Question: What determines the schedule of liturgical services and educational programs we have at our parish? The Archdiocese calendar I received from the church has more services on it than I see on our parish calendar... Other parishes seem to offer more programs than we do...

 

Answer: The easy answer to your question is as follows: resources, time/importance, and participation. The more resources you have as in people, space and materials - the more you can offer; the more time and importance your resources commit - the better your activity will be; the more participation you receive - the more time, resources and energy you are willing to put in to provide more services and activities.

 

            Oh, I forgot one of the most important elements: timely communication! If, for instance, we need a commitment of so many people by a certain time, and no one chooses to communicate that they plan to participate (e.g. R.S.V.P.), then we cannot make proper plans with confidence.

 

The rest of the story...: Unfortunately, more and more of our parish resources – as in people – are becoming much more involved in outside activities with their families. Many of these outside activities run in direct conflict to parish events and service schedules. More of our younger families are two-income households that “need” the evening time with their children and just aren’t available for extra services or activities. And our community is aging. More and more of our “seniors” have difficulty getting out after dark and in foul weather, so planning extra evening activities is problematic. And even though more and more households have access to computers and the internet, many don’t look at their e-mail messages on a timely basis. Isn’t it ironic, then, that when something newsworthy happens within the parish, the entire local Greek community knows about it within about 12 hours, and the rest of the Metropolis within 24...

 

            A number of parish events/services are directly affected by this change in commitment to our All Saints parish. In no particular order they are:

                                    - Great Vespers/weekly Divine Liturgies

                                    - Choir

                                    - Orthodox Study Forum - Adult study program

                                    - Religious Education (Sunday School, Vacation Bible School)

                                    - Youth activities (GOYA, JOY, HOPE)

 

            In fact, we have cancelled the Vacation Bible School for this summer due to a number of the above concerns (not enough timely response from resources, schedule conflicts, etc.). Over the next few months we will take some time to examine these various programs and activities of our parish.

 

- If you are willing to commit some time and energy to any of these programs, please contact me now.

 

- If you would be more likely to attend the Orthodox Study Forum during the morning or afternoon rather than the evening, please contact me now.

 

- If you are currently participating as a resource in any of these programs and would like to change your level of commitment, please contact me now.

 

- If you have any comments or concerns, please contact me now.

 

- If you don’t have the time, well now you know the problem...