We, like so many, find ourselves adjusting to rapidly changing situations – searching for ways to sustain our parish without the benefit of face-to-face worship and navigating the financial uncertainty of this shock to our way of life and economy. With this in mind, we would like to share three suggestions for reflection…
STAY PRESENT – with Christ through prayer, worship, and your connection with others
We all feel the void of not being able to attend church and commune with friends and family. Now is the time to focus on the opportunities and blessing we do have to be present in alternate ways.
· Carve out newly gained “stay home” time for prayer and reflection
· Utilize online resources to enhance your prayer, contemplation, well-being and education https://www.goarch.org/en/chapel http://www.agesinitiatives.com/dcs/public/dcs/dcs.html
· Participate in virtual worship services https://www.facebook.com/saintanthonychurchreno/
· Reach out to family, friends, fellow parishioners, neighbors, our clergy
INVEST – your time, your talent, your treasure
In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, we read that there is “a time for every purpose…a time to plant, a time to reap…” Many of us are using newly found time to do this at home – planting gardens, doing projects around the house, etc. We should also reflect on doing this for our spiritual home, through prayer to sustain our spirit and contribution to sustain our church.
· Stay current with your stewardship and where possible, accelerate payment to help buoy us through the financial uncertainty of the coming months
· Offer your talent to the church who has a particular need for experience with virtual communication, social media and website development at this time
· Check in regularly with the church and community programs to see if outreach or volunteer assistance is needed
REFLECT – on ways you can do more
St. Anthony relies on you for our vitality, through your presence and in stewardship. Staying connected and sharing your gifts today light the way for others to share their gifts with God in the future.
· Attend more online services, particularly during Holy Week http://saintanthonyreno.org/schedule-of-services/
· Add a new prayer and reflection habit to your day. The archdiocese has a great app to help support this https://www.goarch.org/-/daily-reading-app
· Make an offering to offset the giving you usually share when you attend church on Sunday (candle, tray and fellowship offerings)
· Become a 2020 steward of St Anthony – it’s not too late and no minimum is required https://www.goarch.org/documents/32058/5078065/Stewardship+2020+Commitment+Card.pdf
· Offer additional donations to the extent you are able
Your Parish Council, in close partnership with Father Stephen and other dedicated members of our parish, are working hard behind the scenes to adapt to the current situation and sustain our parish through these uncertain times. Some of the key steps we are taking to mitigate the impact:
· We have stopped all unnecessary spending, paying only for church salaries, insurance, utilities and janitorial services (which have been reduced)
· We are applying for support offered through the Federal CARES Act. The “Paycheck Protection Program” offers churches funding support to sustain clergy and support staff salaries, as well as utility expenses There are limited funds available so we do not know at this time the extent to which we will receive additional financial support. More details will be provided as we learn more.
· We are implementing the ability to offer stewardship and donations online via debit/credit cards (This should be up and running in 1-2 weeks, an email will be sent when it is ready)
· We are reviewing the budget and working to create contingency plans for the anticipated reduction in income and stewardship we may face in the coming months
· We are leveraging the guidance, tools and resources being provided by the Archdiocese
This pandemic has shaken much of the world to almost a standstill, and we are thankful for all that you are doing to assist our parish and its faithful. If you find yourself in need, please do not hesitate to reach out to church or to one of us. As has been said much in the past weeks, this will be difficult, but together as one community, we can get through this. God willing, we will come through this stronger in faith and community. We look forward to the day we can open the doors of St. Anthony again, to worship and commune together.
“…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
With Love and Prayer,
The SAGOC Parish Council
Note – If would like to volunteer your time and talent, or become a steward, please contact the church office – 775.825.5365 or firstname.lastname@example.org God Bless.
Holy Week and Pascha at Home Resource Guide: http://www.whithershalligo.com/holy-week-and-pascha-at-home-resource-guide-free-pdf-download/
Children’s Bible Reader: http://cbr.goarch.org/
Greek Orthodox Church YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTVCPFDKwtfTtPzIna-Lucg
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Website: https://www.goarch.org/
Metropolis of San Francisco Website: https://sanfran.goarch.org/
Archdiocese and Metropolis Email Lists: https://www.goarch.org/listserv
Ancient Faith Ministries: https://www.ancientfaith.com/
Ancient Faith Podcasts: https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts
St Anthony Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/saintanthonychurchreno/
CDC Prevention Advice: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html