for us to work together to serve those in need in our own community and beyond. But before we look ahead, I would like to recap our philanthropic outreach fo 2011. Besides all of the hundreds of hours of hands-on service that our Philoptochos ladies and men donated to so many worthy causes, we are extremely proud to say that, due to your membership stewardship and your additional support and donations, our chapter was able to donate $17,500 to charitable causes last year! Thank you for your generosity! The following is a summary of our outreach:
· $10,400 to our National Philoptochos Commitments, including our membership per capita and other required donations such as to St. Basil's Academy,
HC/HC (proceeds from the Lenten Luncheon) Autism Assistance, IOCC, the National Philoptochos Emergency Fund, UNICEF, and others.
· $1,300 to our Metropolis Philoptochos Commitments, including FOS, the Methodios Faith and Heritage Camp, and membership.
· $1,000 to our local charities, including the Ronald McDonald House, Springfield Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, Toys for Joy, and the USO
· $4,350 to our St. George parish charitable donations, including scholarships, Stop & Shop gift cards for those in need, and the Tornado Fund.
· $450 to other wonderful causes.
We hope and pray that our philanthropy
increases in 2012 due to your continued support and generosity. Remember, even
if you cannot give five minutes of your time to help, you can give one minute of
your time to renew your membership or become a member of Philoptochos in 2012,
which will only add to our charitable donation ability! January is our Kick-Off
Membership month, and our membership form is in this newsletter--don't
delay, sign up today!
By becoming a member, you can proudly say that you are a part of the
LARGEST ladies Philanthropic
organization in the United States
(yes, we passed Hadassah in 2011!). Yes, there is
power in numbers, and we need all ladies (and men as associate members) to join
with us today to make a difference! See below for additional details.
Now for a few "save the dates" and a few requests--please mark your calendars! Please consider stepping up to help! We love your assistance and your ideas!
· Philoptochos 2012 Membership Kick-Off will be held during coffee hour in the large hall on Sunday, January 22 from 11:30-12:00. Renew your membership or become a new member by making a stewardship contribution anytime on or before January 22 and your name will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card to a local supermarket to be drawn at noon on 1/22 during coffee hour. All are welcome to become a part of our very vibrant and philanthropic St. George chapter; we have such a strong history of fellowship and service, and we need YOU to continue our work helping those in need today and in the future. Just by joining and making a stewardship contribution you are immediately connected to the largest women's philanthropic organization in the United States. We also welcome men as associate members. The current 2012 board will have a table at the coffee hour to take your membership, and there will be a form in the January newsletter and on our Philoptochos link through stgeorgecath.org to send in your membership at any time. Also, National Membership cards that were not mailed last year will be available on 1/22 for pick-up. Thank you!
(This is in lieu of the previously announced General Assembly meeting on 1/22).
· Save the Date! Philoptochos annual Membership Social will be held on Sunday, February 12 in the Small Hall from 12:00-1:30. For this year's theme, "Dips, Drinks, and Dancing" the Philoptochos board will entice you with their very best dips, crackers, and other healthy munchies, while our very capable bartenders Chris Ciejek and Charlie Alvanos will be serving up their famous martinis and margharitas! Line dancing will also be in the program. . . country-western line-dancing lessons, and of course some Greek dancing, will round out the festivities. This will be our Go Red event (which has a "Dancing for Heart Health" theme this year), so all are encouraged to dress comfortably and to wear red to recognize "Heart Health" month. Your $5 donation to the American Heart Association will enter your name into a special drawing that afternoon for a dozen red roses--just in time for Valentine's Day! Join the fun! All are invited! You will have the opportunity to sign up/renew your membership as well as to sign up to donate your time, talent and treasure to our upcoming Philoptochos events.
· On the same date, February 12, we will also have our first Blood Pressure Sunday, sponsored by our wonderful Parish Nurse Team.
· Sunday, March 25 from 12:00-2:00 will be the date of our annual (and delicious) Lenten Fish Luncheon, at which time we also celebrate the feast of our beloved chapter "Evangelismos", as well as Greek Independence Day with a special presentation from the Greek School Students. This is always such a special event which brings all of us together during the Lenten season. Additional details will be available soon, but in the meantime, we are looking for volunteers to help with the following important tasks: someone to be a co-chair for the event, set-up and clean-up, assistance with donations, and assistance planning and preparing the food. Please consider helping out and contact Sue Alvanos at 413-789-0157 or email@example.com for information or to volunteer.
· We are still looking for someone to organize monthly or bimonthly meal preparation at the Springfield Rescue Mission. It is not a difficult task, but very rewarding.
I would like to offer my sincere "thank you" to those that volunteered to make our annual Vasilopita celebration such a beautiful event: Father Chris for his beautiful orchestration of the cutting, Mary Anne Pappas for chairing the event, Denise Reed and Pat Tsandilas for chairing the baking of the Vasilopita for coffee hour--and for their team of baking volunteers, Mrs. Antigone Panidis for baking the Vasilopita for church, and to all those organizations who were so very generous with your donations. All proceeds go directly to St. Basil's Academy, and other Philoptochos National charitable commitments. By the way, a few of the good luck coin winners were Georgia Malandrakis, Georgia Lisee, Betty Socha, and Deb Ciejek. Good health and long life to all!
Thanks also to those who have donated their time to assist us in our Philoptochos room "make-over", including the Building Fund, Steve Scliopou, and to the following ladies who have helped to clean, organized, polish silver, and much more: Aspasia Gravanis, Denise Reed, Mary Anne Pappas, Eleni Hogan, Sheila Joseph, Dorothy Tsatsos, Deb Ciejek, and Anastasia Moysis. I'm sure others have also assisted, and I thank you for your very kind assistance! We are well on our way to having a beautified and organized Philoptochos Room to truly be proud of and that we can meet in and entertain in! It will be very easy to maintain the order and beauty in the years ahead with everyone's ongoing assistance in placing things back in their rightful place after using. Also, we are looking into utilizing the antique "Woodward & Brown" piano that we have in our room. Does anyone have any information that they can share with me about who donated the piano, when it was donated, and what their wishes were for that beautiful (but in need of repairs) piano???
On behalf of your dedicated Philoptochos Board of Directors, I would like to again wish everyone a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!
