AMBASSADORS of FAITH
Often the first person our visitors see is a member of the parish council. Reaching out to those who enter our doors with a handshake, a greeting and a welcoming smile could be the most important missionary work we do. Simply put -- friendliness has eternal implications. Unless people see in us the light and the love of Christ, they will not believe.
Parishioners are often nominated as candidates for the Parish Council because of their education, business experience or legal background. The best parish council members are not necessarily those who are business-oriented, but rather, those who are Church-oriented and Christ-centered. To be a good council member, one must be active in the worship and sacramental life of the Church. The best candidates are easy to find - they are in church.
WE are CONCILIAR
The Priest is head of the Parish, and is charged with the guidance of the total Parish program. The parish council consists of the Priest, and the elected lay members, and is referred to as a board only when so required by local statute. In internal matters of the Church, we always use the designation of Parish Council. This is because one of the identifying traits of the Orthodox Church is that we are conciliar - decisions are made in council.
SETTING an EXAMPLE
The duties of a parish council membe include regular attendance at divine services and participation in the sacramental life of the Church, “thereby setting an example for the parish.” To set an example for the parish will require that we overcome the stereotype of the parish council member who is rarely seen in church. It is easy to be like Martha -- Jesus, the Son of God, came to dinner and Martha spent the entire time in the kitchen “anxious and troubled about many things.”
A COMMITMENT to SERVE
In the Oath of Office, the parish council members affirm that they “will fulfill faithfully and sincerely the duties and obligations required of a member of the Parish Council” A promise is made which rests on the shared commitment of all council members to serve the Church, which is the Body of Christ on earth. We are His hands, feet, eyes and more. To serve on the council is a ministry and a mission. We are called to use the gifts with which we have been blessed to carry out the work of the Church.