2148 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612

Parish Handbook

There are diver­si­ties of gifts, but the same Spir­it. There are dif­fer­ences of min­istries, but the same Lord. And there is diver­si­ties of activ­i­ties, but it is the same God who works all in all.” — 1 Corinthi­ans 12:4–6

The pur­pose of this sec­tion is to acquaint you with the many aspects of our parish life and to invite you to par­tic­i­pate in the life of the Church. It is meant to help join the parish togeth­er in the com­mon min­istry of the build­ing up of Christ’s Church. We hope that the infor­ma­tion it con­tains will be help­ful to you. Cov­ered are areas such as:

We con­tin­u­al­ly pray for the Holy Spir­it to inspire us to be a lov­ing and nur­tur­ing Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ty. We are grate­ful for your inter­est in The Most Holy Theotokos Ortho­dox Church and encour­age your involve­ment and com­mit­ment.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Worship

Education

Fellowship

Stewardship

Parish Ministries

Parish Member


Introduction

Ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty

The Ortho­dox Church was found­ed by Our Lord, God and Sav­ior Jesus Christ. It is the ark of sal­va­tion and sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion for all mankind. It is the con­tin­u­a­tion and exten­sion of Christ’s prophet­ic, priest­ly, and king­ly pow­er.

Guid­ed by the Holy Spir­it, the Ortho­dox Church is the house­hold of God with Jesus Christ at its head. The Church has strug­gled for more than two thou­sand years to bear wit­ness in var­i­ous cul­tur­al and his­tor­i­cal set­tings to His birth, cru­ci­fix­ion, and res­ur­rec­tion.

The Ortho­dox Church’s faith, dis­ci­pline and wor­ship are based on the Holy Scrip­tures, Holy Tra­di­tion, the Sev­en Ecu­meni­cal Coun­cils, and the Holy Fathers. The Ortho­dox Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apos­tolic. The Ortho­dox Church is hier­ar­chi­cal and con­cil­iar in form and func­tion. Bish­ops are appoint­ed to guide, rule and teach their flocks. Priests and dea­cons assist them in their sacred work. While the bish­op is the divine­ly appoint­ed teacher of the Faith, the entire Church membership–bishops, priests, dea­cons, and laity–are the guardians of the Faith. The Church is a Eucharis­tic soci­ety, with the pro­fes­sion of the Nicean-Con­stan­ti­nop­o­li­tan Creed and recep­tion of Holy Com­mu­nion being the on-going cri­te­ria for mem­ber­ship in the Church.

His­to­ry of the Church in North Amer­i­ca

Ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty in North Amer­i­ca was first estab­lished in Kodi­ak , Alas­ka in 1794. For more than two hun­dred years, Ortho­dox Chris­tians in the Unit­ed States and Cana­da have attempt­ed to live the full­ness of this sacra­men­tal and sac­ri­fi­cial tra­di­tion as the indige­nous Church. Wor­ship­ping God in Trin­i­ty while wit­ness­ing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the her­itage of the Ortho­dox Church.

Our Parish as a Con­tin­u­a­tion

Most Holy Theotokos Church is a parish of the Dio­cese of the West, Ser­bian Ortho­dox Church in Amer­i­ca . We are under the epis­co­pa­cy of His Grace, the Right Rev­erend Dr , Max­im, Bish­op of West­ern Amer­i­ca and the rul­ing hier­ar­ch of the Ser­bian Ortho­dox Church is His Holi­ness Patri­arch Pavle passed away on Sun­day Nov. 15 th and there will be elec­tion of a new Patri­arch in the near future. The Rec­tor of our parish is Fr. Blasko Parak­lis.

Our parish is named after Most Holy Theotokos, count­ed as the Most Sacred human being a Leader of the Apos­tles and all the Saints. The parish was estab­lished in Octo­ber of 1998 by His Grace Bish­op Jovan . Our annu­al parish feast day is Sep­tem­ber 21st.