With love and appreciation,
The President's Message (previous Message)
Dear Philoptochos Sisters in Christ and Friends of Philoptochos,
We have begun a new era here today in our Philoptochos family. Our first male "associate members" joined Philoptochos on Sunday, January 30 by making a stewardship pledge. We are proud and honored to welcome George Couchaftis, George Poulopoulos, and Xenophon Beake as associate (non-voting) members, something that many other chapters have been doing for years.These men have contributed to St. George Philoptochos in so many other ways, and have truly been "friends of the poor" here at St. George, so it is only fitting to welcome them as official members.
We encourage all ladies, and now men, to join Philoptochos, or re-new your membership as soon as possible by filling out the membership form in the newsletter and giving it to one of the board members, sending it to the office, or of course, sending it to Diane Colapietro, our membership chairperson and Assistant Treasurer. Our goal is to increase our membership by 10% this year, from 145 members in 2010 to 160 members in 2011, and your support is truly appreciated!
On Sunday, February 6, from 1:00-3:00 pm in the Small Hall, we will be sponsoring our 4th book signing event with local romance novelist Linda Cardillo. It is our 3rd "Happy Heart" Go Red Sunday event, a way to not only gather together for a lovely afternoon of "Margaritas, Munchies, and Mingling", but also to join with the national Go Red Sunday movement sponsored by the American Heart Association. Chris Ciejek and Charlie Alvanos will be making RED MARGARITAs for your enjoyment, we will have some healthy munchies, Linda will be reading from her newest book "Across the Table", with books for sale and personally signed by Linda, and
your $10 donation will go to the American Heart Association, and other Philoptochos Charities. Linda is an engaging and inspiring author, and we guarantee a lovely afternoon for all! Don't forget to WEAR RED to church and to the event on Sunday, and since this event is open to the public, we ask that you bring a friend or two! By wearing red (or pink) on Sunday you'll show you're part of the Go Red movement sponsored by the American Heart Association. The red dress is a symbol of
the fight against heart disease. Go to the website and sign up for a free pin and read other information about their program to help you be heart healthy at www.goredforwomen.org. Our next "Heaven's Kitchen" baking workshop will be on Saturday, February 12, at 2:30pm in the kitchen. Van Bletsos will be leading this very special workshop in the making of Prosforo. The literal translation of Prosforo is "offering" and that is precisely what it is, an offering of your faith to
God, "Thy own of thine own we offer you". The Prosforo is broken into tiny pieces by the priest and placed in the Holy Chalice for Holy Communion. The Orthodox faithful believe that through the invocation of the Holy Spirit the bread and wine will be transformed into the resurrected body and blood of Christ. Making Prosforo is a simple yet profound way to become part of the Orthodox liturgy. You may bring your own pans and stamp to join in and learn, or just come to watch or help
make the loaves that Van will be instructing us on. All are welcome, ladies, men, and ageappropriate children, but please give Sue Alvanos a call or e-mail to let her know you will be coming (413-789-0157 / firstname.lastname@example.org).
On February 16th, you are invited to join Philoptochos in a visit to the Holyoke Soldiers Home. We will meet in the lobby at 1:15, then will go to the activities room to bring donuts and visit with the veterans, then participate with the 2:00 sing-a-long. We will be delivering donated items to the Home, also.
The next very important event that will be coming up is our first Philoptochos General Assembly meeting of the year on Sunday, March 6 from 12:00-1:00 in the Small Hall. We will conduct a short business meeting, you can join or re-new your membership, sign up to help out at the Ronald McDonald House, sign up to help with the Lenten Luncheon on March 27, and then listen to a special guest speaker, Dr. Anna Grewal, who will be speaking about a relevant women's health issue. Please save the date, and watch for more details coming soon. Please also mark your calendars for our Annual Lenten Luncheon, to be held on Sunday, March 27 from 12:00-2:00 pm, with a special Greek School presentation, as well as our featured guest speaker, Fr. Ted Barbas, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston. We are absolutely
delighted that Fr. Ted will be our guest speaker, and we hope that you will plan to come to this most wonderful event! Aspasia Gravanis is one of the chairpersons, but of course there is much planning and work to be done to make this event as successful as it is each year. Please consider speaking to Aspasia about joining her committee to help with the planning, decorations, food, dessert, invitations, or with other ideas--your assistance would be truly appreciated!
By the way, I would like to thank the folks that brought some items to church on Sunday for the Springfield family displaced from their home last week due to a fire. On behalf of St. George, I was able to bring sheets, towels, kitchen items, food, clothing, and much more directly to Darlene and her family in their new apartment, and they were truly grateful. If you have any household items, or food that you would like to donate, please bring it to the Happy Heart event on February 6, and I
will make another delivery to her.
Lastly, I would like to remind you who the very hard working and devoted Philoptochos 2009- 2011 Board Members are: Deb Ciejek, Penny Goncalves, Maria Crowson, Diane Colapietro, Denise Reed, Toni Kamyk, Mary Anne Pappas, Tina Schmidt, Sheila Joseph, Dorothy Tsatsos, Aspasia Gravanis (new for 2010-11), Irene Drewnowski, Betty Socha, Ellen Bletsos, Angie Gouzounis and Anthoulla Mavroudhis-Eleftheriou. I can't thank them enough for helping to make our St. George
"Evangelismos" Philoptochos such a vibrant, caring, welcoming, fun, and truly Christian organization. We are always looking for ways to serve others, so please speak to one of the board members with your ideas, or come to one of our events to join in. I would also like to again thank Laila Haddad, our webmaster, who keeps our website and facebook page up to date, and looking great! Please check us out and become our friend! And special thanks to Eleni Hogan who continues to coordinate our monthly meal to the Ronald McDonald House.
Thank you for your encouragement, support, generosity, and participation. May God continue to
Bless all of us as we humbly try to accomplish His work on earth.
With love and appreciation!
(789-0157 / email@example.com
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On behalf of the St. George Philoptochos Board of Directors, I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to everyone who supported our October “Cakeless Bake Sale” . Over $1,400 was raised which will directly support our 2011 High School Scholarships. We were overwhelmed by your generous donations, and our scholarship recipients are truly grateful each year for the $3,000 (total) in scholarships that they receive from the Philoptochos.
