organization is humming with activityyouth: volley ball and basketball, sights &amp; sounds; Joy/Hope and TOTS programs. Plenty of cultural events and even the ordination of a priestDeacon Gregory became Reverend Father Gregory Rubis. Father Peter became Protopresbyter and the community gave him a Pectoral Cross in recognition of this honor.</p><p>On May 31st we will hold our Greek Fest running through June 3rd, under the leadership of Peter Ladas and Michael Savva. I urge ALL parishioners to volunteer their time, </p><p>talent and treasure. This is an opportunity for you to work alongside your neighbors and to meet and make new friends.</p><p>A major area of concern is the stewardship program. Traditionally we have sought to have our stewardship collection cover our entire normal operating expenses. Based on the pledge card totals received, to date, we are not reaching those levels. We are addressing this matter of concern at this time. Nevertheless, we are confi dent that we will meet this challenge.</p><p>On behalf of the Parish Council I wish all of you a blessed Easter season, for this is the highlight of our ecclesiastical year. ^</p><p>Pag.1 THE GREAT AND HOLY PASCHAcommunion with God. Rather, we move from death to life; from this fallen world to Gods reign.</p><p>For those on either side of death, Christ has become, to those that believe, Life. The miracle of Pascha, with its promise and gift of eternity and plenitude, is always accessible to everyone. Christs Resurrection discloses the condition and quality of this Resurrectional Life. In the age to come, the faithful will not be restored simply to his present state. The person of faith will be brought into a new mode of existence, into something better and more perfect. So also is the Resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.</p><p>Through His exemplary life on earth Christ revealed the value of our earthly life for the achievement of salvation. Through His Resurrection He disclosed the ultimate worth and value of creation and affi rmed its fundamental goodness. We are not saved from the material world but with it. The whole body of creation rises by anticipation in Christs body. Christs body was not merely resuscitated. At the Resurrection it was radically transformed and freed from all limitation. It was exalted and glorifi ed. Thus, the Resurrection constitutes the token of the glorious transfi guration of the world, and not it negation. The age to come will reveal the comprehensive renovation and glorifi cation of the whole of creation, and not its annihilation. The universe was created by Christ. It belongs to Him. It is His gift of life to us. Therefore, it belongs to us as well as coheirs of Christ. Fr. Alkiviadis C. Calivas, Great Week and Pascha in the Orthodox Church. ^</p></li><li><p>Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church ^ Westfield, New Jersey4 The Promise ^ April 2012 ^ Volume 36, Issue 4</p><p> JAMES C. FOUNTAS,CHAIRMAN STEWARDSH IP COMMITTEE</p><p>The following information describes the mechanics of giving and sheds more light on the Stewardship Program as it ought to be. Beyond this, however, we ask that you make a new commitment of yourselves as well as your fi nancial commitment. We need your help to both support our parish and to carry forth the message of salvation which comes from Christ our Lord.</p><p>The concept of Christian giving is the very essence of Church support. Each of us should return to the Lord a portion of our blessings so that the Church may continue to grow and provide a spiritual haven for the faithful. This concept of Christian Stewardship is not new to us.</p><p>A Church is not mortar and bricks but rather a meeting place for the faithful to gather together and drink from the cup of Life. Christ said, Whoever drinks from the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)</p><p>Our desire at Holy Trinity is to provide such a spring of water so that the faithful who are part of our beloved Church family may experience the joy of Jesus Christ and His promised blessings.</p><p>Twenty-six years ago in 1985 we adopted the program of Christian Stewardship Commitment as the vehicle of financial support for our parish. We know there are many of you who have lived this change, but as our community continues to grow there may be some who may have come from parishes where a dues system of fi nancial support existed.</p><p>Lets start by stepping back to the year 1985: As we proceeded through 1984, it was evident the fi nancial health of our parish was not good. There was a continuing fi nancial defi cit and it was getting larger. At that time we had a dues system which also incorporated a voluntary fair share pledge system. It was evident a change in the method of parishioners fi nancial giving to Church was required.