My brothers and sisters in Christ,
Christ is in our midst!
We are a community of Christian believers. The Holy Apostle Paul writes, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4).
When we speak about working together, we actually mean teamwork. But what is teamwork? "Teamwork happens when a group of individual people are brought together to achieve a common purpose or goal. The needs of the group become more important than the needs of the individual. So for team work to work efficiently, each person needs to put aside their own individual needs so as to achieve the objective of the group. When the people in the group work with each other this is known as teamwork."
For teams to work effectively, in other words, achieve the set goals they must make sure they follow some fundamental principles of teamwork, i.e., cooperation with each other-set aside personal differences.
For a team to run smoothly the members (fellow-parishioners) must work together in an effective manner. This means putting aside personal differences, like and dislikes, so that overall aim can be achieved. The overall aim for us as a Christian community is to serve Christ and our local church. If there are differences of opinion or other conflicts then these need to be addressed and resolved by using our Christian faith and principles.
Saint James the Apostles reminds us, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" (St. James 4:1). Saint Paul encourages the Christian believers to have spiritual unity with each other and then work as one for the main purpose.
When a group of Orthodox Christians are working together, we are working in concert with Christ Himself. Our work must reflect our Christian values and precepts. Christians must always respect one another and support each other in every undertaking.
Our working together, and our giving to our Lord and church, must always be unconditional. In other words no strings attached to anything that we do. It is a human trait to overestimate what we can do individually, and also to underestimate what can be done as a group. But as believers are part of the body of Christ, there is a lot more that can be achieved together than can ever be done alone.
We will need to work together this year for at least two major events, i.e., the Annual Greek Festival in June and the 90th Anniversary Celebration of the parish in autumn. Both of these events will need everyone's participation and personal support. It is my hope that by working together the spiritual bonds among our parish stewards will become stronger. "For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:9).
In his letter to the Philippians St. Paul writes, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
With sincere agape,