Happy New Year!
I’m doing so because the Church’s New Year, the “ecclesiastical New Year,” begins on September 1st. Why? A few reasons.
In ancient Rome, the New Year was marked by a tax assessment by the Emperor, called an “Indication,” which occurred annually on the first day of September. In nature, the completion of each year takes place at summer’s end, with the harvest and gathering of the crops into storehouses, and we begin sowing of seed in the earth anew for the production of future crops in early fall. The Church also keeps festival on September 1st, beseeching God for fair weather, seasonable rains, and an abundance of the fruits of the earth.
In our parish, we have ended the summer liturgical feasts of Transfiguration and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, and we have already celebrated the first major liturgical feast of the New Year, the Birth of the Theotokos. We will begin our church school program soon, and our theme this year will be “The Lord’s Parables.” We’re also beginning choir rehearsals, welcoming new members, and learning some new music. My sermons for the next few weeks will comprise a series that will help us better understand our Sunday service, the Divine Liturgy.
Additionally, we’ll be involved in two projects totally new to our parish. In October, we’ll be submitting a grant proposal to The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation that will enable us to assess the condition of our building from top to bottom. A grant award from The Connecticut Trust for this assessment would then allow us to submit applications for major projects in the future, perhaps major renovations that will help us better serve the wider community (Think: new industrial kitchen!). In December, we’re going to welcome YES (Youth Equipped to Serve) to our parish, a ministry of FOCUS North America that is designed to provide local parishes and youth workers with the resources necessary to involve junior and senior high students in local community service and short-term missions projects.
It’s going to be quite a year. We ask God’s guidance during it, and His blessings upon it.