As mem­bers of Most Holy Theotokos Ortho­dox Church, we are encour­aged to strive to be illu­mined and trans­formed into the Image of Christ in our com­mu­nal and per­son­al lives. We are also encour­aged to take up our cross dai­ly and fol­low Him, to bear wit­ness to His image that is in us, and man­i­fest Him to each oth­er and to our neigh­bors through our words and deeds.

For Fur­ther Infor­ma­tion

Please obtain a copy of our most recent parish newslet­ter enti­tled The Church Newslet­ter which con­tains notices of forth­com­ing Feast Days, events and activ­i­ties. It is our quar­ter­ly forum for keep­ing the parish informed as well con­tin­u­al­ly edu­cat­ing our­selves on the Church and her life. The newslet­ter is pub­lished quar­ter­ly and mailed to parish­ioners and friends of the parish. In addi­tion we pub­lish Month­ly Cal­en­dar with the sched­ule of ser­vices. Month­ly Cal­en­dar and the Newslet­ter (avail­able in pdf for­mat) are also on our web­site .

Worship

Litur­gi­cal Ser­vices

At the cen­ter of our parish life is the cel­e­bra­tion of the Divine Litur­gy. At the Divine Litur­gy we reded­i­cate our lives, encounter the Word of God, offer the Holy Gifts and par­take of them for the heal­ing of our soul and body. The Divine Litur­gy is cel­e­brat­ed every Sun­day at 10:00 am. In prepa­ra­tion for the Sun­day Divine Litur­gy, parish­ioners are encour­aged to attend the Sat­ur­day Ves­pers ser­vice which pre­pares us for the Divine Litur­gy. Ves­pers is served on Sat­ur­day evenings at 5:00 pm unless spec­i­fied dif­fer­ent­ly on the month­ly Cal­en­dar. Akathist ser­vice to the Moth­er of God Most Holy Theotokos is served on Fri­days at 7:00pm.

Annu­al Major Feasts Days are com­mem­o­rat­ed with a cel­e­bra­tion of a Fes­tal Great Ves­pers and Litiya on the eve of the feast day begin­ning at 7:00 pm and Divine Litur­gy on the day of the Feast at 9:30 am. Minor Feast Days or Saints Days are com­mem­o­rat­ed with the cel­e­bra­tion of the Divine Litur­gy at 9:30 am. The Feast of the Nativ­i­ty of Christ, Theo­phany, Great Lent, Pascha have their own litur­gi­cal char­ac­ter, and the sched­ule is in the month­ly cal­en­dar on this web site and in the newslet­ter . All litur­gi­cal ser­vices are announced in month­ly cal­en­dar.

Great Lent is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for all Ortho­dox Chris­tians to exam­ine their Chris­t­ian life and to come clos­er to God through prayer, fast­ing, alms­giv­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Lenten ser­vices. Lenten ser­vices include the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete dur­ing the first week of Lent and the Thurs­day of the fifth week; the Pre­sanc­ti­fied Litur­gy served on Wednes­day evenings and Fri­day morn­ings dur­ing Lent; There is also the Spe­cial Akathist to the Theotokos served on the fifth Fri­day of Lent, as well as the Lazarus Sat­ur­day, Palm Sun­day, and Holy Week ser­vices lead­ing up to the Paschal cel­e­bra­tion.

The cel­e­bra­tion of Pascha com­mences at 11:45 pm on the eve of the Pascha (Holy Sat­ur­day night), with the Noc­turn Ser­vice, the paschal pro­ces­sion and Matins Ser­vice. The Divine Litur­gy is cel­e­brat­ed at 10:00am on Pascha. After­wards, indi­vid­ual “bas­kets” of paschal food, pre­pared by parish­ioners, is blessed. Our tra­di­tion has been for parish­ioners to break the fast with one anoth­er in the church hall. This is fol­lowed by a parish ban­quet music and activ­i­ties for the chil­dren.