We would also like to thank the 80+ ladies and men who joined us at our fabulous “Spirit of Philoptochos” luncheon on October 31 celebrating our Past Philoptochos Presidents and long-standing board members. We had two wonderful guest speakers, Philippa Condakes (Metropolis Philoptochos President) and Georgia Lagadinos (Metropolis Philoptochos 2nd Vice President) who updated us on many Metropolis and National Philoptochos initiatives, and specifically about the Social Services Ministry available through Philoptochos to help those who are struggling financially, emotionally, and/or physically who could benefit from additional support. Christiana and Elaina Stamas played several Disney pieces on the piano for our listening pleasure, Xenophon Beake was there taking pictures which are included here, and Fr. Chris graciously spoke about the important work of Philoptochos and led us in prayer. I would like to thank Deb Ciejek and her food committee for preparing a wonderful luncheon, Ellen and Sophia Bletsos for making delicious pumpkin bread and apple crisp for dessert, and so many other ladies who helped with tickets, set up, decorations, and clean-up. But most of all, it was a very special afternoon for the Past Presidents who were there with family and friends celebrating their dedication and devotion to Philoptochos and to St. George. The following past presidents graced us with their presence and their thoughtful comments: Harriett Babacas, Helen Stavarakis, Kiki Anderson, Denise Reed, and Joan Marcil. Many thanks and blessings to them.
On October 24th, Philoptochos teamed up with board member Angie Gouzounis to participate in the Rays of Hope Breast Cancer walk on the “Angie’s Angels” Team. It was an overwhelming experience, walking 5 miles with 17,000 supporters on a crisp fall morning, and we can’t thank Angie enough for organizing a great team. We walked together to support those women from St. George who have been diagnosed with breast cancer recently and in the past.
To support our veterans, Denise Reed, Mary Anne Pappas, and Sue Alvanos brought supplies underwritten by Walmart, along with some Dunkin Donuts and good cheer to the Holyoke Soldiers Home on November 8. It was a great feeling to be able to thank so many veterans in person for their service and dedication to our country. Pictures from the Holyoke Soldiers Home visit and pictures from the Rays of Hope walk are in this Philoptochos newsletter.
SAVE THE DATES!!
Sunday, November 28, Philoptochos will assist the High School Sunday School in sponsoring Coffee Hour for our recent graduates at our annual “Reunion Sunday”. Please stop by the Philoptochos table at coffee hour to receive a small gift and to give your current e-mail to us so that we can keep in touch with our graduates in our Campus outreach ministry.
Sunday, December 12 11:30-1:30, Christmas Cookie Swap, Blood Pressure Clinic, and “Jubilee Market”. Please plan to bring 3 dozen Christmas cookies to church and help us make baskets of warmth and cheer to be delivered to parishioners in nursing homes and the homebound. We need your help to bake, assemble, and deliver the baskets! You can also get your blood pressure taken by our Parish Nurses that day—free and confidential screening for heart health. Also, you will have the opportunity to “shop with a purpose” in the “international bazaar” of the Jubilee Market to help support women around the world who have come out of human trafficking. Watch for additional details in the near future!
We hope to start our “Heaven’s Kitchen” workshops again in January, and on January 16 we’ll be having our “Margharita’s, Membership, and Mingling” Kick-off Membership Social. Stay tuned for details.
May God continue to bless you with health, prosperity, and love in abundance, as well as with a bountiful and blessed Thanksgiving.
With Love and Appreciation,
Sue Alvanos, Philoptochos President
Dear St. George Friends,
As I look back at the first year of my term as the President of the St. George Philoptochos, I can only say that it has truly been an honor and a privilege to be associated with such a beautiful organization. The Philoptochos Board that I serve with has been an unbelievable support, and their hard work and dedication to St. George, to the Philoptochos, and to Jesus Christ have been an inspiration to me this past year. I couldn't have made it through even one day without them. It has been a journey for me into the hearts and lives of so many beautiful ladies of St. George and I have been humbled by the level of service that so many women give to others, not only today, but in the past, and on an ongoing basis.
The history of our Philoptochos is an amazing fabric of serving others--hands on, and by raising money to donate to charity, maintaining our Orthodox heritage, and having fun together, and I have been proud to have had the opportunity this year to stand side by side with so many "Wonderful Orthodox Women" (and men). The future is whatever we make of it - together - and I look forward with excitement as we plan another year of Philoptochos service events.
Another beautiful Philoptochos event took place in our cultural center on May 2, our Table Top Social and booksigning with author Deb Dunham. The tables were beautifully decorated, with so may fun, artistic and imaginative themes. Thanks to the hostesses for diligently and creatively decorating your tables, and bringing your friends and family to our event. Thanks also to Deb Ciejek, our food chairman, and her team, for organizing a lovely light luncheon, and to those who donated so many delicious Greek pastries and other goodies for desert. Mary Ann Pappas and Penny Gonzalves, and their team in the ticket and advertising department, were instrumental, as usual, for the efficient sale of over 130 tickets. Thank you to Katie and Julie Novotney for providing such beautiful piano music to seranade our guests during social hour and during the booksigning at the end of the event. Several other budding pianists also contributed to the entertainment, mainly the Hogan and Stamas girls. Most of all, a special thanks to Joanne Papadimitriou, Penny Stamas, and Eleni Hogan for chairing the event and organizing the hostess tables, and every other detail to produce such a beautiful and successful Table Top Social. All proceeds from the event will be going to our Philoptochos annual scholarships, awarded each June to our deserving Senior Class of our St. George Sunday School.
Our speaker for the event, Deb Dunham gave a very timely and inspirational presentation focused on raising our children to have the self-esteem, self-respect, and self-love that will help them to then show those qualities to others in building strong and healthy relationships with family and friends. Deb gave the audience a chance to practice some of her strategies with our table members, and demonstrated the concept of "being yourself and loving yourself" with some of our young audience members who volunteered to do some role playing. She also focused on the topic of bullying, not just in the school and social settings for "tweens", but also in other settings, such as the workplace, with insight as to why it happens and strategies for parents, teachers, and kids to prevent and stop this type of behavior. Overall, Deb really gave us all some food for thought, and the feedback from the audience was overwhelmingly positive.
