On the Summer Docket……..
While we all look forward to the summer months as a time to enjoy some rest and relaxation, vacations, day trips, baseball, cook-outs and picnics, gardening and yard work etc. etc. etc. we also realize it is the perfect time for recreation [ as in; regenerate, reform, renew] and we’ll be doing some of that here at St. George over the next couple of months. Here’s a few items on this summer’s docket
The ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN of ST. GEORGE
Last month over twenty women of the parish met at the home of Gladys Laham to discuss the purpose of a women’s organization in our parish. We wanted to revamp the ‘Ladies Society’ and redirect its mission to one more responsive to the needs of contemporary women. The discussion included reflections on the ministry of women in a modern Orthodox parish and their role in building up a dynamic community. Traditional programs were discussed and suggestions for new ministries were proposed. The conversation included reidentifying ourselves as the ‘women’ of St. George parish.
Several new faces contributed to the discussion including young married women with children and members from our recently arrived immigrant community, they all offered valuable insight into ways that women can contribute to the overall mission of the parish and help meet the needs and expectations of contemporary women, especially those with young families. Suggestions for creating expanded ministry included developing programs that address; prayer group, Orthodox parenting, Orthodox marriage, humanitarian outreach to the local community, visitation to shut-ins, guest speakers, parish retreats among other topics.
Deborah Laham created an informative brochure/survey to help assess existing programs and gauge their effectiveness. The survey is included in the July/August Summer Issue of the ‘Messenger’ and has appeared in recent Sunday bulletins. All women of the parish are asked to complete the survey and return it to the office or place it in the box provided at the ‘maridah’. A future survey will ask women to identify perceived needs and suggest specific areas where they may offer their service. Effective ministry can then be built around these service opportunities. This second survey should appear in September.
A follow-up meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, 28 June at church [has not yet happened at the time of publication] to continue our discussion and create a temporary steering committee to continue existing programs. Another meeting will be scheduled for early September to develop a clearer vision of purpose and set goals and expectations for our ministry. All women of the parish are encouraged to take part in these informative discussions as we explore new and enriching ways to expand meaningful ministry for the women of our parish. Please help us create a dynamic Women’s Organization at St. George that will positively impact the life of our parish through prayer, service, outreach, education and effective ministry. Help spread the word and invite a friend to join us.
The ST. GEORGE ‘PTO’
Our PTO [Parent Teachers Organization] held elections in June and welcomed their new slate of officers for the coming two-year term; President - Christina Marge; Vice-President – Salam Daboul; Treasurer – Danielle Maia; Secretary – Susan Saliba. We are very grateful to the outgoing officers; Ikram Easton, Vera Rubiez, Katherine Mowers and Dina Gray and commend them for their leadership and the very successful programs they organized these past two years, they will, of course, remain active in the PTO. A successful transition has already taken place and the new team is looking ahead to September for new programming to begin. Vera Rubiez will continue to represent the PTO at the Parish Council.
The PTO is the program and service arm of our Church School and offers opportunities for our children and their parents to celebrate and enjoy special Feasts, Holidays and other events throughout the year. In April, for example, they hosted Metropolitan +JOSEPH and presented a very successful ‘theme night’ centered on the life of St. George. They also presented the Metropolitan with a check for funds the PTO raised earmarked for the suffering children in Syria.
Every parent and teacher, by definition, is a member of the PTO and we strongly encourage our parents to assist our organization with its mission. Please attend our meetings [they are few and short – usually after church on Sundays] and join us in our programs. See one of our new officers and volunteer your talent and service – you’ll be glad you did
A search committee consisting of Fr. Nicholas, Michael Sassine, Dr. Fadi Metri, Eileen Saliba, Khalil Samara, Linda Ayoub, George Jreige, Michael Marge, Amal Hourani and Vera Rubeiz has been meeting over the past several months to review our ‘youth director’ position. Early on they redefined the position to include expanded responsibilities for education and young adult ministry.
A new and more professional looking job description was proposed to and accepted by the ‘ways and means committee’ and the ‘parish council’ with the new title ‘Pastoral Assistant’. The position is modeled after current trends in larger parishes to expand ministry to meet the needs of a growing community. The ‘job’ was posted in late April and we received eight applications by mid-June. After careful review of the applicants, the committee selected three qualified candidates for the position. One has since withdrawn his application and we will now enter conversation with the remaining two qualified candidates. After presenting our report to the ‘parish council’ on 26 June, we will begin the official interview process to select the most appropriate individual to serve as Pastoral Assistant at St. George. We anticipate completing this process over the summer and welcoming our new staff person by September.
PARISH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Earlier in the year, Dr. Antony Bashir and Richard Robbat visited the ‘parish council’ several times to present an overview of the program they conduct nationally for parish renewal. The program, presented over several days, is basically as a seminar for leaders of the parish to review and evaluate parish programs and church growth. After review and discussion, the ‘council’ has agreed to invite Richard and Tony to conduct the program here. Details for scheduling will be discussed at the 26 June meeting of the ‘council’. Hopefully, we will begin this process in September. Besides the members of the ‘council’, all officers of organizations and committees will be invited to participate in this series of seminars. Occasions such as this give us the opportunity to come together under the expert guidance of professionals such as Tony and Richard to evaluate our mission and explore new and dynamic ways to strengthen and grow our community. We look forward to this enriching program as we work over the summer to assure its success.
That’s just something of what we will concentrate on over the summer as we enjoy this season to ‘re-create’ and renew ourselves. Please show your support by encouraging and participating in these conversations aimed at stimulating the growth and vitality of St. George parish.
Blessings, Fr +Timothy