Please refer to the “Month­ly Cal­en­dar” page for the annu­al sched­ule of ser­vices for Lent, Holy Week and Pascha.

Sacra­men­tal Life

All parish­ioners are encour­aged to pre­pare for and par­take of Holy Com­mu­nion at every Divine Litur­gy, as well as dur­ing the year at oth­er Divine Litur­gies on Feast Days and at the Pre­sanc­ti­fied Litur­gies dur­ing Great Lent. In prepa­ra­tion for receiv­ing Holy Com­mu­nion on a reg­u­lar and fre­quent basis one should receive the Sacra­ment of Con­fes­sion reg­u­lar­ly and in con­sul­ta­tion with the Parish priest. Oth­er prepa­ra­tions should include atten­dance at Sat­ur­day evening Ves­pers, the read­ing of the Pre and Post Com­mu­nion Prayers either at home or in church, and the keep­ing of a Eucharis­tic Fast. For Ortho­dox Chris­tians, it is tra­di­tion­al to fast from all food and drink from mid­night until receiv­ing Holy Com­mu­nion at a Divine Litur­gy cel­e­brat­ed in the morn­ing. To receive Holy Com­mu­nion at a Pre­sanc­ti­fied Litur­gy, you should abstain from food and drink from at least mid-day if the Litur­gy is served in the evening. Please see Father Blasko should you have any ques­tions about your own indi­vid­ual man­ner of prepa­ra­tion.

All active parish­ioners are expect­ed to make a per­son­al Con­fes­sion. Reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­cants are expect­ed to make a Con­fes­sion more fre­quent­ly.

Con­fes­sions are heard after every evening ser­vice or by mak­ing an appoint­ment with Father Blasko.

Choir

Singing is an essen­tial part of Ortho­dox wor­ship. The choir, under the guid­ance of our direc­tor of music, Gor­jana Zekic, and San­ja Rakon­jac have the enor­mous respon­si­bil­i­ty of prepar­ing and singing the respons­es for all ser­vices. Using their skills and tal­ents in litur­gi­cal music, they instruct the choir on ade­quate vocal tech­nique and the under­stand­ing of litur­gi­cal music and text. Mem­bers of the choir are expect­ed to attend rehearsals in order to learn new music and improve the ensem­ble and vocal tech­nique of the choir. Young peo­ple, includ­ing chil­dren, are encour­aged to par­tic­i­pate in offer­ing this spe­cial gift to God. If you are inter­est­ed in join­ing this min­istry, please speak direct­ly to Gor­jana.

Altar Servers

Young men between the ages of 6–25 have a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve God’s Church by becom­ing altar servers. The altar servers are divid­ed into two teams of an equal num­ber of boys. They are man­aged by Yuri Romashuck and Marko Rakon­jac who serve as men­tors and are respon­si­ble for over­see­ing and train­ing the younger servers. They will be required to attend an ori­en­ta­tion class and peri­od­i­cal­ly attend train­ing ses­sions. Altar servers will be assigned to a sched­ule and should serve all ser­vices sched­uled for their assigned week (Vig­il and Divine Litur­gy, or Pre­sanc­ti­fied Litur­gy, if sched­uled.) This min­istry helps our young men devel­op lead­er­ship skills and respon­si­bil­i­ty, as well as being a peer min­istry to one anoth­er. If your son is inter­est­ed in becom­ing an altar serv­er, he should con­tact Father Blasko.

Pas­toral Ser­vices

The fol­low­ing is a gen­er­al overview of the pas­toral ser­vices avail­able. If you are in need of any of these ser­vices, please con­tact Father Blasko.

Home Bless­ings

All parish­ioners have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to renew their ded­i­ca­tion to Christ in their homes by hav­ing their homes blessed each year fol­low­ing the Feast of Theo­phany in Jan­u­ary. A sign up list will be avail­able for those wish­ing to have Father come for this beau­ti­ful bless­ing. If you would like to have your home blessed some­time dur­ing the remain­ing part of the year (i.e., new home), please con­tact Father Blasko.

