STEWARDSHIP RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have been confronted with a health crisis that is disrupting our daily lives and upsetting the comfortable living to which we are accustomed. At times like these we are drawn to church and faith, times when people seek the warm and loving embrace of Christ. Alas, this crisis is different. The protocols dictate that we practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings of people along with practicing good public hygiene. Government orders have virtually closed our church to members, curtailed activities and taken away our ability to rent our Hellenic Center and run our Festival in May. This has greatly reduced our capability to raise the funds needed to sustain our church community.
Amidst all of this Christ has remained with us. We must remember to keep our focus on the Lord and walk toward Him one footfall at a time. We have the opportunity to move closer to the Lord, to grow spiritually, and the response to this crisis is likely to define us, who we are or hope to be. How then as Orthodox Christians are we to respond?
Foremost we are a community, a family linked by the thread that is Jesus Christ. In the absence of public gatherings we must become our "brother's keeper" by remaining in contact with those who may be isolated and alone. Please make a list of 3 to 5 people and contact them every few days. Urge them to make lists of their own. Eventually the thread that is Christ will grow and weave a beautiful, tight tapestry that we recognize as the community of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church. Put on your own armor of Christ with words of calm and reassurance. Please do this in remembrance of Him.
Fill the air with prayer and be grateful for the things we have that are important; family, faith, friends. Now is the time for selflessness, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, to continue to Feed the Hungry through the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank. Through the power of Christ we can turn the worst of times into the best of times. If you are in need during these trying times, do not hesitate to call the church. There is no need to suffer in silence. Call us!
Lastly, Bob Demson, Parish Council President, and your Parish Council have been making painful decisions to control expenses so as to secure a bright future. Please join us by continuing to honor your pledges to the church for those who are able, in a timely fashion for Sts. Constantine and Helen is our vessel to the Kingdom of Heaven.
For those who prefer to mail their check, our address is 60 Traverse Road, Newport News, VA, 23606. Do not send cash in the mail. The easiest method is to use PayPal.
Select an amount and then proceed with the easy instructions. You need not have an account with PayPal. There is an option for credit/debit card payments.
In a personal message, we, your Stewardship Committee love our church, our faith, and YOU. We have missed you sorely and can't wait until such time as we can kneel together to praise the Lord. Remember that the things we do, our mutual support, and the support of the church are done in the name of the THE FATHER, THE SON, and THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN.
Respectfully submitted, your Stewardship Committee
Nick Vrettos, Chairman
Mission Statement:The Stewardship Ministry of Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church supports the overall mission of our beloved Church. Our faithful, in response to God’s gifts, blessings, and grace, are called to cheerfully and consistently offer back to God a portion of their time, talents, and treasures as an act of worship and thanksgiving in order to sustain and enhance a divine connection to Christ and His Church.
Goals of the Stewardship Ministry:
- Promote spiritual growth
- Strengthen faith
- Our faithful become ACTIVE participants in the life of the Church
Stewardship Ministry Priorities:
- Improve the home visitation ministry with the goal to meet with Parishioner families in their homes to share the true meaning of Christian Stewardship; spreading the message about the great things happening in our community, inviting them to “Come and See” the Church and our faith; and listen to their concerns.
- Improve our Christian stewardship education program to include all parishioners and organizations.
- Continue to involve more people in the stewardship effort, to include the youth of the Church, to give them the opportunity to experience and learn the basics of true Christian stewardship.
- Change the focus of how we view our annual stewardship commitment forms by placing more emphasis on the commitments of time and talent.
- Improve our planned giving program by providing our members with estate planning and legacy giving options such as bequests, trusts, and non-traditional gifts that will enable our members to leave a legacy to the Church and eventually lead to the long-term financial foundation of the Church.
- Develop and continually improve the Stewardship Ministry link off the parish’s website. Seek out opportunities for parishioners to make financial commitments online.
- Set annual stewardship goals with a long term objective of funding the Church’s annual operating budget.
Stewardship Commitment Form
Every year, we ask our faithful to prayerfully review their personal circumstances and cheerfully make a commitment of time, talent, and treasure using a stewardship commitment form. Unfortunately, many in our community view stewardship as a burdensome financial exercise, and not as a cheerful and uplifting spiritual commitment of faith. Filling out your commitment form should be a spiritual experience, not a burden. Think about what you are doing and read the words under the time, talent, and treasure sections – you are making a commitment to Christ and His Church, not to the Parish Council, not to any individual, but to Christ and His Church.
Since your offering of time, talent, and treasure is a personal matter, the only person that should be filling out your stewardship commitment form is YOU (and your spouse when filling the form out as a family). No one knows better than you your own personal / family situation - how richly you have been blessed in the past year, how much time you have to commit to the church, and your God-given or special talents you have to offer in Christ’s service.
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What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is a SPIRITUAL EXPRESSION and an ACTIVE COMMITMENT of faith that utilizes and manages all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creations.