On May 23, we had another amazing Zumba class with instructor Karen Ollari, and although the participation was not nearly as robust as our first class in January, those who participated were treated to a heart-pumping, hip-swaying, dance-workout that was as much fun as the first. We hope to do it again in the fall, and those who stayed for our non-quorum Philoptochos General Assembly meeting came up with some great ideas for a Fall Fitness Fund-raiser which may include not only Zumba, but some other fun fitness classes and information--something for everyone.
Our last Philoptochos event before the summer, which was supposed to take place on Sunday, June 13 from 12-2:00 pm, our "Spirit of Philoptochos" social with guest speaker, Aphrodite Skeadas, National Philoptochos President, is being postponed until a date that will be announced in the future. Believe me, this decision to postpone was very difficult to make, but we decided that since our very own Philoptochos board member and friend, Mary Ann Pappas is going to be honored in Boston that day at the Metropolis Laity awards, that two big events in one day would be difficult to support. We are dedicated to bringing the postponed event to fruition in the future, and will still be looking for input from YOU as we set forth to honor our past presidents and other long-standing board members. Any information or assistance that you can provide will be immensely helpful.
Of course, we are thrilled to be able to go to the Laity Awards Banquet on June 13 to honor and support Mary Ann, who exemplifies the Philoptochos philosophy of dedication, hard work, giving, and a loving spirit. Our board members and many others from St. George will be taking a bus to the event, and for information on tickets and travel arrangements you can call the St. George office.
I would also like to invite you to a special summer "Heaven's Kitchen" workshop with Maria Papadoulias on Monday, July 19, at 6:00 pm in the Cultural Center Kitchen. I am calling it"Moussaka Madness with Maria", and you'll be treated to a Moussaka demonstration by the best Moussaka-maker east of the Mississippi! We are thrilled to have Maria take time from her busy schedule, so please call Sue Alvanos at 789-0157 to reserve your spot in the kitchen.
One last reminder, please return your donations for the Philoxenia House, our May committment, as soon as possible, to the church, or by mail (envelopes were included in our mailing). Thank you for your support of this most worthy cause.
Thank you again to the Philoptochos Board Members who continue to work on your behalf to keep our Philoptochos "Evangelismos" vibrant and growing. It continues to be an honor and a pleasure to serve with them to bring the ladies of our church together in service, fellowship, and love.
With Love and Appreciation,
Susan Alvanos, Philoptochos President
Let us renew ourselves and our commitment to God during the season of Great Lent, prepare our bodies and our hearts for the feast of the Resurrection, renew our devotion to God through prayer, fasting, and giving of ourselves, and re-dedicate ourselves in word and in deed to the commandments to love God and our neighbors. If we have been true to our faith, it is the time to ask God for continued strength to build better, more meaningful relationships with God and with our brothers and sisters, to enhance our stewardship and our outreach efforts, and to ask others to join us as we work together to build a stronger church. If we have been inattentive or indifferent to our faith, Lent is the perfect opportunity to return to, reintroduce, restart, repair, and restore ourselves to our faith. For my Orthodox sisters, I ask you to join me and to join the Philoptochos as we work together to build stronger relationships with our church and within our church. Lent is the perfect season to start. March is the perfect month to begin anew.
Let me first ask you to join us on Sunday, February 28 from 12:00-1:30 after church for a "Get Fit in 2010" event as we host guest speaker Nancy Brown, Nutrition Therapist and Physical Trainer, who will energize us with "10 Tips to Get Healthy in 2010".This will also be a donation opportunity to help our dear friends at the Ronald McDonald House to stock their pantry with non-perishable food, and to renew their cabinets with much needed kitchen utensils. A few suggestions for food items would be cereal, oatmeal, canned fruits and vegetables, rice, juice, etc. A few suggestions for kitchen items would be pot holders, cutting boards, baking sheets, dishes, glasses, spices, cleaning items, laundry detergent, etc. We love helping them, and they always appreciate any donations, our monthly meals that we provide, and any monetary support we can give. February 28 is a perfect opportunity to help yourself and help others!
The Philoptochos will also be holding our annual Easter Bake Sale in March, and you can place your order for Koulouria ($5/doz) or Tsoureki ($7/each) in February and the first Sunday in March. Orders will be ready for pick up after church on March 14, 21, and on Palm Sunday. We also invite you to help us with the baking, and we will be hosting 2 "Heaven's Kitchen" Baking workshops on Friday,March 5 (Koulouria) from 9-3, and on Saturday, March 13 (Tsoureki) from 9-3. All proceeds from the bake sale go towards our Philoptochos scholarships and other philopthropic commitments.
Our Christmas "Baskets of Warmth and Cheer" outreach project to our nursing home and homebound parishioners was such an overwhelming success, that we would like to do the same for Easter. How can you help?? On Palm Sunday, the Philoptochos ladies will be gathering after church to make small Easter Baskets to deliver to our friends in need. In each basket we will place a red Easter egg, a palm cross, a small Tsoureki, some Koulouria, and some special treats. We already have the Tsoureki and Koulouria donated, and so we are looking for red egg donations (about 3-4 dozen), small Easter Basket donations (about 3-4 dozen - with decorative grass inside), Easter chocolates, and Easter ribbon. We will assemble the baskets after church, and then we need people to actually bring the baskets to our nursing home and homebound parishioners that day or sometime that week--Holy Week. Please let me know if you can make a donation, help assemble the baskets, or help deliver -- your stewardship in this event will be so appreciated by those who receive this special Easter gift, a gift of love.
Our Annual Lenten Luncheon and Greek Independence Day Celebration will take place on Sunday, March 21 from 12:00 - 2:00 and ALL ARE INVITED! Besides a wonderful fish and macaroni dinner, and special presentations from the Greek School students, we have a dynamic guest speaker, Deacon Barnabas Powell who will graduate in May from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
Dn. Powell, media guru and convert, will tell his story of why a Pentacostal pastor would enter the Orthodox Church, and will help us all appreciate the treasure of our Orthodox religion. But he will also add an element to his presentation which will address how to deal with the unfortunate trend of young people going off to college and not staying connected to the church during college and not returning to the church after college. Too many young people are MIA! He will give us insight as to how we might offer our college students robust reasons to stay connected to the faith during and after their college years. He will help us all to uncover the "Priceless Treasure of our Faith" and this will be a truly inspiring afternoon!