Your home should be pre­pared for the bless­ing in the fol­low­ing way:

Sla­va

In our Ser­bian tra­di­tions, fam­i­ly mem­bers cel­e­brate their family’s feast day or Sla­va. Fr. Blasko is avail­able to per­form those ser­vices by con­tact­ing him and arrang­ing for a vis­it.

Bap­tisms

All bap­tismal arrange­ments are made by con­tact­ing Father Blasko. It is request­ed that at least a three-week notice be giv­en to sched­ule a date.

Wed­dings

Prepa­ra­tions for the Sacra­ment of Mar­riage are to be made by con­tact­ing Father Blasko before deter­min­ing the date or plan­ning a recep­tion. Wed­dings are tra­di­tion­al­ly held on Sun­day after­noons unless there is an out­stand­ing mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stance and are not per­formed any fast day of the Church. As part of their min­istry, and by request, the choir is usu­al­ly avail­able to sing the respons­es at wed­dings espe­cial­ly on Sun­days.

Funer­als

The funer­al of an active parish­ioner gen­er­al­ly con­sists of the vis­i­ta­tion and Tris­a­gion Ser­vice held in the Church on the evening pre­ced­ing the day of the Funer­al. On the fol­low­ing morn­ing, the Funer­al ser­vice is cel­e­brat­ed in the church fol­lowed by the inter­ment. All of the church-relat­ed funer­al arrange­ments are made by con­tact­ing Father Blasko.

Memo­ri­als

A gen­er­al Memo­r­i­al Ser­vice is cel­e­brat­ed dur­ing des­ig­nat­ed All-Souls days ZADUSNICE dur­ing the year as well as on the SCHEDULED DAYS. Be sure to con­sult the month­ly Newslet­ter for the spe­cif­ic date. In addi­tion, Memo­r­i­al Ser­vices are held dur­ing Great Lent and at oth­er times through­out the year accord­ing to the litur­gi­cal prac­tices of our Ortho­dox Church. If you would like to have your loved ones remem­bered at the Divine Litur­gy, sub­mit a writ­ten list of the names to be com­mem­o­rat­ed when you come to the Ser­vice.

Memo­r­i­al Ser­vices can also be sched­uled for oth­er times by con­tact­ing Father Blasko.

Hos­pi­tal & Shut-In Vis­i­ta­tions

Father Blasko makes reg­u­lar hos­pi­tal vis­i­ta­tions and home vis­its to “shut-ins.” It is impor­tant that he be noti­fied when­ev­er some­one is sick or has been hos­pi­tal­ized, since local hos­pi­tals do not inform him when parish­ioners are admit­ted. Arrange­ments can be made by con­tact­ing Father Blasko.

Education

Our parish offers month­ly lec­tures on var­i­ous top­ics giv­en by experts in var­i­ous fields for all ages—. For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about each of our edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams, please con­tact Father Blasko.

Church School

The spir­i­tu­al for­ma­tion of our next gen­er­a­tion of church mem­bers is very impor­tant and should be a pri­or­i­ty at home and the church. The Children’s Edu­ca­tion­al Pro­gram places empha­sis on learn­ing and expe­ri­enc­ing the Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian life by becom­ing famil­iar with the life and teach­ings of Jesus Christ, by appre­ci­at­ing and cel­e­brat­ing the Major Feast Days, and by learn­ing and liv­ing the his­to­ry, doc­trine and dynam­ic spir­i­tu­al tra­di­tion that pre­pares them to become mature and respon­si­ble teens and adults. The Children’s Edu­ca­tion­al Pro­gram is open to all preschool through col­lege and young adult aged and is held week­ly on Sun­day morn­ings after the Divine Litur­gy. Last Sun­day of each month Arts and Crafts ses­sion is taught by Tatiana Babae­va and Ivana Holisas­tos. Music class is taught by Gor­jana Zekich usu­al­ly send Sun­day of each month. The youth in the pro­gram also par­tic­i­pate in oth­er events such as the annu­al Christ­mas pro­gram St. Sava pro­gram and oth­er sea­son­al activ­i­ties. If you would like to enroll your child in the pro­gram, please con­tact Father Blasko or San­ja Rakon­jac.

