Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

First, on this chilly and beautiful morning, I am pleased to tell you that the elevation of our Bishop Gregory is complete. He is now Metropolitan Gregory. As a practical matter, this means that if you see or otherwise communicate with him, he has the formal title of "His Eminence, Metropolitan Gregory". If he is present physically, it is appropriate to approach him for his blessing, saying "Bless, Your Eminence!"

We will commemorate him in our services in this fashion hence forth. Axios to our beloved Hierarch!

1. This coming week: We will resume our Old Testament classes on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm, followed by Great Vespers at 5:00 pm.

On Sunday, we will serve Divine Liturgy at 10:00 am. Afterwards, the parish council will meet, to complete preparations for our annual parish meeting, which will be the following Sunday, October 28.

This coming Wednesday night, we will serve a molebin for the sick and the suffering at 6:00 pm. If you have names you wish to add to the list that are prayed for, let me know. Also let me know of others on the prayer list that who no longer need to be there.

2. As mentioned, our annual parish meeting will be held following Divine Liturgy on October 28. We will approve a budget for 2019, elect parish council members, and do a few other things. Please stay for that if at all possible.

3. A surprising (to me) fact: In preparation for the meeting, I counted up the number of Orthodox who rely on St. Nicholas as their primary place of worship. This does not equal the number of people who have made pledges, which is smaller, but the number who receive the sacraments in our church. The surprising total: 41 adults and 9 children. Fifty souls, as the Diocesan census form puts it. Obviously, we do not see everybody every Sunday, and some people we may see only every month or two, but they are our (or at least my) responsibility. Another interesting trend is that of those, only 7 are people who spend the winter in Florida. For a long time, seasonal residents made up a very substantial part of our people, upwards of half at times. That is not so true anymore.

To me, this is noteworthy and encouraging. From the seven souls we started with, we have grown considerably. God has blessed us, and has at the same time bestowed greater responsibility upon us. It is both exciting and humbling.

I hope to see everyone this weekend!

In Christ,

Fr. James