St. Andrew the Apostle Mission Parish
Leadership 100 has supported the Home Mission Parish Program for a decade, with total funding of $1,060,200. In 2008, a grant of $105,000 was awarded to this critical program. Home Mission helps establish new Greek Orthodox parishes and helps support small Greek Orthodox parishes that are striving to become self-supporting parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The Home Mission Parish program provides assistance to mission parishes throughout the country in their critical first years of existence. In special situations assistance may also be provided to parishes that have declined but are in a period of renewal and outreach.
In many areas of the United States, there are clusters of Orthodox Christians who, with the approval of the local Hierarch, would like to establish a parish. To do this requires the services of a priest. Often these communities are unable to afford a priest and the additional expenses that would be involved. Over the past 16 years, such groups, as well as existing parishes struggling to become self-supporting, have been assisted with monthly grants from Leadership 100 to make it financially feasible for a priest to be assigned. The priest is able to offer much-needed consistency in leadership during the critical stages of parish formation and renewal, increasing immensely the likelihood of a parish becoming self-sufficient.
On the recommendation of the local Hierarch, the Home Mission Parish Program provides monthly supplemental support for the compensation of full time clergy assigned to parishes designated by the local Hierarch as mission parishes. This support declines over a period of two to five years during which time it is expected that the parish will become self-sufficient. These parishes are under the direct supervision of their local hierarch. At the Archdiocesan level, the administration of this program has been assigned to the Department of Outreach & Evangelism. Mission Parish status implies that fair share obligations to the Metropolis and Archdiocese are waived.
Each year a determination is made by the local Hierarch as to which parishes have become self-sufficient and which still warrant funding through this program. The Metropolitan Hierarch provides information on the parishes and suggests the level of support that is warranted in each situation. Funds are then allocated as available and within the criteria of the program. It is understood that a designated mission parish with a full time priest may receive support at a gradually declining rate for up to five years and that fair share (stewardship) payments to the Metropolis and Archdiocese are waived or significantly reduced.
Support in 2008 has gone to parishes in Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Tennessee and Michigan. Fifteen parishes are currently receiving assistance through the program. With the assistance of Leadership 100, new parishes are being established and existing parishes have been given new life with the ability to afford the assignment of a full-time priest, according to Fr. James Kordaris, Director of Outreach and Evangelism, who oversees the program.
"In many areas of the Archdiocese, Orthodox faithful and inquirers who were underserved because of their distance from the nearest parish are now worshipping and participating regularly in their own local parish," he said.
This support is provided in conjunction with additional liturgical, educational and outreach resources from the Department of Outreach & Evangelism. A number of resources and programs have been developed in conjunction with the Leadership 100 Home Mission Parish Grant Program that could be of benefit, and are available to all parishes of the Archdiocese.