Library

In addi­tion to the week­ly Edu­ca­tion­al Pro­grams our Church is in a stage of mak­ing a cat­a­log of all the books in our Library. All parish­ioners are wel­come to bor­row any of the mate­ri­als found in the library.

Lec­tures and Oth­er Edu­ca­tion­al Pro­grams

Through­out the year there are sem­i­nars, retreats and a vari­ety of lec­ture pro­grams offered with­in our dio­cese that pro­vide edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties for learn­ing, growth and fel­low­ship. These offer­ings will be announced in the Newslet­ter and month­ly Cal­en­dar. Some infor­ma­tion is post­ed on the parish bul­letin board (locat­ed in the parish cor­ri­dor), and/or announced by Father Blasko at the Sun­day Divine Litur­gy.

Fellowship

Healthy fel­low­ship among parish­ioners is an essen­tial part of a thriv­ing parish com­mu­ni­ty. To help fos­ter clos­er ties among parish­ioners while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly devel­op­ing a more effec­tive, effi­cient, Christ-cen­tered church envi­ron­ment, our parish relies on a num­ber of small groups in min­is­ter­ing to our larg­er parish fam­i­ly. The ulti­mate goal is to encour­age per­son­al Chris­t­ian growth that begins with involve­ment in parish life and evolves into a gen­uine com­mit­ment to parish life. There are var­i­ous groups and min­istries that parish­ioners can become involved. Sim­ply talk to Father Blasko or a mem­ber of the Parish Coun­cil.

Stewardship

Stew­ard­ship” is the man­ag­ing and car­ing for the prop­er­ty and affairs of anoth­er. Since every­thing we have is on loan to us from God, we are called upon, as ser­vants of God, to be wise and faith­ful stew­ards of all that we have. Our entire life is a gift from God! He asks that we offer back to Him in grate­ful appre­ci­a­tion the first por­tion of that with which we have been gift­ed, in the form of time, tal­ent and mon­ey.

Finan­cial

Finan­cial Com­mit­ment Cam­paign

Each year the Stew­ard­ship Min­istry of our parish requests parish­ioners to make a finan­cial pledge to the parish by com­plet­ing a com­mit­ment card. Your finan­cial com­mit­ment enables the parish coun­cil to plan and bud­get for the parish’s expens­es and pro­grams for the upcom­ing year. The amount you give back to God is entire­ly your choice. As a parish com­mu­ni­ty, we rec­om­mend and encour­age a per­son­al com­mit­ment any per­cent you wish of your mon­e­tary net income. How­ev­er, what­ev­er you decide to give, let it be a first por­tion per­cent­age gift that is your expres­sion of thanks­giv­ing to Him Who has cre­at­ed us, bless­es us with the mate­r­i­al needs required for our sus­te­nance, and con­tin­ues to love us beyond mea­sure. Please see Father Blasko or a Board mem­ber for fur­ther infor­ma­tion.

The amount you offer is nev­er pub­lished though a per­son­al report of your offer­ings for tax pur­pos­es is sent to you annu­al­ly at the end of each cal­en­dar year.

Endow­ment Fund

Our Parish would like to estab­lished an Endow­ment Fund. The Endow­ment Fund func­tions as an expan­sion fund for the parish. With the prin­ci­ple in the fund always remain­ing untouched, as the fund grows it is antic­i­pat­ed that part of the annu­al inter­est will even­tu­al­ly be added to our oper­at­ing bud­get. For more infor­ma­tion or to make a gift or bequest for the Endow­ment Fund, please see Father Blasko.

