Parish Highlights

Parish Highlights

     On Sunday, January 13, our Parish held its Annual Meeting after the Divine Liturgy.  Several reports were passed out and discussed.  The following are some of the highlights.  Much more detailed information is available upon request for those who were unable to attend the meeting.

Parish Events 2012:                                                       

     During the past year,  St. Barbara's continued its normal monthly schedule of liturgical services and education classes.  In addition, however, several notable Outreach and Educational Events were conducted.  In January St. Barbara's hosted the Friday evening portion of a Regional Orthodox Conference dedicated to Mission & Evangelism.  It's theme:  "How Do We Communicate the Good News of Christ to Those Around Us?"  Speakers included:  Fr. Peter Gillquist (of blessed memory), Fr. Joseph Honeycutt, and Fr. Evan Armatas.

In March our Parish coordinated its Annual Spring Pysanky Festival and, after Pascha, conducted Pysanky Classes during two consecutive weeks.  These classes have become a popular means of fellowship, introducing many newcomers to an ancient religious folk art.

In both May and October representatives from the OCMC (Orthodox Christian Mission Center) spoke on "Becoming Disciples as we Make Disciples."  We were pleased to host Fr. David Rucker and Mr. Kenneth Kidd.  Also in May, Fr. Basil assumed temporary responsibilities as Dean of the South Central Deanery for the Diocese of the South.  The new position makes it necessary for him to be away from the parish on occasion, with substitute clergy filling in at St. Barbara's.  Dean responsibilities will continue for Fr. Basil at least until a bishop is elected for the Diocese.

In June, Hieromonk Gerasim (Eliel) visited our community.  Fr. Gerasim is a potential candidate for the Episcopacy for the Diocese of the South.  He spoke enthusiastically about his approach to Church and Diocesan life, and answered questions from parishioners. In addition, October and November provided opportunity for a six week, "Beginning to Pray," series, geared toward adults and teens.   The series used as a guide, Anthony Bloom's classic work on prayer.

In August members of St. Barbara's participated in the Annual TCU Church Fair in an attempt to make students aware of the presence of local Orthodox Churches.

Furthermore, during the year 2012 we Baptized and/or Chrismated 12 children and/or adults, averaging 90 people in attendance for each Sunday Liturgy.  And finally, during the January 13 meeting, a computerized model of one possible finished site plan was on display.  It included our current structure, but offered for additional consideration a gazebo and traditional Church building, both of which are contained on the original site plan.

Events in 2013, First Eight Months:

     For the upcoming year (2013) we have the following special events already on our calendar.  Starting January 19, in conjunction with our Saturday Church School, Jared Foster will lead a weekly adult/teen class on, "The Eucharist," using Fr. Alexander Schmemann's important work bearing the same title. Adult classes on The Eucharist meet from 5 to 6 pm every Saturday.

On Friday evening, February 22, from 6 to 9 pm, in response to a request by members of local Orthodox Churches, St. Barbara's will host an evening portion of the Festival of Orthodoxy.  Several guest speakers will be in attendance addressing the topic:  "Orthodox Christian Perspectives:  Speaking to our Children and Grandchildren about God."

On March 15 & 16 the parish will hold its Annual Pysanky Festival, always a highly anticipated event.  This will be followed by Pysanky Classes soon after Western Easter.

April 6 - 9 St. Barbara's will host Fr. Sergius Halvorsen from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary for the Parish's 1st Annual Archbishop Dmitri Memorial Lecture.  A half day Deanery Clergy Meeting will also be held on Monday,  April 8, with both Fr. Sergius and the DOS Chancellor, Fr. Marcus Burch. Basing his lecture on Archbishop Dmitri's continual inspiration, Fr. Sergius will speak on,  "The Vulnerability of the Incarnation:  God made Man."

In addition, during the summer months the Diocese will convene its Annual Assembly, with the important task of electing a new Diocesan Hierarch, and St. Barbara's will host a Summer Vacation Church School, as well as participate once again in TCU's Annual Church Fair.

Parish Finances:

     At the January 13 meeting we looked at a 7 Year Income Comparison Sheet for the parish.  It was noted that in terms of regular monthly pledges and cash donations, St. Barbara's saw a 60% increase from 2006 to 2012.  We also emphasized the need to boost our monthly contribution totals so that additional funds can be used to pay off bank and parish friendly loans.  As it stands now, festival money and "unearmarked" building fund contributions are being used to pay regular expenses.

To bring us closer to our financial goals 2013 Pledge Cards were distributed.  These bright pink cards are available in the parish hall.   A chart is also on display in the hall to keep us apprised of progress in this area.   We would like each family and/or individual contributor to consider prayerfully a donation for the upcoming year, allowing for an increase in pledge amounts if possible.  As we pay off our current loans the progress will bring us closer to our eventual goal of a traditional Orthodox Church building and more fellowship space.

Principles of Growth:

     Finally, we discussed three Christian principles that lead to Church growth, spiritually, numerically and financially.  These are:  Prayer (both corporate and personal);  Charity (love and concern for others); and Stewardship (responsibility for that which God has given unto us).  If each of us will make it a priority to focus on these three areas during the upcoming year we will see growth, both personally and as a community.  In particular, at the meeting we asked people to make sure they are praying at home, to increase their participation in monthly Church services, to strive to be on time for the Divine Liturgy and Vespers, to welcome visitors who come to our parish, and to follow through faithfully with monthly pledges to St. Barbara's.
I know a man who emphasizes to those who come to him for advice:  "Do the right thing."  Taking our cue from him if we indeed, "do the right things," progress will be seen.

Recommitment for 2013: 

     Our common concern is that we care for those whom God has placed in our midst,  and that we tend to those basic responsibilities (above disciplines) to which we are called.  If we do these things, personal and parish growth in many areas will occur.

In 2013, with the Pre-Lenten season just a month and a half away, let us recommit ourselves personally to these ideas.