Clergy-Laity Congress Theme Article
“You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World”
As the Father has sent me, so I send you (John 20:21).  You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
Part IV

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In a few weeks we will gather in Nashville for our 43rd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress.  As we prepare prayerfully for this time of fellowship, discussion, and planning, we continue our reflection on the theme of the Congress: “You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World.”  In previous articles we have examined the priority of knowing Christ and His voice in order to offer the Gospel to all in a world that is rapidly changing as well as challenging us in many ways.

In this article our focus is on how we are offering the voice of Christ in a changing world through the ministry and service of our Greek Orthodox Church in America.  During our discussions in Nashville, our primary work should be evaluating the current ministries and resources at all levels of our Holy Archdiocese and planning for more opportunities to offer the voice of Christ.

First, we offer the voice of Christ through worship and ministry in the parish.  Through worship, the parish becomes the Body of Christ, gathering in His presence, communing with Him, and offering a witness of the power of His presence and grace.  It is in the parish that physical and spiritual needs are met through service offered by dedicated clergy and laity.  In words and actions the voice of Christ is spoken, heard and experienced so that the parish becomes a home, a place of comfort, renewal, and hope. 

The parishes of our Archdiocese have been and must continue to be the focus of our planning and resources.  To do this we need the input of our hierarchs, clergy and laity from throughout the Church in America in the forum of our Congress.  This is an opportunity to share struggles and success, to discuss the current challenges facing our communities, and to explore new opportunities for being a light of faith and grace in our changing world.

Second, we must continue the vital work of offering the voice of Christ to families.  We have seen ministry and resources grow significantly throughout our Archdiocese since our last Congress.  However, the challenges to the family are tremendous and growing.  Many other voices and demands are pressuring families to conform to the world and to live by temporal standards of success and happiness.

We cannot relent in our efforts to care for families and to offer the voice of Christ in a changing world that is attempting to alter radically what God has created.  Family ministry and our Center for Family Care should continue to be a major focus of discussion and planning at our Congress so that we are equipped to share the voice of Christ in truth and grace and provide clarity, love, and guidance in the midst of so much confusion.

Third, related areas of service in our parishes and throughout our Archdiocese are age-related ministries to our children, youth, and senior adults.  In a changing world filled with tremendous pressures, debates about the value and quality of life, and challenges of substantive nurturing and quality care, the voice of Christ must be offered and heard through consistent ministry in these areas.  We should be engaged in our communities and on a societal level in discussions regarding education, families, technology, medical and social services, as well as many other pressing and social issues so that the voice of Christ is heard.  From the foundation of strong national and parish ministries, we must be diligent in sharing the light of the Gospel so that our children and youth receive guidance in Christ and our elderly are blessed with quality care and fellowship within the community of faith.

Fourth, as we are called to be the light of the world, we are sent into a changing world to offer the voice of Christ to those who are not connected to the Church.  This includes those who have never heard the voice of Christ, others who have not been prepared to listen, and still others who need a new invitation to return to Him.  For these and even others who are distracted by disparate and deceptive ideas, the voice of Christ through us offers meaning and purpose in truth and love.   In fulfilling our commission from God, we must continue to strengthen our ministries of outreach and evangelism so that our clergy and laity have the guidance, programs, and resources to offer His voice clearly and effectively.

This focus on our ministry and service at all levels of our Holy Archdiocese is part of the essential work of our Clergy-Laity Congress.  Our goal is to ensure that all we are doing offers the voice of Christ and reveals the light of the Gospel.  In an atmosphere of prayer, faith in God, and commitment to His will, we will be able to address these areas and many more in a manner that will bring Him honor and glory.  I look forward to seeing you in Nashville, and I ask that you continue to join with me in prayer for a Congress that will be a blessing and inspiration to us all.  In addition, I ask you to consider how you are offering the voice of Christ.  So many people need to hear His voice so that in Him they will find true and abundant life. 