Wills and Bequests

Please con­sid­er leav­ing a gift to Most Holy Theotokos Church when you make your estate plan. A planned gift is a won­der­ful way to leave a lega­cy and often offers great tax ben­e­fits. Through this ser­vice, you can remem­ber the church in your will giv­ing back to God some of what He has blessed you with dur­ing your life­time. Please see Father Blasko for more spe­cif­ic infor­ma­tion.

Time and Tal­ent

At Most Holy Theotokos Church, we strive not only to sup­port our parish finan­cial­ly but to sup­port it with our time and tal­ent as well. It is our goal to have each parish­ioner pledge a per­cent of your time per week/month in sup­port of our church pro­grams and activ­i­ties. Only through actu­al involve­ment can we bare wit­ness to our com­mit­ment to serve God and to serve our neigh­bor as Christ loves and serves us. We ask each parish­ioner to accept this chal­lenge and offer their God-giv­en gifts of time and tal­ent back to God in order that we as a parish may ful­fill our mis­sion of spread­ing His Word.

The Stew­ard­ship Min­istry of our parish will con­duct and main­tain the records of the Time and Tal­ent Sur­vey of all parish­ioners. The pur­pose of the sur­vey is to seek the involve­ment of each parish­ioner as a “part­ner in min­istry” in at least one of our nine parish min­istries, as iden­ti­fied in the sec­tion below. Each min­istry has cer­tain areas of respon­si­bil­i­ty that, togeth­er with all oth­er min­istries, make up our entire parish life. By com­plet­ing the sur­vey, you will enable us to match your tal­ents to a need with­in our parish. Ulti­mate­ly, your involve­ment will add val­ue to your life, as well as strength­en the life of our parish com­mu­ni­ty.

Some of the many oppor­tu­ni­ties avail­able include:

If you are new to our Church, we would like for you to com­plete a sur­vey. Or if you are a parish­ioner and have not yet involved your­self in one of the min­istries and are in need of fur­ther infor­ma­tion, please see Father Blasko or a Parish Board mem­ber.

Parish Council

The oper­a­tion of our parish life is direct­ed by the priest and Parish Board. The parish coun­cil con­sists of the priest and nine parish­ioners elect­ed at the Parish Annu­al meet­ing. The offi­cers of the coun­cil con­sist of parish priest, the pres­i­dent, vice-pres­i­dent, Sec­re­tary, Trea­sur­er, Finan­cial Sec­re­tary and Board mem­bers and , they act as the Admin­is­tra­tive Min­istry of our parish. The priest and the parish coun­cil in an effort to cre­ate order­li­ness in our parish life, use nine min­istries as the frame­work for our com­mu­ni­ty life. Gen­er­al­ly, each mem­ber of the parish coun­cil is asked to assume the role of chair­per­son for one of these min­istries and, as such, is respon­si­ble for coor­di­nat­ing the activ­i­ties of their min­istry. Each min­istry, under the guid­ance of the Holy Spir­it, estab­lish­es their goals each year and then imple­ments a pro­gram that incor­po­rates the entire parish com­mu­ni­ty in achiev­ing those goals.

Parish Ministries

Below is a brief descrip­tion of the nine min­istries. For each ministry’s cur­rent goals are described.

Admin­is­tra­tive Min­istry

The Admin­is­tra­tive Min­istry is head­ed by the Rec­tor and has as its mem­bers the Vice Pres­i­dent, Sec­re­tary and Trea­sur­er. The Admin­is­tra­tive Min­istry over­sees all long-term projects and goals, as well as dai­ly oper­a­tions of the parish. To effec­tive­ly and effi­cient­ly achieve this, the Admin­is­tra­tive Min­istry over­sees and coor­di­nates the activ­i­ties of the oth­er parish min­istries. This min­istry also is respon­si­ble for coor­di­nat­ing all parish com­mu­ni­ca­tions includ­ing the month­ly newslet­ters, Dioce­san Sun­day bul­letins, tele­phone com­mu­ni­ca­tions (includ­ing the “tele­phone chain”), com­mu­ni­ty com­mu­ni­ca­tions, press releas­es and annu­al reports. In addi­tion the Admin­is­tra­tive Min­istry coor­di­nates all major projects of the parish, includ­ing our biggest fund rais­er, the Gala din­ner. This min­istry is respon­si­ble for rep­re­sent­ing our parish to the Annu­al Assem­bly of our Dio­cese of the West, of our Ser­bian Ortho­dox Church in Amer­i­ca .

