From the Rector’s Desk—February 2014

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Don’t Forget the New Budget for 2014 is approximately 8% higher than last year ($225,000). In order to help everyone remember the needs of the parish, every household in the parish will receive a month’s supply of envelopes in the mail to be placed in the offering baskets on Sunday. This envelope system is a friendly reminder that parish expenses are an ongoing, 52-week-per-year reality. Churches using this system report an increase of 15-20% in annual giving, so it is well worth a good-faith effort this year. Council will re-evaluate for 2015.

March for Life: Cold weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the many thousands who marched for life again this January 22 in Washington, DC. However, we did think it best to cancel HTOC’s participation because of the risk of exposure in the frigid air. (The wind chill was down to -5° to -10°F on the Mall.) But a Trisagion for the 56 million unborn lost to abortion over the last 41 years was chanted here that evening.

HTOC Survey: The Strategic Growth Team has prepared a parish-wide survey for members. It will enable us to ascertain common vision for a way forward for the future as the next step in strategic planning. Look in the mail for your copy.

Zacchaeus Sunday falls on the 2nd, coinciding with the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. It’s one of those preparatory signals that Lent is approaching in one month (March 3). The Lord tells Zacchaeus: “Make haste.” (In other words, “Hurry up. I’m coming to your house.”) The calendar tells us to get our houses in order for the Lord’s coming, not merely the approach of Lent. It will be a message continued throughout the Great Fast: Get ready. Indeed, Lent will help get us ready for Christ’s coming, his Resurrection, his Kingdom, if we pray, fast, and worship together for the Great Forty Days. Long message, short: Zacchaeus made haste. Zacchaeus came to Christ. And salvation came to Zacchaeus. It’s the same message for us.

Archdiocesan PropertyDelegates to the Jan. 18 Special Archdiocesan Assembly held in Canonsburg voted overwhelmingly not to sell the Archdiocesan Center by a vote of 54-8. More study was called for as well as a strategic plan for the diocese.

Deacon Jason Isaac will be ordained to the Holy Priesthood in Marshall, AK on March 29. 
If you would like to help contribute to buy his first set of vestments, please use one of the special envelopes in the narthex (earmark your gift, “Deacon Jason/ Vestments”). By the way, there is a nice photo of the Isaac family in the Parish Hall along with a “Thank you” for the support our Men’s Fellowship and others have provided.

Speaking of Alaska, I’ll be returning to Alaska briefly to attend the consecration of Fr. David Mahaffey as Bishop on February 21. Alaska in winter!? It’s warmer than State College to be sure. 

— Fr. John