Tickets will be on sale after church in March. . . please get yours sooner, rather than later so that we may plan accordingly, and speak to a Philoptochos member about how you can help with the set-up, serving, or clean-up duties! Thank you for your support!All proceeds will benefit Holy Cross College.
Finally, I would like to sincerely thank a few people who have been an inspiration this month, in word and in deed. First to Sheila Joseph for setting up our Zumba class with Karen Ollari and our Health Speaker, Nancy Brown--both excellent ideas! And also to Sheila for her unwaivering commitment to our nursing home and homebound ministry. Thanks also to Debbie Ciejek and Denise Reed for hosting our "Heaven's Kitchen" Koliva and Artoclasia baking workshops in February. Their baking and artistry skills, as well as their symbolic understanding are inspiring! Thanks to Eleni Hogan for leading a team of Sunday School students at the Ronald McDonald House last month--it truly was hands-on mentoring and philanthropy--the Philoptochos in action. Many thanks again to Chris Ciejek for being the Martini Madness Bartender extraordinaire at our Zumba event!
Thanks also to Sue Tapases and Leslie Moutafis for stepping forward to lead our new Parish Nurse Team Ministry, and to those who attended our first meeting recently. Stay tuned for our upcoming survey and our first events that will begin soon!
I would also like to thank the Philoptochos Board for their continued support in each and every endeavor, and for always being such true Christians and mentors, for their ideas and enthusiasm, and for their kindness, hard work, and support. I also invite everyone to enjoy our beautiful Philoptochos website, which is being updated, "beautified", and expanded each month by our website guru Laila Haddad. Please visit us at http://www.stgeorgecath.org/Philoptochos.htm, where you can get all of our news, see a "flicker" slide show with pictures from our events, download a stewardship membership commitment form, find out about our Parish Nurse news, and also connect to our new "Facebook" site. We are so up-to-date and connected, and I can't thank Laila enough!
As always, many thanks to our St. George Family for your continued support of Philoptochos. Your stewardship to Philoptochos helps us reach out to those in need and is very much appreciated!
With love and thanks,
789-0157 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear St. George Community,
“It is time for a new beginning and a renewed effort to inspire creativity and revival in Orthodox Christianity in the United States (and at St. George Cathedral). It is our duty and obligation not to hide our light under the bushel, but to let it shine before all people - to regain the missionary model that established the early Church. We must let our light so shine - because unless people see in us the light and the love of Christ, they will not believe.”(Greek Orthodox Department of Outreach)The Philoptochos, as the organization of Orthodox Christian women dedicated to providing service and assistance to both individuals and groups in need, has in the past, and today, been the hand of outreach at St. George. Much of the philanthropic and benevolent work associated with our church falls under the umbrella of ourPhiloptochos Chapter. From scholarships to family assistance, outreach, and local and international philanthropy, thePhiloptochos of St. George “Evengelismos” continues to set a standard to be emulated.
We invite you to join with us this year to become involved in the “Spirit of Philoptochos”, tochoose action over apathy, interaction over separation, intervention over isolation and dialogue over silence. We invite you with open arms to let your light shine, to re-dedicate your spirit to helping others, to share the love of Christ. Our January events were dedicated to these themes, and our February events will also give you even more opportunities to become involved, help others, promote our Orthodox traditions, and have fun!
Thank you to all who have made their 2010 Membership Stewardship commitment. If you haven’t done so already, please send in your pledge as soon as possible. A 2010 Stewardship Membership form is available on our website at www.stgeorgecath.org/philoptochos.htm.
With love and appreciation,
Susan Alvanos, Philoptochos President (email@example.com, 413-789-0157)
The President's Message (old)
Dear St. George Community,
As I watched the Celtics Basketball Team play the other evening, I was amazed at the teamwork they displayed, which of course makes them such a winning team. The ball is dribbled down the court with purpose and drive, passes are made from one to the other with deftness and speed second to none, an alley-oop and dunk for the air-defying basket, and the crowd goes wild. "Where Amazing Happens", they say.
I would venture to say that it is with the same unselfish and magical teamwork, that the Philoptochos brings the work of our Church to the St. George and greater Springfield Community today, as it has for so many years. The word goes out that more volunteers are needed to cook for the Ronald McDonald House, and before you know it, the list is almost full for each month through April 2010! Donations are requested for "like new" ladies business attire for the "Dress for Success" clothing drive in November, and within 2 weeks, the donation box and garment rack are overflowing. Thank you for your help!
We came together for "The Thankful Heart" Wine and Cheese Social and booksigning with author Linda Cardillo, and besides having lots of fun and a spirit of sisterhood shared at the event with each other and with Linda, we were able to donate $250 and many bags of food to the Ronald McDonald House for Thanksgiving. Additional monies raised from our "Thankful Heart" social were earmarked for buying and bringing needed items to the Holyoke Soldiers Home on Veterans Day. Thank you to Denise Reed and Maria Crowson for spearheading this truly needed service.
As we begin our "Parish Nurse Team Ministry", 5 ladies have already stepped forward to volunteer not only their time (just an hour or 2 a month is all that is needed to start with), but also their ideas and a feeling of excitement that this is truly an area of need in the community that can be addressed by the team! Stay tuned for more details!
I would like to extend a very special "Thank You" to Bessie Metzidakis for hosting our first "Heaven's Kitchen" Workshop on November 9. She shared her Paximadia baking secrets with a group of 11 ladies who were delighted to learn from one of the best! It certainly was a crowd pleaser, especially because we all went home with a dozen delicious Paximadia.
More workshops are coming in 2010!
The ladies of St. George are always "on top of their game", working with a purpose and a team spirit that I would say is truly "where amazing happens"!
It is with this spirit of teamwork, sharing, and giving, that I would like to appeal to your hearts and your hands as we approach the Christmas season, and the New Year. Our Nursing Home and Homebound Ministry is growing, but more can be done! Aristea and Eleni Hogan and their children have truly exemplified the "team spirit" with their recent visit to Heritage Hall on Halloween where the kids wore their costumes, made some crafts and played the piano for our parishioners there. Thanks for sharing your magic!
Sheila Joseph and many others are making phone calls and visits to our fellow parishioners (our family members and friends) who are homebound or in nursing homes--but more team players are needed to bring joy and friendship to those in need.