Litur­gi­cal Min­istry

The Litur­gi­cal Min­istry is head­ed by Father Blasko. It coor­di­nates the litur­gi­cal life of the parish. The sched­ul­ing of and prepa­ra­tions for all ser­vices and litur­gi­cal­ly-relat­ed pro­grams fall under this min­istry. This includes the choir, altar servers pro­gram, litur­gi­cal read­ers pro­gram, and all oth­er aspects of lay par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Divine Ser­vices. This min­istry works with the Church Ser­vice Min­istry to ensure the coor­di­na­tion of all litur­gi­cal activ­i­ties. The Litur­gi­cal Min­istry is also respon­si­ble for the pur­chase of the many litur­gi­cal ser­vice books used in the parish.

Edu­ca­tion Min­istry

The Edu­ca­tion Min­istry devel­ops, imple­ments, and coor­di­nates all edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams and activ­i­ties with­in the parish. The Edu­ca­tion Min­istry also spon­sors and orga­nizes retreats and work­shops at our parish, as well as coor­di­nates our parish’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in dioce­san and sem­i­nary-spon­sored retreats. This min­istry also main­tains the parish’s adult and children’s libraries and ref­er­ence infor­ma­tion, and pur­chas­es and main­tains our edu­ca­tion­al equip­ment. The Edu­ca­tion Min­istry also spon­sors a num­ber of activ­i­ties for our youth through­out the year, the most notable of which is the St. Sava and Vidov­dan Pro­gram –one of the high­lights of the year. It should also spon­sor hol­i­day par­ties, movie nights, and youth char­i­ty efforts. Should you have any ques­tions about this min­istry or would like to enroll your­self or a child in one of our edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams, please see the Fr. Blasko or San­ja Rakon­jac.

Out­reach and Evan­ge­liza­tion Min­istry

One of our respon­si­bil­i­ties as Ortho­dox Chris­tians is to take up His Cross and spread The Word of God. The Out­reach and Evan­ge­liza­tion Min­istry is the min­istry with­in our parish that “reach­es out” to the local com­mu­ni­ty, guests, new parish­ioners, and even estab­lished parish­ioners. Its role is to make Most Holy Theotokos an invit­ing parish and to make all who enter our doors feel part of our Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly.

In order to achieve these goals, this min­istry should work on devel­op­ing strate­gies and mate­ri­als to reach out to our local com­mu­ni­ty and assists the Admin­is­tra­tive Min­istry with pub­li­ciz­ing the life and activ­i­ties of our parish through avail­able media. In addi­tion, the Out­reach and Evan­ge­liza­tion Min­istry main­tains the Greeters Pro­gram, a Fol­low-up Pro­gram for Parish Guests and a New Parish­ioners Pro­gram. In con­junc­tion with the Young Adult Min­istry, this min­istry main­tains con­tact with local col­leges in an effort to reach out to those stu­dents who are Ortho­dox or who are inter­est­ed in Ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty.

The Out­reach and Evan­ge­liza­tion Min­istry is also respon­si­ble for inte­grat­ing all parish­ioners into our parish com­mu­ni­ty by encour­ag­ing greater par­tic­i­pa­tion in our parish min­istries. To achieve this, the Time and Tal­ent Sur­vey will be pre­pared and dis­trib­uted so that all parish­ioners can ascer­tain the tal­ents they have and may wish to share with our church fam­i­ly to help make our parish more vibrant and spir­i­tu­al­ly-ful­fill­ing.

