December 1, 2014
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
These are historic days in the life of The Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. Over the years we have, by God’s grace and by the holy intercessions of the Panagia, fulfilled our dream to build our church temple to the glory of the Holy Trinity. The final result of our efforts has surpassed what we even dreamed possible when we first began this sacred endeavor. The church we have built, by God’s grace, is established for the worship of the Lord, the preaching of the Gospel, the sacred administration of the holy Sacraments and for the cultivation of the Orthodox Christian way of life for ourselves and for our children. We have all made great sacrifices, and we have done so with our children and grandchildren in mind, and with a deep concern for the salvation of our neighbors.
The crown of our holy work of church building, the final step, will be the Divine Service of Consecration and the Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of our parish. This divine service of Concrecation, performed only by Orthodox Bishops, is scheduled for weekend of October 3 and 4, 2015. It will be the culmination of our parish’s history, and will be the pinnacle of all our efforts for the last 36 years since the General Assembly first authorized the purchase of a five and a half acre tract of land in Town and Country on November 12, 1978. The consecration will also mark a serious transition in the life of our parish, as we turn our attention from building the house of God to investing our full resources into receiving the blessings of the Orthodox Church and the multiplication of our ministries and service. Now that our foundations have been laid firmly, we can continue to build up the house of the Lord by building up our lives in Christ.
The Divine Service of Consecration is sacramental; like any other holy Sacrament, it is a flowing into this fallen world of the Kingdom of God, and a descent of the Holy Spirit to abide within the church. Our beautiful church will become, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the descent of the glory of the Almighty God, a beacon and icon of heaven itself. Our church will become a sacred house, the house of the Lord, and a consecrated holy place forever. An angel of the Lord will guard the holy altar, and the grace and glory of the Lord will fill its interior.
Unlike other sacraments, however, the Consecration is not received by an individual, but instead is a blessing for the entire Church community! At this sacred place untold numbers of people will be united to the Lord Jesus Christ in baptism, will grow up into maturity in Christ and holiness through active participation in authentic spiritual life, will embrace repentance and have their sins washed away through Holy Confession, will hear words of life preached, chanted and sung, will be crowned into one flesh in holy Matrimony, will be healed of diseases of body and soul, and will be escorted to the heavens at the time of their repose.
We call upon every parishioner to put this most important day in the history of The Assumption Church into your heart and onto the pages of your calendar. Be sure to take time off work to be able to attend the services and festivities surrounding the Consecration and the 75th Anniversary Celebration. More than anything else, please take this opportunity to reach out to our brothers and sisters who have fallen away from the Church. This is a celebration for all those who have ever taken part in the life of our parish, and is an opportunity to remind all of us of the blessings available to us through the Church. Please extend the invitation to those who have moved away or who no longer attend the Assumption Church. No one who has taken part in the life of our parish should be denied the blessing to participate in this extraordinary event.
Nothing is more important to us than the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, and nothing is more significant in the life of a parish than the consecration of its church temple. It is the magnificent baptism of the church, and it will only happen for us once. Thank God that we have been given this opportunity to be a part of this most sacred service.
Preparations for this great event are already underway led by our Church Consecration Committee, co-chaired by Mr. Greg Kanteres and Dr. James Hoekel. They will soon be leading committees, laboring in the fields of event promotion, press releases and coordination, website development, consecration book production, banquet arrangements, and much more. They will need many volunteers and co-laborers. Each of us has a special role to play in this holy celebration, by preparing our souls and bodies to receive Holy Communion at the Consecration Divine Liturgy, cleaning and adorning the church, praying with a pure heart and with complete devotion on the day itself and by rolling up our sleeves to join in the work of preparation.
On Friday, February 20th of the coming year, Fr. Michael Condos of The Three Hierarch’s Greek Orthodox Church in Champaign, IL, will be giving a special presentation about the service of the Holy Consecration. He will give an overview of what is involved in the service, as well detail the significance of the different aspects of the service. To appreciate this once in a lifetime experience fully, it is highly encouraged that everyone attend his presentation, so please mark your calendars
We pray that the Lord strengthens all of us in this magnificent undertaking and that He multiply our efforts that this blessed and sacred celebration may be worthy of His Glory.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph Strzelecki Gregory A. Kanteres
Parish Priest Co-Chairman of the Consecration
and 75th Anniversary Celebration
Anastasios Theodoropoulos James Hoekel, MD
Pastoral Assistant and Youth Director Co-Chairman of the Consecration
and 75th Anniversary Celebration
Fathers of the 1st Council; The Holy Hieromartyr Eutychius, Bishop of Melitene; Nikitas, Bishop of Chalcedon; Eutechios, Bishop of Mytilene; Helikonis the Martyr; Heladios the Hieromartyr of the East; Zacharias the New Martyr