Every now and then, I like to peruse the Monthly Newsletters of parishes from our District and from around the country. I like to see what is going on here in the DAD and get great ideas from other successful ministries.
This month, I found this excerpt from St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bethesda, Maryland. Outgoing GOYA President Manoli Anagnostiades wrote in his final note to the parish what exactly it was that GOYA was to him. I found it inspiring and very true. I thank Manoli for granting me permission to duplicate his words here. Enjoy.
“GOYA is a ministry of the Church, and as such shares in her ministry of salvation. Encouraging GOYAns to grow in their faith and to grow closer to the Church and to Christ is the ultimate purpose of the GOYA. For the GOYAns to grow in their relationships with one another is a wonderful and beautiful experience, which goes hand-in-hand with growing in their faith. While social events and gatherings are an important part of GOYA, and very good things, we can never forget that the calling of GOYA is far higher than to be a mere social organization.
Rather, it must be a vehicle by which the young adults of our Church can mature into independent adults within a solid, Christian support network, a framework built on a solid foundation of Christ and His Church. From this, the whole vision of the GOYA must flow, and we must always reach for this higher calling. We have failed in this before, and we will fall short again, but the important thing is to learn from each time we are unsuccessful and to get back up again, ready to strive for this vision. Even if we only take the tiniest step forward towards a Christ-centered life, God will see and rejoice in our efforts and, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, will run and embrace us.
So, I urge the GOYA Board, the GOYA at large and the parish of St. George to continually remind the GOYA of its true purpose: to help create Orthodox Christian adults who try to become, with the help of Christ and Church, icons of the Lord, filled with faith, hope, humility and love. It is so easy to forget this, so easy to see the GOYA as a social organization for those youth in whom the blood of the Hellenes flows, but we must continually remind ourselves of the divine ministry of GOYA (and, by extension, the Church) and continue our efforts to transform ourselves, by the grace of the Lord, into icons of God’s great love.”