L100 in Action - Issue #4 (Summer 2018)


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Summer 2018| Issue #4

News In Action

Past Supreme President John Grossomanides administers the Oath of Office to newly-elected Supreme President George E. Loucas as Loucas’s wife, Sandra, looks on.

AHEPA Elects Leadership 100 Members As Supreme President And Supreme Vice President

The delegates of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), the leading service association for the nation’s millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, elected George E. Loucas of Novelty, Ohio, Supreme President, and James Kokotas of Brooklyn, New York, Supreme Vice President at the 96th Annual Supreme AHEPA Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, on July 26, 2018. Formal installation ceremonies were held July 27, 2018. Both Loucas and Kokotas are members of Leadership 100, as is the Order of AHEPA and two of its chapters.

A pharmacist and 3rd generation lawyer, Loucas comes from an AHEPA legacy of leaders. His grandfather, George, served as Supreme President in 1959. As Supreme President, Loucas’s responsibilities include being the chief executive officer and principal spokesperson of the entire AHEPA domain, which includes chapters in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Kokotas is a restaurant owner who has been long involved in AHEPA, holding many leadership positions in his local chapter and nationally.

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Leadership 100 News
Fr. Jim Kordaris.

Department Of Stewardship, Outreach & Evangelism: An Overview (By Fr. Jim Kordaris)

The Department of Outreach & Evangelism was created in January of 2003 with the following five-point mission:

1. Revitalize the faith of active Orthodox Christians;

2. Reach out to inactive Orthodox Christians;

3. Meet the needs of those inquiring about the Orthodox Christian faith;

4. Offer the tools for parish renewal; and

5. Offer guidance in the establishment of new parishes.

In 2009 Stewardship was added and the Ministry became the Department of Stewardship, Outreach & Evangelism. Our mission continues to focus on the parish, providing parish leadership with practical tools and training to engage active and inactive members, inquirers and those unaware of Orthodox Christianity personally in order that they learn more about the faith and ministries of the Greek Orthodox Church, leading them to become fully committed members of the Body of Christ, actively participating in and supporting the ministries of the local parish, the Metropolis and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Efforts are made to coordinate programs and initiatives with other departments and organizations of the Archdiocese.

From the start, the Department would receive inquiries on methods of promoting “church growth.” We read in the Book of Acts (2:47) that “…the Lord added to their numbers daily those who were being saved….” These parish leaders were seeking to allow for church growth by making their parish a healthy and vibrant place of worship, fellowship and service to others. The Department seeks to offer various tools to assist them in this effort.

One comprehensive tool came to our attention several years ago when the Director was invited to participate in “making Orthodox” a process called Natural Church Development (NCD). This program, in use for over 30 years and in over 80,000 parishes worldwide, is designed to assist parishes to objectively evaluate, assess and measure church health by focusing on eight quality characteristics of ministry. The most attractive aspects of the ONCD program are that it is quantifiable and engages church members in the process.

The program was piloted in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the two Long Island parishes of Resurrection in Brookville, and Archangel Michael in Roslyn Heights/Port Washington. Both implemented the program through several cycles and saw positive results.

With the assistance of a Leadership 100 Grant, we were able to implement the program in additional parishes throughout the Archdiocese. The success of this rollout has shown the program to be a viable tool for evaluating and improving parish ministry in a quantifiable way. An additional benefit of this program is the engagement of parishioners in the process through surveys, meetings and focus groups.

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Fr. Alexander Goussetis.


The Center For Family Care: An Overview (By Rev. Fr. Alexander Goussetis)

With its seeds sown at the 2002 Clergy-Laity Congress in Los Angeles, the Center for Family Care (CFC) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was founded in 2005. The ministry arose from a calling, in the words of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, “to affirm the importance of family as a blessed gift from God and to address the specific needs of families as they try to live in a very challenging culture and world.” In the ensuing 13 years the CFC has diligently worked to deliver a variety of multimedia resources and participate in numerous events throughout the Archdiocese, with most of those efforts funded by generous support from Leadership 100, for the spiritual formation of the Archdiocese’s faithful.

Fr. Constantine Sitaras, well known for his many years as the Director of Saint Basil Academy, was selected to lead the CFC in 2005. In 2016, Fr. Alexander Goussetis was appointed as the new Director, with Fr. Sitaras still retaining a role with the CFC as an adviser. Currently, the CFC staff is composed of six employees, two of whom are full time.