Looking for a way to take a small step toward joining in with the Christmas spirit of Philopochos on our Nursing Home/Homebound Ministry Team? On Sunday December 13 the Philoptochos needs at least 30 people to each bring 3 dozen Christmas Cookies to church for a cookie swap. But the cookies will not be swapped with each other, they will be used to make 30 beautiful baskets of "Holiday Cheer" for each of the nursing homes that our fellow parishioners are in, as well as for our homebound friends. After church, from 12:00-2:00 you are invited to join with the Philoptochos in making the 30 baskets and then volunteers are needed to bring the baskets out to the community. Please set aside time to bake, bring 3 dozen cookies to church, and volunteer on December 13 to assemble and deliver the baskets. This will be our December project, and all are invited to help! You can also learn more about our Nursing Home and Homebound Ministry, and how you can help in the future. Also, at any time, please let Sheila Joseph or any board member know about someone who is in need in any way.
One other request for December baking-- please consider donating a baked good to the Christmas Cancer Concert reception on Sunday, December 6. You can bring your donation to church, or better yet, drop it off in the large hall before you go to the concert at 3:30 -- it's one of the most amazing events hosted by St. George-- and it will really put you in the Christmas spirit, while donating to the Cancer Society.
Next month we will be celebrating the Feast Day of St. Basil the Great on January 3, with the Vasilopita cutting sponsored by the Philoptochos, and we invite you to come to church that day to receive a piece of this traditional and delicious Vasilopita Bread, with a special second collection to be taken for St. Basil's Academy and other Philoptochos National Charities.
We are also beginning our 2010 Philoptochos Membership Drive in January. Letters will be sent out to our community and we hope that ladies of all ages will consider joining our vibrant ministry, or renewing your membership. (A membership form will also be available for downloading on our Philoptochos website: www.stgeorgecath.org/Philoptochos.htm)
Our Membership Drive will culminate with our "Mar-Tea-Ni" Membership Social on Sunday, January 24 in the Small Hall. Come to the social to have fun, learn about the many Philoptochos ministries, receive a Philoptochos Evangelismos Member pin, as well as to honor past presidents and long-standing board members. More details will be coming soon, and if you can help out with this event, your input would be much appreciated.
I would like to express my deepest thanks to the wonderful St. George community for your generous support of Philoptochos in 2009. Because of you we were able to make donations to many worthy local and national causes. Because of your support, we are an amazing and vibrant ministry, an ever-growing team that I am so proud to be a part of. On behalf of the Philoptochos Board, I would like to wish a very Blessed Christmas to all, and
may God grant us all His Blessings in 2010.
With much appreciation,
A New Year and a New Decade are upon us. What will it bring? We all hope for health, good fortune, and the continued love and support of our family and friends, and many of us have been blessed by these already. But what about those not so fortunate, who are ill, lonely, hungry, destitute, imprisoned, in need of a helping hand? Will we look the other way, or go out of our way to lend a helping hand? Will we help enthusiastically, generously, willingly, lovingly? Will we strive to bring joy, peace, love, and charity to our family, friends, neighbors, and community? Will we look back a year from now, five or ten years from now and say, yes, I made an effort, I made a difference, I gave of my time and my talent and my good fortune for the betterment of my church, my community, and those who were less fortunate than I? Will we be messengers, missionaries, bridge-builders, hand-holders, peace-makers? Will we look for opportunities to spread the love of Christ, will we ask others to join us in doing so?
As we begin a new year and a new decade, I ask all of the women of St. George to join together and renew our commitment to our church and community as we strive to bring philanthropy and charity to those in need. I invite each and every Orthodox woman of St. George, old and young, single, married, widowed, working and retired, previously-involved, never-involved, or looking for a way to become more involved to renew your Philoptochos membership in January, or consider joining for the first time. It is a wonderful way to meet others, to mentor others, to have fun, to make friends, to work side-by-side, to be a leader, to learn, to use your talents, discover new talents, to learn by example, to set an example, but most of all, to help others through our many charitable events and opportunities.
This month all ladies will receive in the mail a membership pledge form, which you can return with your stewardship check to Diane Colapietro, or any board member. You can also download the form online on our website at www.stgeorgecath.org/philoptochos.htm. If you have any question, please feel free to contact me personally at 789-0157, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also join or renew your membership at our January 24th "Mar-Tea-Ni Membership Social" from 2:00-4:00 in the afternoon at the Cultural Center. Special martinis and other light refreshments will be served and you'll get a chance to meet the Philoptochos Board, and to learn about some of the ways you can become involved this coming year. Bring your 2010 Stewardship donation and receive a complimentary "Philoptochos Evangelismos Member" pin.
The highlight of the afternoon will be an exciting "ZUMBA" class! It's a low impact/low intensity fitness class that brings Latin music and steps (Salsa, Tango, Cha Cha, Merengue, belly dance, hip hop and more) to aerobic exercise. Our class will be led by a professional instructor, and can be done by anyone! Bring a friend, and bring your sneakers, dress comfortably, and get ready to start the new year (and new decade) off with fitness and fun!
And so as we begin a new year and a new decade, I invite and challenge all ladies of St. George to make a commitment to respond enthusiastically to the call to join Philoptochos. I invite you to ask your mother, daughter, and friends to join. Your positive response will benefit your life, the life of our church, and the community and world in which we live. We will welcome you, your ideas, and your service with open arms and gratitude for your stewardship and commitment, however large or small, to Philoptochos.
A Happy New Year to Everyone!
With Love and Appreciation,Susan Alvanos, President
Welcome to our December Newsletter. I hope that your Thanksgiving was bountiful and that your Christmas season will be joyful and Blessed. As I reflect on this season of thankfulness and giving, I can truly say that I feel so thankful to be associated with such an inspiring and rich Faith, a wonderful church and church family, and a Philoptochos board and membership that are amazing. The ladies associated with our Philoptochos bring an unselfish and magical teamwork in every endeavor, large
or small, as they serve the St. George and greater Springfield Community today, and as they have for so many years. The word goes out that more volunteers are needed to cook for the Ronald McDonald House, and before you know it, the list is almost full for each month through April 2010! Donations are requested for "like new" ladies business attire for the "Dress for Success" clothing drive in November, and within 2 weeks, the donation box and garment rack are overflowing. Thank you for your help!
