His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
L100 Grand Banquet
29th Annual Leadership 100 Conference
February 22, 2020 – 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida
I am truly moved as we close out this 29th Annual Conference, and although I do not know whether I will see twenty-nine more … these past few days make me hope that I do.
This celebration of love, of fellowship, and of faith is deeply inspiring to me, even as I mentioned yesterday at the General Assembly. Your commitment to the Ministry of the Church, and your joyful life together as Leadership 100 have given me some much-needed refreshment.
It is my prayer that as we go forward together – even as we have for the sake of the Saint Nicholas Shrine at the World Trade Center, that we will always find common ground around the work of Christ and His Holy Church.
Your stewardship of this Endowment – a visionary testament to the ever-memorable Archbishop Iakovos – is an example for the entirety of the Archdiocese. As I have said before, you have kept the doors of our precious Σχολή open with your forethought and your providential wisdom.
Like the Holy Patriarch Joseph who foresaw the years of famine in Egypt, you have wisely applied your funding to areas where the need was greatest, if unanticipated. Your spirit of generosity and treating the whole Archdiocese like family is emotionally very eloquent.
Moving forward both as Leadership 100 and as lay leaders throughout the Archdiocese, I look forward to your innovation, your initiatives, and your wise counsel on the future of our Church.
I want to close with this exhortation to all of you. In this Third Millennium of our Christian Faith, there are more dangers from within than there are from without. Narrow-mindedness and outright prejudice against segments of the community that don’t meet every expectation of our religion – at least as we understand it today – these are the threats and pitfalls that endanger our future as a viable Church. There are some who are content to write off the world and retreat into an insular and warped understanding of Orthodox Christianity. We see it around the world, and we see it here at home in America.
This is not a future, but a recipe for obsolescence, if not oblivion. You must exercise your leadership in the Church not only through generosity, but in vision, in mission, and in a balanced and proper understanding of our Faith. We need your involvement as much we need your commitment. We need your engagement as much as we need your benevolence.
The Church is always incarnated in a particular place and time. This is our time and this is our home.
Thank you for caring for our home with the love that only a family can give. And thank you for acting in time – in the καιρός of the moment when we have needed your vital contribution.
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you all, your family and friends, and bring you through the holy season of Great Lent to rejoice at His Glorious Resurrection.
 Cf. Genesis 41.