Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“Our community, united in our Orthodox Christian faith, aspires to live a Christ-centered life as set forth by our Holy Tradition. Strengthened by our Hellenic culture and the actions and sacrifices of our Greek-American founders and predecessors, we live as one multicultural parish family sharing Christ’s love in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
These words from the proposed final draft of our Parish Mission Statement reflect who we are as a community perpetually striving to live out its identity in both faith and works. I continue to be inspired by our Cathedral family’s wonderful organizations, comprised of dedicated individuals who aspire to live a Christ- centered life by sharing their time, treasure and talents for the glory of God. Time and time again God’s Grace places an idea within our community. Through our organizations, the idea develops into a plan of action. Goals are set, and talents to cultivate a particular vision are sought out for expertise and direction. In response, faithful stewards come forward to offer their help.
Through the generosity of our parishioners, we are able to give back to the Columbus community in a responsible manner. In the Gospel of Matthew, our Lord told us, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” We are exhorted to give not only without boasting but with anonymity, knowing that the reward for our deeds lies in heaven and not in the praise of men. However, for the sake of raising awareness within our own church family, and in encouragement and support of future efforts, I would like to share a few of the many ministries of our Cathedral.
Each year, our Cathedral provides over 7,000 meals to three local charities: Faith Mission, Friends of the Homeless, and Open Shelter. These meals are prepared by volunteers in our Cathedral kitchen and are delivered to and, or served at the location.
With thanks to God for the success of our Annual Festival, every year we give thousands of dollars to organizations throughout Central Ohio through our Community Outreach Fund. The following charities and many more have benefited from the fund: The Community Shelter Board, Salvation Army (CORRC), YWCA Family Center, House of Hope (addiction services), Angels with Autism, Faith Mission, Mid-Ohio Food Bank, Friends of the Homeless, Life Care Alliance, Open Shelter, A Kid Again, plus numerous more.
In addition to giving by our community as a whole, many of our organizations follow our Lord’s command to help the needy.
– The Greek Olympic Society contributes 125 full meals for a family of four (or 500 total meals) to Operation Feed. They also participate in the Ohio Special Olympics and in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Telethon.
– The youth of our community collect materials for and assemble Christmas gift boxes for Juvenile Prisoners, and also make bagged lunches for the Open Shelter homeless shelter. They also support the Christmas Wish Tree for the Open Shelter and YWCA Family Center. Turkeys are given to the Worthington Food Pantry. Money is collected for International Missionaries Health Kits for IOCC. We support the Clothing Drive for the Navajo Indians. Blanket making for women in chemo treatments. We take part in the Book collection for the Literacy Project Good Samaritan Shoeboxes. Recently, the young people of our community, along with several adults, went on their first Missionary trip to Gary, West Virginia, to provide help to families there in need.
– The Philoptochos (Women’s Philanthropy Group) provides meals for the homeless, in conjunction with the Friends of the Homeless. They also work with many local causes and charities, including: the Alzheimer’s Assoc. of Central Ohio, and annual Summer Diaper Drive and Winter Food Drive for NNEMAP (Near Northside Emergency Materials Assistance Program), the Atonement Lutheran Church, Comfort Dogs Rahab’s Hideaway-Human Trafficking, the Ohio Penitentiary System (Christmas Care Packages), Columbus Metropolitan Library, Franklinton Branch (Reading Buddy Program Donation). OhioHealth Foundation (hospice program donation), Soles for Souls (Shoes donated for persons of need), Zoe for Life Support for the Mission Trip to Gary, WV, Childhood League Center Grant for Capable Families-Social Worker Family Support New Horizons Youth and Family Center (TeenScreen Project) and Dress for Success Donations of Coats and Suits.
The “Annunciation” Cathedral tries to make a difference. Whether it is making an offering from the community for an emergency on a global scale or reaching out to a member of our parish family in need of emergency assistance, we always do our best to give help in a responsible manner where it is needed. With prudence, we believe firmly in St. Paul’s exhortation in the book of Galatians to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Therefore, we continue to prayerfully seek out God’s will how we might exemplify Christ’s love and offer the good news of Jesus Christ. With that in mind, let us commit to a familial effort to make a positive difference in the world around us in the name of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.
With love in the Lord,
Rev. Fr. Demetrios Gardikes