</p><p>The Christian Stewardship Program is the best means through which the needs of our </p><p>Church can be faithfully fulfi lled with care, dignity and equity. We must also believe it is our personal obligation as committed Orthodox Christians and communicants to meet the needs of the Church, and this infers not only our parish, but the ministries of the Metropolis, Archdiocese of America and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.</p><p>Christian Stewardship charges us with the responsibility of sustaining the Church. It places the responsibility where it belongs in the hands of the parishioners. It is our responsibility. We should not have to rely on marketing our Church to others to be able to pay our operating expenses.</p><p>After many years of outstanding and s uccess f u l p e r for m a nce f rom t he </p><p>Stewardship Program at Holy Trinity, we currently fi nd giving patterns indicate the biggest part of the Churchs ministries and work is supported by a relatively small percentage of the total membership.</p><p>Consider the Following: In 1985, the parish of Holy Trinity was on a dues system of support. Family membership was $240 annually and $80 for Single membership. Now lets jump forward some 17 years, the equivalent in todays dollars is $520 and $175, respectively.</p><p>STEWARDSHIP STATISTICS 2011There were 626 Stewardship Pledge Commitments. The total of Stewardship Commitment Pledges for 2011 was $665 ,739. We experienced an unpaid balance of $23,621, for a net of $642,118.</p><p>Total Stewardship income for 2011 shown </p><p>on the annual Financial Statement as $696,883 includes contributions from parishioners who did not submit a Pledge commitment card and from cash donations in the collection trays.</p><p>The Stewardship budget for 2011 was $707,000 a mere 1.0% increase over the previous year of 2010. However, Stewardship income in 2011 decreased by $39,915 or 5.7% from the actual Stewardship income in 2010.</p><p>Statistics show 54% or 337 of our Stewards contribute less than $520 annually - the equivalent of the 1985 Dues of $240.</p><p>For the 496 Stewardship Commitments who pledged less than $1,000 annually, the average annual pledge is $419 or $8 per week.</p><p>STEWARDSHIP STATISTICS: 2012As of March 5, 2012 we have received 499 Stewardship Commitment Pledges with a pledged total of $517,697. </p><p>There have been 93 Commitment increases and 50 pledges which decreased from their 2011 commitment. The net from both is a $5.00 increase.</p><p>The 2012 Budget is based on a $710,000 Income from Stewardship </p><p>It becomes clear, as a parish, we are not supporting fully the work of our Church and must consistently rely on major contributors and funds raised outside the parish. All this means that with costs increasing, we as Orthodox Christians, responsible for maintaining Gods home have to face up to that responsibility and provide the necessary funds. We have much to be thankful for: a unifi ed community with a deep sense of purpose; Orthodox Christians with a faith deeply rooted in scripture and tradition; a church edifi ce which suggests to us the purpose of worship and prayer and much more which rounds out our relationships with fellow parishioners in social, athletic and cultural events.</p><p>You now know the needs of your Church. You know what you can do. Be Faithful, Be Honest. Prayerfully and sincerely contribute to the Stewardship Program to the best of your ability. ^</p><p>Everyones ResponsibilityChristian Stewardship</p></li><li><p>Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church ^ Westfield, New Jersey The Promise ^ April 2012 ^ Volume 36, Issue 4 5</p><p>Godparent &amp; GodchildSunday Communion Breakfast</p><p>Scenes from Godparent/Godchild Sunday. ANDREA CERINI</p><p>The annual Godparent/Godchild Communion Breakfast was held at Holy Trinity on February 12, the Sunday prior to Valentines Day. The church was over-fl owing with godparents with their godchildren. It was a beautiful sight. After godparents and godchildren received Holy Communion together they enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the Bouras Center. </p><p>Once again, sponsored by the Religious Education of Holy Trinity, Dino Genakos and his kitchen crew of Chris Kiriakatis, Greg Psomas and Ron Cerini outdid themselves preparing a delicious home cooked breakfast that included fresh fruit, perfectly scrambled eggs, ham, delicious bagels and pastry with many other wonderful treats. The sunny day seemed to shine directly on all the beautifully smiling faces of the friends and family of our Holy Trinity parish who gathered together for this lovely event. A special thank you is extended to all the volunteers who helped make this an extremely success day - Debbie and Megan Koutsaftes, Athena Vasilopoulos, Maya Djurasovic, Bill and Stacey Papalitskas and Michelle Kallinosis...</p></li></ul>