We came together for "The Thankful Heart" Wine and Cheese Social and booksigning with author Linda Cardillo, and besides having lots of fun and a spirit of sisterhood shared at the event with each other and with Linda, we were able to donate $250 and many bags of food to the Ronald McDonald
House for Thanksgiving. Additional monies raised from our "Thankful Heart" social were earmarked for buying and bringing needed items to the Holyoke Soldiers Home on Veterans Day. Thank you to Denise Reed and Maria Crowson for spearheading this truly needed service.
As we begin our “Parish Nurse Team Ministry", 10 ladies have already stepped forward to volunteer not only their time (just an hour or 2 a month is all that is needed to start with), but also their ideas and a feeling of excitement that this is truly an area of need in the community that can be addressed
by the team! The first meeting of the Parish Nurse Team Ministry will be on Sunday, December 13 from 12:15-1:00 after church in the small hall with guest speaker Marion Avtges, RN from Taxiarchae/Archangels Church in Watertown. All are invited—come to learn how you can help!
(More details in this newsletter.)
I would like to extend a very special "Thank You" to Bessie Metzidakis for hosting our first"Heaven's Kitchen" Workshop on November 9. She shared her Paximadia baking secrets with a group of 11 ladies who were delighted to learn from one of the best! It certainly was a crowd pleaser, especially because we all went home with a dozen delicious Paximadia. More workshops are coming in 2010!
It is with this spirit of teamwork, sharing, and giving, that I would like to appeal to your hearts and your hands as we approach the Christmas season, and the New Year. Our Nursing Home and Homebound Ministry is growing, but more can be done! Aristea and Eleni Hogan and their children have truly exemplified the "team spirit" with their recent visit to Heritage Hall on Halloween where the kids wore their costumes, made some crafts and played the piano for our parishioners there.
Thanks for sharing your magic!
Sheila Joseph and many others are making phone calls and visits to our fellow parishioners (our family members and friends) who are homebound or in nursing homes--but more volunteers are needed to bring joy and friendship to those in need.
Looking for a way to take a small step toward joining in with the Christmas spirit of Philopochos on our Nursing Home/Homebound Ministry Team? On Sunday December 13 the Philoptochos needs at least 30 people to each bring 3 dozen Christmas Cookies to church for a cookie swap. But the
cookies will not be swapped with each other, they will be used to make 30 beautiful baskets of"Holiday Cheer" for each of the nursing homes that our fellow parishioners are in, as well as for our homebound friends. After church, from 12:00-2:00 you are invited to join with the Philoptochos in
making the 30 baskets and then volunteers are needed to bring the baskets out to the community.
Please set aside time to bake, bring 3 dozen cookies to church, and volunteer on December 13 to
assemble and deliver the baskets. This will be our December project, and all are invited to help! You can also learn more about our Nursing Home and Homebound Ministry, and how you can help in the future. Also, at any time, please let Sheila Joseph or any board member know about someone who is
in need in any way.
One other request for December baking-- please consider donating a baked good to the Christmas Cancer Concert reception on Sunday, December 6. You can bring your donation to church, or better yet, drop it off in the large hall before you go to the concert at 3:30 -- it's one of the most amazing
events hosted by St. George-- and it will really put you in the Christmas spirit, while donating to the Cancer Society.
Next month we will be celebrating the Feast Day of St. Basil the Great on January 3, with the Vasilopita cutting sponsored by the Philoptochos, and we invite you to come to church that day to receive a piece of this traditional and delicious Vasilopita Bread, with a special second collection to be taken for St. Basil's Academy and other Philoptochos National Charities.
We are also beginning our 2010 Philoptochos Membership Drive in January. Letters will be sent out to our community and we hope that ladies of all ages will consider joining our vibrant ministry, or renewing your membership. (A membership form will also be available for downloading on our Philoptochos website: www.stgeorgecath.org/Philoptochos.htm). Our Membership Drive will culminate with our "Mar-Tea-Ni" Membership Social on Sunday, January 24 in the Small Hall—so save the date. Come to the social to have fun, learn about the many Philoptochos ministries, and receive a Philoptochos ‘Evangelismos’ Member pin—more details will be in the next newsletter and in the bulletin.
I would like to express my deepest thanks to the wonderful St. George community for your generous support of Philoptochos in 2009. Because of you we were able to make donations to many worthy local and national causes. Because of your support, we are an amazing and vibrant ministry, an evergrowing team that I am so proud to be a part of. On behalf of the Philoptochos Board, I would like to wish a very Blessed Christmas to all, and may God grant us all His Blessings in 2010.
With much appreciation,
Susan Alvanos, President
Dear Sisters in Christ,
The Philoptochos' mission and responsibilites are centered around one basic theme: to reflect a hands-on approach to philanthropy. That theme is brought to life as the ladies of Philoptochos seek to alleviate the suffering of those in need, to assist the sick, poor, elderly, widowed, orphaned, and hungry. In addition, we are ever-seeking to better understand current social issues so that we may widen the scope of our philanthropic endeavors and provide opportunities to serve the church as part of stewardship. Finally, we aim to inspire others in upholding the Orthodox faith and bring women of the church together in friendship and fellowship. Read on to find out how we accomplish our goals, and how you can become a part of our vibrant ministry!
As the second largest national women's philanthropic organization, together we support many wonderful national charities such as the Scholarship Fund at Holy Cross (we thank those who donated to our second collection in October for this cause), the International Christian Mission Charities, the Children's Cardiac Program, Disaster Relief Programs, UNICEF, and many many more. Your stewardship helps our chapter support these national programs. The National Philoptochos donates over one million dollars each year to charity -- thank you for helping us be a part of that!
Our chapter also supports many Diocese Charities, such as the Philoxenia House and the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Camp. Many of you took advantage of the bus trip that we organized to the camp in September for the Retreat Center Dedication so you could see for yourself the amazing growth and beauty of the camp and the many possibilites for our St. George to utilize the facilities. It was a beautiful day of fellowship and awe, truly a "day to remember".
In November and the months ahead, you will have an opportunity to participate in a number of events sponsored by Philoptochos, all of which are at the heart of our St. George chapter "Evangelismos". Can you donate one or two hours a month? Can you ask a friend or relative to help? We humbly ask for your assistance, your time, your donation, your ideas, and your participation in these very worthy and fun-filled events.
