2018 Parishioner Letter for Virgin Mary church

2018 Parishioner Letter for Virgin Mary church

Dearly Beloved Parishioners,

We praise God for His grace in helping us reach the 50th Anniversary of our beloved church in Paramus
as we commemorate the Church’s consecration in April 1968 with high hopes for the future. We believe in the
Syriac traditions which embody our values and beliefs that unite us as parishioners, our faith that strengthens us
and the importance of preserving the Aramaic language through our Holy Liturgy. As you may know, the
mission for the Board of Trustees is to represent all the parishioners, our church’s rich history and solemn values
so we may prepare our church for the next 50 years and beyond. Our primary goal is to serve you and our
church, guided by God’s Word and Spirit.

In the past couple of months, we sought your opinion for improvements in a formal survey as well as
informal personal discussions. We want to thank you for your feedback. We heard your concerns and we are
currently setting plans to enact upon your requests. Today, through this letter, we are pleased to report on our
progress and plans. The feedback offered, in conjunction with the survey provided us insight into three key

  1. Increased spiritual and cultural enrichment
  2. Focus on our Youth
  3. Continued investment in our Church’s vital infrastructure

We want to highlight our plans and identify actions we’ve already undertaken in achieving these objectives.

1. Increased spiritual and cultural enrichment

The board is sponsoring key spiritual initiatives as investments in the long-term health of the Syriac community,
both here and abroad.

  • We have sponsored a four-week Summer “Vacation Bible School” program for our Sunday School
    children teaching them God’s rescue plan through His Son Jesus Christ. This curriculum is professionally
    administered at no cost to our students and takes place during Holy Liturgy.
  • We plan to embark on a churchwide Bible reading campaign to motivate everyone to read the Word of
    God and fellowship with Him daily. Look for more details on this significant initiative in the following
  • We are sponsoring eight needy families in Syria with financial assistance to help support their own
    families. We will also accept your donations to help grow the sponsorship to more families.
  • We have sponsored our youth to attend this year’s Syriac Youth Global Gathering, a spiritual
    enrichment event for young adults ages 18 to 30 from the global Syriac community.
  • We are also continuing to expand a new tradition of hosting multi-church events, such as the Mother’s
    Day and Super Bowl parties with St. Mark’s church. We encourage collaboration on future events with
    our local sister churches to foster unity and a sense of community
  • We have streamlined the fellowship hour and refreshments after Holy Liturgy on Sunday, with the
    Ladies Aid serving us efficiently and consistently.
  • Finally, in coordination with the Archdiocese, we are in the process of searching for a permanent priest.
    We are very grateful for the tireless efforts and devotion of Father Andrew, who has dedicated himself
    fully to our church, and the periodic visits by Father John, to ensure the continuity of our church’s
    traditions for future generations remains strong and continues.

2. Focus on our youth

Our primary focus is to provide our youth the environment to foster their Spiritual growth and connect with
other youth from the local community to protect them from worldly temptations through programs and events
that appeal to them.

  • We have relocated our Junior Youth Bible study to the Mor Aphrem Center which has begun to plant the
    seeds for shared participation among all area churches. The studies focus on spiritual messages for reallife
    experiences given by our Youth Director as well as scriptural interpretations from clergy. The
    program has been reformatted to include sports activities and snacks. We encourage your children to
    attend and for you to give us feedback on this program.
  • We kicked off a series of informational sessions directed at providing guidance to both the youth and
    their families. This series began with the perils of drug addiction and promoting the regard for our
    bodies as a temple honoring our Maker and the need to refrain from worldly temptations. We will
    address similar topics throughout the year to edify and equip everyone with Bible-based tools to
    promote healthy Syriac families.
  • Finally, we have begun to operate our Pre-school God’s Children Academy as a 501c3 foundation
    offering biblical teachings at a very affordable rate vs. the alternatives.

3. Continued investment in our Church’s infrastructure

We not only want to invest in the physical infrastructure of the church but feel we must focus on the digital
infrastructure as well to prepare our church and our children for the digital age. Several board members have
digital IT, communications and strategic business backgrounds in their professional lives and are devoted to
ensuring we deliver quality digital messaging on the topics of hope, faith and the power of God’s Word to the
youth and adults alike.

  • We re-launched our website (www.virginmarynj.org) just after Easter to begin building our Internet
    church to disseminate sermons, hymns, news, daily Bible Verses, event updates and opportunities to get
    involved. The motto for our digital effort is to “Make every day Sunday – the Lord’s day.”
  • We have also accelerated our Social Media postings to be more frequent and informational, primarily
    through Facebook and YouTube, and our weekly newsletter has succeeded in keeping the
    communications flow going about what’s new in and around the church.
  • We are piloting a Church management software application system that will enable us to build our
    parishioner database and more efficiently communicate with you and get your feedback on church
    matters. If you have not yet done so, please visit the office today and provide your email address and
    mobile telephone number. Your data will only be used by the church to communicate directly with you.
  • We brought fresh revenue to our church to fund these improvements by promoting increased rental of
    our Social Hall and attracting a paying tenant for our newly refurbished parish house.
  • Looking to the future, we have instituted a roadmap for repairs and upgrades to the physical
    infrastructure of the church. We have renovated the Sunday School/Preschool restrooms and will be
    restoring the adult restrooms over the course of the second half of this year. The dance floor in the
    social hall was also upgraded, and externally have begun work on the cement and drainage
    infrastructure around the church’s perimeter. Other maintenance projects are underway and expected
    during this second half of the year at every part of the church.

Remembering Our Legacy

Finally, we thank the hundreds of dedicated men and women who have served on the Board of Trustees over
the past 100+ years and in other volunteer capacities from the church’s humble beginnings in West Hoboken
(now Union City) and West New York. Volunteers in Christ initiated exciting new programs, built new
infrastructure, and supported the spiritual development of thousands of our ancestors and fellow parishioners
while preparing us for the future. Volunteers have come from all parts of our homeland region – Turkey, Syria,
Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere – and taught us to stand united as brothers and sisters in Christ, under one God
the Father.

With God’s help and your continuous support and feedback, the Board of Trustees stands ready to serve you
and to ensure continued growth in a spirit of unity and love.

Yours in Christ,

Board of Trustees, 2018
Assyrian Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary
Make every day Sunday- the Lord’s Day

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:33