Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Last summer, with the blessing of Fr. Haridimos and our Board of Directors, a discussion began about the health of our church community. We discussed the number of people in Sunday Liturgy, our youth and children’s programming, the need for volunteers and financial support and asked ourselves what we could do to foster a growing and thriving community. This dialogue had us ask the question of what makes a church community truly healthy.
To that end, on January 25th, 2019, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios, our parish hosted an information session by the V. Rev. Jonathan Ivanoff, Director of Orthodox Natural Church Development (ONCD) about how to help Orthodox parishes develop into healthy, living organisms that thrive. The meeting was attended by our parishioners as well as priests and representatives of other parishes in Toronto.
After this meeting, the six members of the ONCD Team received training on how to administer the ONCD survey. In the weeks ahead, our goal is to select 30 people who (a) attend Divine Liturgy regularly and (b) perform a regular task for our parish, to take the survey – a proven diagnostic tool based on the only comprehensive international research ever done into what causes churches to grow or decline. The process that follows will provide an opportunity for all our parishioners – who love and care for our Church – to voice your thoughts and
concerns, and address our parish needs going forward with hope for our beloved All Saints Church.
If you have any questions, please email us at: email@example.com
We look forward to people coming together, with love
and care, to work through this exciting process!
Sincerely in Christ,
ONCD Team – Nick Sotiriou (Leader), Dimitra Chronopoulos, Angela Solomos, Don Givelos, Christopher Issariotis, Leo Lazaris
St. Mark 4:26-28
And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.”
To grow, a potted plant needs: soil, sun, water, and a big enough pot to allow for growth. When we provide the right balance of these things, God causes the growth to occur; it happens “all by itself.” When a Church parish removes obstacles and is ready to provide the basics in balance, God causes growth in that Church. It happens “all by itself.”
The theology behind Church growth and health in Orthodox Natural Church Development is simple: God wants the Church to grow. God wants people to come to understand that God loves them, and God desires people to learn to exercise their faith in their daily lives, to be spiritually healthy themselves, growing in the Church, and then to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth in their families and communities.
The Orthodox Natural Church Development process will allow us to identify the obstacles to growth, and give us a process to help us develop plans to move them out of the way.
To learn more about the ONCD process please take a look at the attached pdf document by clicking on the image to the left.
O Lord of the harvest, who planted the seed of Your Word in us and
watered it with Your grace, look upon us now as we work to prepare
the soil of our hearts so that the seed may grow and produce fruit in
abundance, both in us and in our parish community.
Show us how to build each other up for the work of ministry.
Help us to use the talents and abilities You have given us for the
well-being of the Church.
Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that our hearts may be aflame with love
Enable us to structure our lives and our community that Your love
and mercy may more effectively be shown in the world.
Inspire us as we gather in community to worship You and to receive
You in the holy Gifts of Your Body and Blood.
In our daily lives, help us to maintain our fellowship for the building
up of ourselves and our community.
Show us how to reach out to those around us with the Word of Your
Help us to love each other that the light of the Gospel may shine in
and through us.
O Lord, Jesus Christ our God, look now upon our Parish and bless
our efforts. Enable us, through Your great love for mankind, to
search out our strengths and weaknesses.
Where we are strong, give us the understanding to increase our
Where we are weak, give us the courage and insight to overcome
In all we do, make us witness of Your Kingdom.
For You are a merciful God who loves mankind, and to You we send
up glory: to Your Father who is without beginning and Your all-holy,
good and life-giving Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.