The past twelve months marked the ten year mark for our parish community, a decade in which God has wrought many good things in our church.
Those who write about mission work in the Orthodox Church often speak about this holy labour in terms of a corporate plan, with all the reverence of a balance sheet or a policy strategy.
The reality in entirely different. As Father Kosmas, the apostle to Zaire stated, whatever is of God will last; whatever is from me will pass away. So it is with the mission of Orthodox Christianity in Hamilton and area. The "promotional" work of the last decade has brought no lasting results: newspaper ads, flashy outreach to non-Orthodox groups, and all sorts of "official" work have proven empty.
Where God has given astounding and unexpected fruit is the same as the Church always experienced: in the humble, prayerful, and consistent labours of the faithful of the Church.
This is the very reason our tenth anniversary saw a huge crowd at its fall celebration, gathered to hear talks on the spiritual care of sexual addictions, the problem of our age. It is the reason almost $40,000 was collected toward our Raise the Roof campaign for renovations. It is the reason each Sunday sees one or two new inquirers - over fifty each year - along with requests to have Orthodox speakers addressing public events. And it is the reason spiritual harmony between our Orthodox communities in Hamilton continues to grow through joint prayers, celebrations, events, public advocacy for our faithful, and education.
Contrary to the old saying, life is not what we make it: our life is what God will make it, if and where we humbly, prayerfully, and consistently co-operate with His holy will.
If this is the only lesson we have learned as a parish over the last ten years, we have learned a precious lesson indeed.