Christ is Risen,

We greet each other joyfully with the Easter Greeting, “Christ is Risen!”.

We came together as a Christian community throughout Lent and Holy Week, following Jesus on the road to Calvary.  We walked on the journey with Him to Calvary, we stood beneath the cross, and we greeted the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday.  We see many people in Church who are our extended family and with whom we have shared much throughout our lives.  When we look at the people around us, it is obvious we are not all the same, nor should we be.  That is important to note, that we are all different, but it is in learning and accepting each other’s differences, that we as a community better reflect the light of Christ. The family that stands in church together with us, as fellow travellers, inspires us. We sing the Easter hymn together and share our faith in Christ.

The key to being a Christian community is to accept one and other in our common faith. The theme of our Eparchial Sobor is taken from an incident in the gospel of St John, in which Philip excitedly announces to Nathaniel, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” In reply to a sceptical Nathaniel, Philip says to him, “Come and see!” That is exactly what we say to all in anticipation of our Sobor.

We challenge and invite representatives of each parish to come to the Eparchial Sobor in order the advance the work of the Vision 2020 program. The essential task of this program is to build vibrant parishes; parishes where it will be even more possible to encounter the living presence of Jesus Christ. We will achieve this by exploring deeply the 6 priorities of the Vision 2020 program. During the sobor there will be presentations and discussions on each priority. For your information those priorities are:

  1. The Word of God and Catechesis
  2. The Divine Liturgy and Prayer
  3. Service to our neighbour
  4. Leadership – Stewardship
  5. Communion – Unity
  6. Missionary Spirit

When the eparchial sobor meets and comes together in worship, it will be an experience the Church. When each of us comes together in Worship and fellowship, we do so as members of the universal Church which is the assembly of the body of Christ in our immediate local community. Although we gather at a particular moment and at a particular place, our actions reach beyond the parish, we assemble as a church. We assemble as a community which includes both the living and the departed faithful. The church not only cares about those who are already with us, but also those who should and can be with us. This is the obligation of church, to open its doors and call everybody to a life in Christ.

An important aspect of praying our services together is the proclaiming of the Word of God. There is a very close relationship between worshipping, and catechesis. Faith is expresses itself in our community worship, and Worship serves to strengthen and communicate our faith. As a consequence, the prayers, hymns, and liturgical experience, become an important learning experience of faith.

In different parishes, we have various religious activities. For instance, we have icon writing groups and bible studies.  Our church choirs have been bringing people closer to God for many years.  The preparation for the first confession and solemn Holy Communion is an activity involving the whole family is also important.

In April our Eparchial Sobor will be a very honest and forthright exercise.  We as an eparchy will be looking at ourselves in order to see how we are doing.  Where we find ourselves inadequate, we must acknowledge this and change.

Later on this year, this program will continue on a worldwide level. Delegates from every eparchy in the world will be meeting in Ivano-Frankivsk, in order to share this experience together.  We, as a church, are going to be sharing our renewal.  This sharing, means we are going to be supporting each other, and learning from each other.

This though, is a challenge to us.  We are being called by Jesus to come and worship with Him in His Church. This invitation by Jesus is simply for us to be able to be accepting of the fact that we need to be opening to experiencing Jesus in our lives because He is Risen and lives amongst us.

May God bless us and keep us in His loving care,

Christ is Risen, truly He has Risen.

+ Peter