Fr. Hector Firoglanis
Dear Beloved in Christ,
With the beginning of a New Year, let us reflect for a moment on the last four months — beginning from September 1st — which have flown by incredibly fast. As we do so, I’d like to thank you for your patience, prayers, and support during this time of transition in the life of our beloved parish.
During the span of the last four months the Transfiguration Orthodox Church officially opened its doors in northern Lancaster County, while the faithful Ethiopian Orthodox Christians from our community ventured out to plant a new church of their own in southern Lancaster County. Meanwhile, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, we’ve had 9 baptisms, 2 weddings, and 7 funerals since September 1st. Many lay leaders, parents, and gifted parishioners have stepped up to facilitate our vibrant youth ministries and study groups — including HOPE, JOY, GOYA, OCF, our three dance groups, Sunday School, an evolving Young Adults Group, two women’s study groups, an Agape group for our seniors, and catechetical classes. We’ve had an active liturgical life, which in addition to the Sunday Liturgy has included a weekly Vespers service on Saturday evenings, a weekly Paraklesis service on Wednesday evenings, Akathist Services, weekday Liturgies, and a Vigil service for St. Porphyrios. In addition to all the ministries and services, I am becoming more acquainted with the many committees — including finance, stewardship, Bazaar, Gyrofest, building, technology, service and outreach, preschool, Hellenic cultural, and aesthetics — and all the hardworking, dedicated, and talented parishioners who make up these committees, the parish council, the Greek School, Philoptochos, Daughters of Penelope, and AHEPA. With the development of the smartphone, a priest’s office hours have become a 24/7 service of answering phone calls, text messages, emails, and Facebook messenger to schedule meetings and confessions, answer questions, respond to emergencies, and offer a word of encouragement. Your prayers and support are always needed and especially appreciated during this time of transition in the life our parish.
Looking forward to 2017, my prayers for our parish include:
- That everything we do as a parish has as its ultimate purpose the salvation of souls — that is, growing closer to one another in a spirit of agape love, actively and intentionally growing towards Christ’s likeness, and witnessing our Orthodox Faith to others through our Christ- likeness, stewardship, philanthropy, outreach, dedication to prayer, and liturgical beauty.
- In addition, it is my prayer to develop new ministries to meet the spiritual needs of our parishioners, including a men’s group, a study group for married couples and young professionals, and to develop more lay leaders to lead our committees and small study groups.
- Finally, it is my prayer that God will send to us an assistant priest this year who will help to bear the burden of a large parish while working with all of us to achieve the above stated goals, pursue new goals, and fulfill our purpose as the Church: To receive and share the Light of Christ!