Message from Fr Gary - November - December 2020
Gratitude and Encouragement: Fr. Gary’s Message
Struggles cause us to look at things from a different point of view. These circumstances either allow us to grow in profound ways or they impede us, and we stagnate. 2020 gave us two, solid, normal months before throwing us on a trajectory that none of us had ever experienced. We got to enjoy January and February 2020 as if it were any other year before Covid-19 made its debut in early March. Since then fear and anxiety surrounding the unknowns of this pandemic have plagued us as much as the virus itself.
Here at St. Demetrios we have been doing everything we can to support each other and find ways to cope with this newfound stress. Parishioners of all ages, kids to adults, have participated and contributed in many ways by making the Church a concentrated reality in our lives. Online services, studies in faith, extra services, uplifting lawn signs, and even a shopping ministry for aid those at risk.
Today I am asking that you take a moment and to help start a silent and, what I hope to be an extremely, beneficial ministry. A ministry that everyone can participate in to make a huge difference in the lives of each parishioner. Take a few minutes to spread gratitude and encouragement. Your brief time and effort to acknowledge the work you have witnessed exerted by fellow parishioners will establish a great spirit of appreciation.
The First Letter to the Thessalonians chapter 5 is amazing and very inspirational, but two extremely specific verses serve us well as we contribute to this silent project. St. Paul writes, “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). He continues in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." The groundwork for this silent ministry is founded in scripture, it is nothing new. Let us set it in motion.
If you are still reading this, and wish to participate, this is what I would like you to do. Identify five members of St. Demetrios and send each a personalized, handwritten card. In this note thank and encourage them for something wonderful you witnessed. Lift them up with gracious praise and inspire them with generous acknowledgement. Simply offer gratitude and encouragement to someone you see at services or church events.
If you don’t have their mailing address, simply write the cards, place your name and return address on it, with a stamp, and the recipient’s name and get them to me. I will address and mail the envelopes. In the card, include this line: “You are receiving this as part of the Silent Gratitude and Encouragement Ministry of the parish that was mentioned in Fr. Gary’s message in the Myrrh-Bearer.” Ask them to widen the range of reception and in return for the note they received from you that they write one to another parishioner. Let us see how long and deep we can take this exercise.
It is feasible that you will receive a note (or two). When you do, please continue to send new notes out to new people. Be creative as you recollect acts of kindness you witnessed. If you do not know someone’s name; call, email, or text me, and I will help you. If we all take a few minutes each day and participate several things will happen.
First, we will bring great joy into the lives of our fellow St. Demetrios parishioners. We all need a pick me up and just imagine how awesome you will make someone feel when you share with them how a simple and easy action moved you and how you appreciated it. Think about how motivated that person will be to hear that the effort they pour into the Church affects you. Second, you will find great satisfaction from this simple task. Our mood is positively affected when we express gratitude. Verbalizing gratitude is great, but writing out our sentiments creates greater retention. It is scientifically proven that writing a thank you note releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters that make us feel good. You are going to feel better by participating.
Your observations and insights will elevate the spirit of optimism within our parish. This is a great opportunity for us to spread the love of God in a specific and unique way. This is the time of year when we lose daylight and moods are automatically adversely affected, participating in this silent and special ministry will bring you great joy as you uplift your fellow Christian.
In Christ’s Service,
Fr. Gary Kyriacou