Finance Min­istry

The Finance Min­istry coor­di­nates the finan­cial mat­ters of the parish. The Finance Min­istry pre­pares the annu­al bud­get pro­pos­als for the Annu­al Parish Meet­ing, counts and deposits all finan­cial offer­ings and gifts, and over­sees the week­ly offer­ings. It issues checks for all debts and oblig­a­tions, remits parish assess­ments to our dio­cese, remits funds col­lect­ed for annu­al appeals to the var­i­ous char­i­ties, and will over­see the Parish Endow­ment Fund. An audit­ing com­mit­tee func­tions under the aus­pices of this min­istry.

Stew­ard­ship Min­istry

The Stew­ard­ship Min­istry devel­ops pro­grams intend­ed to increase each parishioner’s com­mit­ment of time, tal­ent and mon­ey. It also coor­di­nates the main­te­nance of all records of indi­vid­ual finan­cial gifts of parish­ioners. It is respon­si­ble for con­duct­ing the annu­al Finan­cial Com­mit­ment Dri­ve , the results of which are used by the Finance Min­istry to plan the Annu­al Parish Bud­get.

Human Ser­vices Min­istry

The Human Ser­vices Min­istry coor­di­nates the char­i­ta­ble and human ser­vices work of our parish. Our parish’s major char­i­ta­ble effort is our involve­ment in dif­fer­ent char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions most espe­cial­ly IOCC. There is also a food col­lec­tion for the needy in the area. Recep­ta­cles are locat­ed in the church hall for your food dona­tions. Through­out the year, our parish also con­ducts oth­er appeals, such as finan­cial dri­ves for those in need.

In addi­tion, the Human Ser­vices Min­istry pro­vides parish­ioners with infor­ma­tion regard­ing var­i­ous social ser­vices pro­grams, such as Med­ic­aid, Medicare, and Social Secu­ri­ty. The min­istry also coor­di­nates trans­porta­tion for parish­ioners in need of a ride to or from Divine Ser­vices. The min­istry is also respon­si­ble for inform­ing the rec­tor of spe­cif­ic needs of parish­ioners and track­ing those in need of vis­its.

Church Ser­vices Min­istry

The Church Ser­vices Min­istry coor­di­nates all nec­es­sary prepa­ra­tions for Divine Ser­vices. This includes over­see­ing the can­dle desk, ush­er­ing parish­ioners and guests into the church, light­ing the can­dles, con­duct­ing the col­lec­tion of the offer­ings, and the clean­ing of the can­dle stands, chairs and gen­er­al church area fol­low­ing ser­vices. This min­istry coor­di­nates and dec­o­rates the church for major Feast Days, such as Christ­mas and Pascha.

This min­istry uses vol­un­teers to aid their efforts. If you are inter­est­ed in assist­ing with any of the numer­ous duties, please see the Fr. Blasko.

Build­ing Min­istry

Our parish is blessed to have a leased space for a reg­u­lar church life. Its main­te­nance and that of the build­ings, fall under the juris­dic­tion of the Build­ings and Grounds Min­istry. This min­istry is respon­si­ble for orga­niz­ing and coor­di­nat­ing vol­un­teers for the Cleanups, coor­di­nat­ing vol­un­teers for basic main­te­nance tasks, and propos­ing to the Parish Coun­cil any nec­es­sary repair work, improve­ments, or equip­ment pur­chas­es. If you are inter­est­ed in vol­un­teer­ing your ser­vices or if you have any ques­tions, please see the pres­i­dent of the Church Board.

Becoming a member of our parish

If you are inter­est­ed in becom­ing a mem­ber of our parish or if you are con­sid­er­ing becom­ing an Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian, please speak to Father Blasko. He will assist you with your jour­ney and, with the assis­tance of our parish­ioners, make your inte­gra­tion into our parish life a joy­ful, spir­i­tu­al­ly-reward­ing expe­ri­ence.

To become a parish­ioner of Most Holy Theotokos Church , you are request­ed to:

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