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Ministry Profile: Welcome Neighbor Sunday

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Welcome Neighbor page

A Neighborhood Outreach Program

Father James Dokos

BACKGROUND

Many of our Greek Orthodox parishes in America were established in the original neighborhoods of the first Greek immigrants. As those first immigrants and their children improved their standard of living, they tended to move out of those original neighborhoods, but often the church remained. Orthodox faithful continued to attend church in the old neighborhood but related less and less to those who lived there.

PURPOSE: Welcome, Worship & Fellowship

To invite neighbors and friends from the surrounding area, as well as relatives and friends who might not be Orthodox, to worship and fellowship, welcoming all to share in our Orthodox Christian faith and tradition.

GETTING THE WORD OUT

  • Press releases for the event were sent to local community newspapers.
  • Members of the Welcome Committee, GOYA and Ladies Philoptochos distributed over 300 flyers throughout the neighborhood. Announcements were placed in the Sunday bulletin, parish newsletter, and all parish publications.
  • Announcements were made each Sunday from the pulpit.

PREPARATION

Extra tables and chairs were set up for our guests in the church hall which was decorated to contribute to a welcoming atmosphere. Nametags were prepared for greeters. Gold ribbons were prepared to be pinned on the visitors' lapels in order to identify our guests. A special guest section of the church was designated. A guest book was prepared for collecting contact information of our guests.

STAFFING

Staff included Priest, Parish Council, Ladies Philoptochos Society, GOYA and the parish Welcoming Committee. All were invited to participate in this Outreach Ministry.

PROCEDURE

The initial welcome by committee members in the narthex was warm and sincere. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated in English with a sermon offering insight into the Orthodox Faith and encouraging fellowship among people of all denominations. Guests received antidoron and were escorted by greeters to the Fellowship Hour to share time with the committee, parishioners and priest. Prayer & worship, kindness, and the breaking of bread all made for an unforgettable celebration of the Lord's Day.

CHURCH TOURS

Guests wishing to tour the Church complex and new Cultural Center were escorted by greeters following the Coffee Hour.

PARISH BOOKSTORE

The parish bookstore was open and available for all who wanted additional information on Orthodox Christianity. The bookstore is a great resource center, a place of welcome & fellowship and a witness to all of the richness and vibrancy of the Orthodox faith.

FUNDING

All that was needed was Orthodox Christian love and hospitality.

FOLLOW-UP

A guest list was compiled from those who signed the guest register and Thank-you style notes were sent to all guests on the list. It is suggested that a second invitation for neighbors & friends be extended one or two months following the original Sunday event. This same list could also be informed of worship services and parish events. This confirms the sincerity of the Church's outreach and welcome.

RESOURCES

Contacts at Annunciation Church of Milwaukee:
Father James Dokos Mrs. Fay Kolster Mrs. Elaine Pagedas

Suggested Readings

  • Outreach & Evangelism: Some Practical Steps
    Department of Outreach & Evangelism, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
  • The Resource Book for Orthodox Evangelism
    Rev. Constantine Nasr

Father James Dokos
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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