True Orthodox Christian Stewardship is a way of life, which acknowledges accountability, reverence, and responsibility before God. Stewardship is based on the simple affirmation that ALL WE HAVE and ALL WE ARE comes from God.
As a sign of love and thanks, we commit ourselves to stewardship as a way of thanking God for all His blessings – cheerfully and consistently returning to Him a portion of our time, talent, and treasure that He has allotted to us:
TIME. Each week, we choose what will be done with the set number of hours we have available to us. Good stewardship of time means we will share some of that time with God in prayer, praise and thanksgiving, and some time caring for the needs of others.
TALENT. Everyone has a special gift or skill. Good stewardship of talent means we identify our talents and use them to glorify God and to help other people.
TREASURE. Most of us bring in some kind of revenue into our households. Good stewardship of treasure means we intentionally and regularly plan to commit a percentage of our income to Christ and His Church, along with other charities.
Commitments of Time and Talent
There are many opportunities for you to be involved in the life of the Church. The current ministries, committees, and organizations of our Church are:
Church Administration and Leadership
- Audit Committee
- Budget/Finance Committee
- Building Maintenance Committee
- Estate Planning Committee
- Greek Festival Steering Committee (Fall & Spring Festivals)
- Grounds & Maintenance Committee
- House Committee Investment Committee
- Nominating & Elections Committee
- Parish Council (elected positions)
- Personnel Committee
- Stewardship Ministry
- Strategic Planning Committee
- Youth Ministry
- Choir & Chanters
- Acolytes – Young men ages 8-18 years
- Welcome Committee/Sunday greeter
- Epistle reader – Greek or English
- Baking Prosfora (holy bread)
- Sewing (altar cloths, robes, etc.)
- Cross+Roads newsletter
- IT consultant
- Parish website
- Office volunteer (mailings, answering phones)
- Religious Education – Pre-K through 12th grade and adults
- Religious Bookstore
- Pre-marital counseling
- Adult Baptism and Chrismation preparation & counseling
- Greek School – 1st Grade to Adult
- Ladies Philoptochos Society – for women, the philanthropic arm of the Church
- Missions Ministry
- PORT – feeding the homeless
- Sick or Elderly Parishioner Ministry – transportation, visitation, assistance
Service / Social / Fraternal Organizations
- American Hellenic Educational & Progressive Association (AHEPA) - for men
- Daughters of Penelope – for women
- Golden Hearts – ages 55 years and older
- Hellenic Woman’s Penelope Society (HWPS) – for women
- Cooking – (church, community, other events)
- Greek Festival Volunteer (Fall & Spring festivals)
Youth & Young Adult Ministries
- HOPE & JOY (Junior Orthodox Youth)– PreK through 2nd grade (HOPE), 3rd through 6th grade (JOY)
- Greek Orthodox Youth of America (GOYA) – 7th through 12th grade
- Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) – college students
- Hellenic Youth Dancers – ages 5 years to young adult
- Vacation Bible School
- Youth Choir – 3rd through 8th grade
- Young Adult League (YAL) – ages 18 to 35 years
Commitments of Treasure
We ask our faithful to consider and commit to weekly and proportional giving in accordance with scripture – “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him“ (1 Corinthians 16:2) and “When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the first fruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket.” (Deuteronomy 26:1)
Since we are guided by the Bible as Christians, each person, young and old, man or woman, child or adult, rich or poor gives to the Lord what he or she is able to give. In most cases, regular weekly giving makes it easier to offer much larger gifts than waiting until the end of the year. It is not important how much a person gives on any given Sunday, but that you give every Sunday, whether you come to Church or not. That is the key, the Bible teaches us to give "the first day of the week," Sunday.
For example, if you come to Church 15 Sundays this year and put $20 in your envelope each time, you would be contributing $300 for the year. But if you put $20 in each envelope on Sunday morning, whether you come to Church or not, and then bring all those envelopes together when you do come, your annual contribution to the Church would amount to over $1,000 for the year.
Collection of Your Commitments of Treasure
Weekly Offering Envelopes: Every year, the Church Office provides our parishioners offering envelopes, conveniently labeled for every Sunday of the year. Many of our parishioners make their offerings using these envelopes.
Offering Basket: Your weekly offering envelopes can be placed in the offering tray when passed during Divine Liturgy or in the offering basket on the Pangadi in the Narthex.
Mail: Your offerings can be mailed to the Church Office in either the weekly offering envelope or with a letter or check clearly indicating where the offering is to be directed, i.e. stewardship, memorial, Feast Day, etc.
Online Bill Payment: More and more people handle their financial commitments electronically. This is a very suitable method for offering our “first fruits” to the Lord rather than offering only that which remains. Stewards may very easily set up automatic periodic payments from their bank to the church in fulfillment of their stewardship obligation. A payment module may also be added to the parish web site.
PayPal: There are a number of companies facilitating payment by debit or credit card. We offer this service as another way for parishioners to offer their commitments of treasure. A link is shown on this page and on the homepage.