Dear Sisters in Christ,
The St. George Philoptochos Board of Directors cordially invites all members and non-members to join with us as we work to promote the philanthropic and charitable purposes of the Greek Orthodox Church. Our upcoming events will give you a chance to learn, give to the community, and have fun! We hope you’ll find some time in your busy schedule to participate in the wonderful programs and projects that we have planned. And your input and suggestions and help are always appreciated!
Saturday, September 26: Peter Pan Bus Trip to the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Camp in New Hampshire for the new Retreat House Dedication. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children, round trip transportation leaving the Cultural Center Parking Lot at 7 AM sharp, and returning at 5:30 PM.
Monday, September 28: The Philoptochos will be sponsoring a wonderful evening with guest speaker, Dr. Kristen Lathrop, from 6:30-8:00 in the Small Hall. With many people talking about health care now, Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Lathrop's topic "God’s Health Care Plan" will give insight into the healing power of prayer, scripture, and the Christian community as we struggle with the challenges that we may face emotionally, spiritually, financially, and socially. Dr. Lathrop had an article in the September Apostle, and we are honored and excited to have her speak to us in person! Light refreshments will be served, and a short General Assembly meeting will follow.
Our October 17 “Comedy of Magic” night has been cancelled. We will focus our efforts on a Spring Social and other events. Details will be forthcoming.
Sunday, November 1: “The Thankful Heart” Wine and Cheese Social from 2-4 PM in the Small Hall. Please join us for our “third annual” Afternoon with Local Romance Novelist Linda Cardillo as she reads from her new and upcoming books. $10 Donation will benefit the Ronald McDonald House (and other Philoptochos charities), and we encourage everyone to also bring a non-perishable for the RMD House. Tickets are available in advance on Sundays after church or by calling Sue Alvanos at 789-0157, or by e-mail email@example.com. Linda’s books will be available for purchase and personal signing. Bring a friend and enjoy a delightful afternoon!
Tuesday, November 17: Please join us for the “Dress For Success” Charity Event in the Large Hall from 5-6 PM and a short General Assembly meeting to follow. The Dress for Success organization provides donated business attire to low-income women who need appropriate attire for job interviews and the working world. So ladies, please bring any “gently used” business suits, casual business clothing, dresses, coats, shoes, and jewelry to the event that evening. If you would like to drop off any clothing at the center beforehand, a large box will be available in the stoa beginning Nov. 1. In addition to supporting their event on Nov. 17, your clothing donations will be greatly appreciated.
Sunday, December 13: Holiday cookie swap and General Assembly Meeting after church from 12-3. Instead of swapping cookies with each other, we will be making “Baskets of Holiday Cheer” for those in need. Bring 3 dozen holiday cookies, and any large baskets if you have them.
Ongoing Nursing Home and Shut In Ministry: Sheila Joseph continues to coordinate visits to those in need, or if you have information about someone who is in a Nursing Home, please let us know. If you can lend a few hours a month to visit a fellow parishioner, your time will be greatly appreciated. Speak to Sheila!
Ongoing Ronald McDonald House meals: On the last Sunday of each month, a complete meal is brought to the RMD House. Volunteers bring a food item to church (a chicken dish, rice, dessert, etc.) and Eleni Hogan brings the complete meal over to those staying at the house. It’s a simple, yet very much appreciated way for you to give of your time and talent! You can also bring non-perishables at any time to the stoa, and those will also be dropped off at the RMD house.
For details on how you can participate or help, please contact any Philoptochos Board Member, or Sue Alvanos at 789-0157 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just a reminder that your current board members are: Sue Alvanos, Angie Gouzounis, Debbie Ciejek, Penny Goncalves, Maria Crowson, Denise Reed, Toni Kamyk, Diane Colapietro, Mary Ann Pappas, Dorothy Tsatsos, Tina Schmidt, Anthi Eleftheriou, Betty Socha, Ellen Bletsos, Sheila Joseph and Maryellen Knapp. We’d love to have one more board member. . .please consider serving!
On behalf of the Philoptochos Board, I thank our current 137 members for your stewardship, and look forward to serving, celebrating, helping, praying, and joining with all of you in the days and months ahead!
Your sister in Christ,
Dear Sisters in Christ,
With the summer in full swing, the Philoptochos is in relaxed-mode, but always with an eye to our upcoming events, and our current responsibilities.
We held our summer General Assembly meeting on June 30 at the CulturalCenter with pizza and pot luck, “merriment and martinis”. A small but enjoyable group, we were able to combine business and pleasure, and here are a few notes from our meeting (the full Secretary’s report will be in the next Philoptochos newsletter):
§ The 2009 Philoptochos budget was approved by the membership
§ We welcomed our youngest member to date, Sophia Bletsos
§ $2,000 was donated to the Philoxenia house from our very successful collection
On July 28, the Philoptochos Board (and friends) joined with one of our long-time board members, Diane Colapietro, to celebrate her 90th birthday. A wonderful surprise dinner was held in the Garden Room at the Monte Carlo, and Diane was surprised and happy to
have so many friends there to wish her Happy Birthday. If you were not able to attend for any reason, please feel free to wish Diane “Happy 90th” when you next see her!
Save the Dates:
> On Saturday, September 26, we will be sponsoring a trip to the Grand Opening of the new RetreatCenter in Contoocook, NH at the Metropolis Camp. We will have more information for you in the coming days as we decide the exact details. We hope you’ll join us.
> Saturday evening October 17 “The Comedy of Magic” will be a wonderful “family and friends” event that you won’t want to miss!
> Sunday, November 1, our third afternoon with author Linda Cardillo. She’ll be reading from two of her new books, with a book signing to follow. She’s always a delight to spend an afternoon with!
> Information for these “must see” events will be available at the Philoptochos Glendi Booth!
As always, the Philoptochos is here to serve St. George and the community in any way we can. Our ongoing Ronald McDonald House and Nursing Home ministries are ways that you can help us serve. For additional ongoing Philoptochos News, we are now ONLINE!
Just go to www.stgeorgecath.org, and click on the Philoptochos tab to get to our new online page. We will continue to add new information as we progress with our online capabilities, so please check us out!
May God Bless You!
Your Sister In Christ,
Susan Alvanos, Philoptochos President