With paternal love in Christ, 

†DEMETRIOS
Archbishop of America


Forming Communities

This month of March the Holy and Sacred Synod of our Ecumenical Patriarchate begins a new synodal period. This beginning is both a historic and important occurrence in the life of our Orthodox Church, in that the new Synod now comprises six Hierarchs residing in the Holy See of Constantinople as well as six Hierarchs from other Eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne outside of Turkey. More »

The Spiritual Fruits of Lent

This month of February, we enter the sacred period of Holy and Great Lent, a season of the Church that accords us with splendid opportunities to prepare ourselves for the glorious feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate this year in April. More »

Read and Hear the Holy Scriptures!

The beginning of the New Year offers many people an opportune time to make or renew commitments, to set or adjust goals, to make a "fresh start" toward improving, enhancing or changing their lives. This sense of newness and the impetus it gives to change is basically the result of how we mark time. More »

Loving Others

The joyous holiday season now at hand presents us with two significant occasions that we celebrate as families and as communities: the Feast of the Nativity and the arrival of the New Year. These festive holidays present us with wonderful opportunities to cherish the presence of our loved ones and to consider the perpetual presence of Christ in our midst. They are also important occasions to consider more closely the important question, “How do our relationships with others reflect the infinite love and everlasting peace of Jesus Christ?” More »

Using Technology Responsibly

The rapid pace of technological development is an undeniable and unavoidable characteristic of our contemporary American society. As Greek Orthodox Christians living in one of the most technologically advanced and complex societies on Earth, we would be wise to consider the manner in which technology has saturated virtually every aspect of our culture--our businesses, our homes, our schools, and even our churches. More »

The Ministries of our Parishes

There is a special joy that follows from serving others, a gladness that may be seen in the faces of those who participate in ministry (diakonia), which is the principle work of the parish. More »

Living in a Diverse Nation

In the face of this reality, we are challenged as Greek Orthodox Christians living in the United States of America to consider courageously the question, “Where is the strength of our Orthodox Christian voice when it is but one of many voices in a diverse society? More »

The Sacredness of Rest

This month of June, we joyously cross the threshold of the long-awaited summer season. For many of us, the summer months provide an opportunity to take a respite from our labors, a welcome invitation to pause from our work or studies, and to consider the vital role of rest in our lives. More »

Remembering Those Who Have Fallen Asleep

This month, we observe Memorial Day, a special day dedicated to the remembrance of our departed loved ones. Throughout our country, we gather on this day as families and as communities to pray for the blessed repose of their souls, that they might live eternally in God's Kingdom, and forever in our hearts and minds. More »

The Invitation to Grow in Holiness

As we gather in our parishes as communities of faith and as families, and as we follow the example of Jesus and retreat from the turbulence of society into the stillness of the heart, we discover that authentic prayer extends beyond the communal and individual act of worship. Rather, authentic prayer is a condition of the heart, a state of being in communion with God and with others in ways that occupy and engage the human soul in every dimension of life, even in the most ordinary of daily tasks. More »

Growing in Our Love for Christ

Through acts of philanthropy, and through developing a vibrant life of prayer, we may direct our energies toward the love of God and neighbor in ways that reveal His image and likeness in persons from all walks of life. In so doing, each of us contributes to the advancement of peace within our communities, our nation, and our world, since there is no peace without love. More »

Letter to Youth from Archbishop Demetrios

Many people, old and young, are sad, frightened, and confused because of what happened on September 11th. More »

Letter to Children from Archbishop Demetrios

I want to reassure you that you are loved by our Father in heaven, your family, your priests, and your teachers. More »

The Timeless Ideal of Freedom

Liberty or death!” was their watchword. They risked their homes, their possessions, their families and their lives, not for wealth or fame or the fleeting pleasures of this world, but for the enduring cause of freedom. Brave were their words in pursuit of independence; braver still were their deeds. More »

— 40 Items per Page
Showing 41 - 54 of 54 results.