Metropolitan's Monthly Message

His Beatitude, Metropolitan STEPHAN

1 January 2000

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

My Episcopal blessings are sent to you and yours this New Year. God gives us another chance to love, laugh, and celebrate in Christian fellowship. Let us always be thankful to Him.

As we praise God together, I invite you to accept a challenge. Every day, like every new year, is a gift. Reflect back on last year. Consider the problems in the world. Ask yourself what you did to lessen them?

There is so much each of us can do to bring happiness to a troubled, complicated planet. Many of you are already making plans for this year -- vacations, family reunions, or work schedules. I ask that you increase any charity work you now do or begin the new year by donating two hours a month to a worthy cause.

Here are a few possibilities:

* Spend time with an older parishioner who may have recently lost a spouse;
* Visit with the elderly at a nursing home;
* Consider helping at the local food or homeless shelter;
* Get involved with Literacy Volunteers and help someone learn to read;
* Join Meals on Wheels and help deliver food to those unable to travel or cook for themselves; or
* Help mentor the young through Big Brothers or Big Sisters.

The possibilities are endless. Even if you have a physical disability that limits you there's still something that can be done. Pray for the homeless, the single mother, and person dying of AIDS, cancer, or some other horrible disease. Nothing pleases God more than to know that everyone will have a prayer waiting for them in heaven.

Your efforts to bring happiness into the world brings you closer to God. It is impossible to eliminate all the hardships we see because like God Himself, this work is infinite. Every contribution, no matter how small, that makes the world a better place pleases God.

In God's Love,

Archbishop of New York
Metropolia of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the USA

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