Beloved Faithful of Saints Constantine and Helen Church,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ!
The time of Great Lent is upon us and with it a new opportunity to dedicate ourselves more intensely to our Orthodox Christian life of prayer, fasting, alms-giving and repentance, with the help and the grace of our loving and compassionate God.
Being assigned as the new priest of this beloved parish is a great blessing, privilege and honor for me. My family and I are very thankful and touched by the warm welcome we have received since our arrival at the beginning of January. It has been a joy for me to meet many of you after the Divine Liturgy in the coffee-hour or when I visited you for house blessings.
When I think of our parish, I see a beautiful, historic and grace-filled church, which would not have been possible without the blessing of God and the hard work and sacrifices of its founders. I see dedicated and faithful parishioners who have labored for many years, whether at the festival, crab feed or through their time, talents and stewardship, to ensure that the church’s doors remain open to all those seeking the peace, love and healing that only Christ can give. I see the tremendous potential of this parish to continue being a loving, welcoming and thriving spiritual home for Orthodox Christians and seekers throughout Solano and Napa counties – a geographic area spanning six cities!
While we must remember and honor the struggles and achievements of the past, let us also renew our vision and dreams for the future. Let us never take what we have been given for granted. Think of all those who do not have a church where they can gather and pray. Think of those who risk being killed for practicing their faith. How will we answer God knowing that we had the time, the freedom and a beautiful church where Christ humbly and freely offered us his most Holy Body and Blood for our healing, sanctification and eternal life, yet we took it for granted and allowed ourselves to be distracted by other things of this fleeting world?
We have inherited a gift, a legacy, a treasure: our Orthodox Christian Faith and a beautiful facility where we can gather to “be the Church.” Let us strive to always make this a priority in our lives and in our homes. We must remember who we are and what we have been given. We are responsible before God to not squander or lose this precious gift of our faith but to live it every day as best as we can, to teach it to our children, and to share it with a broken, suffering and confused world.
With hope and excitement about the future, we have already made significant progress towards the renewal of our beloved parish by implementing important changes and upgrades in just the past two months through the efforts and leadership of the Parish Council. For example, we created a new administration office with two workstations, networked computers and printers, as well as a designated space for all our important documents and records. Special thanks to Bob and Tasia Vogt, Phil and George Tsapakis for all their help in completing this project. The new office provides a functional and accessible environment for managing all our finances and administrative tasks. Soon after completing the new office, we welcomed Chris Corse as our volunteer administrative assistant. Chris has been a great help with various tasks and projects in the office twice a week.
At our last meeting, the Parish Council also voted to implement a new parish data management and accounting platform called Church Office and Ledger. It is a secure, robust and highly useful platform provided by our Archdiocese and used by every parish in our Metropolis. It will ensure that we have accurate, up-to-date records of all our parishioners’ data along with an integrated accounting system for maintaining and tracking your donations, stewardship contributions, fundraising monies, as well as giving us the ability to produce income and expense statements and comprehensive financial reports easily and quickly. We have also upgraded our communication efforts with a new website, social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), weekly email newsletters and monthly Vine magazine mailings.
Allow me to take this opportunity to recognize and thank our esteemed Parish Council members for their dedication and support:
Bob Vogt – President
Dan Bouzos – Vice President
Dorothy Glaros – Treasurer
Tasia Vogt – Secretary
Along with these administrative upgrades, we are offering new opportunities for prayer, learning and fellowship. In addition to our upcoming services for Great Lent, at the onset of this year, a regular schedule of services and events commenced which includes:
Great Vespers – Every Saturday at 5:00pm.
The Sacrament of Confession is offered by Fr. Ninos after Great Vespers on Saturdays or by appointment.
Sunday Worship: Orthros 8:30, Divine Liturgy 10:00am
Orthodox Faith and BIble Study: See calendarfor schedule
Small Paraklesis to the Holy Theotokos – Wednesdays at6:00pm followed by an evening Faith & Bible Study. (Currently on hiatus, will resume after Great Lent)
Know your Faith – On the 1st Sunday of every month, a brief, informal presentation is offered during the coffee hour by Fr. Ninos on a spiritual or theological topic along with an opportunity for a Q&A session.
We are actively working on restarting our youth programs. A GOYA Lenten Retreat is planned for April 5-7 at the Marin Headlands and a HOPE & JOY Lenten Retreat is happening this Saturday. Another major project and goal is to restart our Sunday School program this Fall. Stay tuned for more information.
I would like to hear from you about what else we can do to improve and grow our parish family. Please contact me with your feedback, questions, ideas and be sure to also mark your calendars to attend and participate at our upcoming General Assembly on Sunday, April 14.
Thank you for your loyal support and love for our parish. I am very much looking forward to getting to know you and your families better over the coming weeks and months and years. May you have a blessed and spiritually fruitful Great Lent and may God’s grace and mercy touch your hearts and souls. I am always available to you via phone or in person so please don’t hesitate to contact me.
With thanksgiving to our Lord Jesus Christ for his abundant blessings, with God’s help and grace, allow me to convey my sincere hope, prayers and commitment to our beloved parish as both your priest and your servant.
With love in our Lord,