Dear Christ Loving Congregation of St. Mary & St. Mark COC in Manhattan,

 

The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 

 

This letter serves to better organize my service to you, and increase communication from you to me. Currently, our schedule of Church services are the following:

 

  • Monday: Bible Study (1st, 2nd & 3rd Monday) and Feeding the Homeless (4th Monday)

  • Saturday: Midnight Praises & Hymns.

  • Sunday: Divine Liturgy followed by brunch.

 

Since presently there is no central location to meet with me personally. It is currently best to communicate via email, phone or text to be in touch throughout the week.

 

Please keep record of my new contact information:

 

Fr. Gregory's contact information

FatherGregoryS@gmail.com (do not forget the letter "S")

I. Daytime meetings 8AM-4PM - Confession / Fellowship

I am initiating a service during the daytime called Coffee or Lunch with Abouna. This allows us to utilize your lunch hour for a meetup and I will come local to your workplace to sit and spend some time with you. We can use it as a time for confession, sharing of thoughts or ideas you may have for our beloved Church or just simple fellowship. This will all be scheduled so I do not take you from work and it will help facilitate us to be organized with our time. 

 

II. Home Visits (day or evening) - Blessing of the home, Unction of the sick, Confession, Prayer of the 1st bath for newborns

The visitation of the home is crucial for a thriving and living Church and its members. The practicality of personalizing the relationship b/w priest and congregation on Sat/Sunday is negligible when compared to a home visitation. Home visits allow for the home and its residents to be prayed over and blessed. It also facilitates the home to be an extension of the Church as a house of prayer, purity & blessing. 

 

The visitation of the home is important to getting to know the members of our congregation. This includes students, workers, couples, families, widows, the sick and altogether helps maintain the focus on the family.

 

III.  Hospital visits - Unction of the Sick, Confession & Communion

Laura has reached out to multiple chaplains of the major hospitals in Manhattan to register me as a Coptic Orthodox Priest for the service of visiting the sick and to try to enter our Coptic Orthodox entity as a denomination in the registry of the hospital. That way, when a patient is admitted and enters their Church affiliation, the hospital will know who to contact for a visitation. The unction of the sick is a blessed sacrament of our Church. A true mystery of holiness and healing for the sake of those who are sick.

 

Irregardless of parish, anyone who is admitted into a hospital in Manhattan would be connected to St. Mary & St Mark's in Manhattan for a visitation. 

 

There is also plans to place a copy of the Agpeya/Book of Hours (Psalms) as a property of the Hospital to share with the patient during their hospital stay.

 

IV.  Retreats/Spiritual Days

The impact of Retreats & Spiritual Days on the person and the Church community at large is a very powerful one. It is through these events that the Church builds itself individually and collectively as a member(s) of the body of Christ. The demographic of our retreats depends wholly on the needs of the Church, at the moment, we have 2 retreats during the year where all are welcome. (singles & family)

 

V.  Community Service

Since its inception in 1999, community service has always been an integral part of the identity of our Church in Manhattan, and it's a crucial means of connecting with our community at large. 

 

We've adhered to a monthly feeding of the homeless in the city through sandwich drives, helped with the Bowery mission to prepare meals and have a personal encounter with those who are in need, helped paint an elementary school as well as partnered with the Ronald McDonald House to enter their home and work with children & their families as they go through cancer treatment. 

 

This outline is a brief summary of services of our Church, made both to serve us individually and collectively as well as serve our community in which we live. Our Church continues to grow and serve the needs that may arise as they come. 

 

Please pray for St. Mary & St. Mark's, His servants, His people and His Church.

 

Tentatively, Tuesdays will be my personal time spent with family. 

 

Grace & Peace,

Fr. Gregory

FatherGregoryS@gmail.com (do not forget the letter "S")

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