It should be noted that the CFC operates from a dual understanding of family. Of course, there is the family of the household, the basic social structure of any culture, traditionally comprised of parents and children. Conversely, all Orthodox Christians are, indeed, family, not by shared genetics, but through baptism into Christ’s Body, His Holy Church. Therefore, the ministry efforts of the CFC extend also to the greater family of faith. From the apostolic age there was no ministry for different populations but, rather, a holistic family ministry. Ministry is ultimately about connection, not merely running programs to fill calendars. And while it is challenging to address issues confronting people, parenting, eldercare, special needs, and addictions for example, they are concerns that require acknowledgment and corresponding Orthodox Christian pastoral care. This may occur through face-to-face engagement or by utilizing every possible medium, electronic and otherwise.

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Steven Christoforou at Y2AM Studio at the Archdiocese.

Department Of Youth And Young Adult Ministries (By Steven Christoforou)

It all started with a cell phone.

I joined the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in June of 2013. Our task was clear yet daunting: how could we rethink and reimagine ministry for young people in a way that was both more effective and more Christ-centered? We all know why the stakes are so high. Every parishioner in the Orthodox Church knows that, over the past few decades, we’ve had increasing difficulty connecting with young people.

Research shows that as many as 60% of American Christians disconnect from faith as they transition from youth into young adulthood. And, though we don’t have any precise numbers for the Orthodox Church, there’s very good reason to believe our disconnection may be even more severe. In my own life, for example, about 90% of the young people I grew up with have fallen away from the Church.

These are daunting, and potentially demoralizing, numbers. Yet, as we considered what to do in the summer of 2013, these statistics became our greatest inspiration.

We reimagined the youth office and created Y2AM, a newly invigorated team with a renewed sense of ministry vision and purpose. And we put our new direction to the test as we launched our first project: “Be the Bee.” We filmed our first 40 episodes in a laughably crude way. I would open a script as a Word document and, with that on my laptop screen, scotch tape my iPhone to my old MacBook. That sounds ridiculous, but my iPhone actually had a significantly better camera. And we certainly couldn’t afford anything like a real camera, let alone a teleprompter.

Despite the crude production process, “Be the Bee” instantly made a big impact around the world. Feedback poured in from young adults who energized about the Church as never before, and from parents who were amazed that their children wanted to watch our videos and then pray as a family and attend Church services. We even heard from people who converted to the Orthodox Church because of the clear and compelling message in every episode of “Be the Bee.”

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Effie Marie Smith.

Orthodox Software Initiative (By Effie Marie Smith, Senior Manager)

The Orthodox Software Initiative is a ministry that implements, with training, data software systems that unify standardized reporting at Parish, Metropolis and Archdiocese levels to enhance all aspects of Church life. It enables communication, ministry, ministering, parishioner interaction, sacramental, parish and ministry management, financial management and tracking, and more consistent and accurate reporting.

The Initiative began with an initial team of clergy and laity, volunteers from across the country with expertise in project management, communications, systems analysis, technology, and finance. Repeated throughout the country, it became immediately apparent to the team how great the need was for a unified, consistent approach. We established a set of criteria that would form the basis of the three-tier system. The first, parish based, is intended to offer a unified, cohesive approach to parish management. It encompasses all aspects of parish life, including among other items, financial accounting, recording and reporting, stewardship of time, talent, and treasure, managing parish data, ministries, directories, and standardizing reporting at Parish, Metropolis and Archdiocese levels. It also includes the development and implementation of the standardized National Chart of Accounts and is intended additionally to ensure consolidated data common across all Parishes. This has many tangible benefits including ease of use, cross training, support, reporting, and more, and eases Metropolis and Archdiocese reporting.

The system is technically termed “push delivered data”, not accessible through “an attempted pull”. This is in direct response to requirements of parishes regarding security and privacy of the data. The second tier, the Metropolis level, is for managing a Metropolis, gathering information, including but not limited to clergy, organizations, registry, sacrament, Archon, and financial data, and the support and management of many other aspects of a Metropolis. Clergy data, including tenure and benefits, are specific to this level.

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