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Letters of Thanks for Mission Endowment Fund

Bishop Mark writes:

Dear to God,  Christ is in our midst! As our faithful continue to raise money to support the Missions of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, I want to forward you these notes of thanks and gratitude for the strong support our diocesan faithful have shown for missions. Our giving to missions has increased from a few thousand in 2004 to $40,000 for this year alone. Well done good and faithful servants. Well done!

Holy Apostles Mission in Bowling Green, Kentucky:

Faithful of Holy Apostles Mission + Bowling Green, KYFaithful of Holy Apostles Mission + Bowling Green, KYDear Sayidna MARK and beloved brothers and sisters of the Diocese,

Greetings from Bowling Green, KY! As the southern-­most community in the Diocese, autumn has not arrived here yet, but we hope you are all enjoying this beautiful time of year in good health.

We have just received the funds offered to our community by the Mission Endowment Fund, and words cannot express the appreciation our Mission family has for your love and support. By your prayers, the “mighty few” of this community have made incredible progress this past year, specifically the repair and return to our rented facility after the spring floods forced the community out for a time, as well as the commitment to support my ministry here as a full-time priest as of this past August. The results of these bold steps are showing already: it is a rare Sunday when someone new has not appeared at our door eager to find us. Some are Orthodox Christians newly-­arrived in our growing city with no other Orthodox parish while some are seekers looking for the True Faith. Our steps to grow this mission could not have been taken without your support, and for that we are truly grateful.

As we ask your continued prayers for our well being, we ask that God would shower you with the same love and kindness which you have shown to us.

Yours in our Lord,

V. Rev. Michael Nasser
Pastor, Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission
Bowling Green, Kentucky

All Saints of North America in Maryland Heights, Missouri:

Your Grace: Christ is in our midst! He is and ever shall be!

In the mail today, I received, as per the e-mail from Subdeacon James, a check from the Midwest Mission Fund.

On behalf of All Saints of North America Mission, I would like to thank you for your generosity towards our mission. In these economically difficult times, your gift is very much appreciated.

Praying that the Lord Jesus Christ will shower you with His many blessings during this Fall season, I remain

In Christ,

Fr. Steven C. Salaris, Protopresbyter

St. John the Theologian Mission in Cape Girardeau, Missouri:

Your Grace,

Greetings from the outpost of St. John the Theologian in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. On behalf of the parish council and the faithful of our mission, allow me to express our heartfelt thanks and deep gratitude for the funds that Your Grace and Diocese Mission’s Council made available to us. We are overwhelmed. So many wonderful things have happened in our mission since your arch-pastoral visit in July. I am amazed. Word of mouth suddenly took off and spread through the community that the mission is here. We’ve received two catachumens. We have new visitors coming. The spiritual and liturgical life of the faithful is growing. We added a small group study in the Orthodox Faith to Wednesday evenings after Reader’s Vespers. That small group is touching a deeply felt need. Not only do the catachumens attend, but several cradle Orthodox too. And the blessings continue. Recently Fr. Paul Albert at St. Elias Church in Sylvania, Ohio contacted me and offered our mission six beautiful icon panels that had been in use at St. Elias for years. The faithful at St. John’s can’t believe it. We’ll give them a good home and put them to very good use. An iconostasis of that type will change the atmosphere of prayer and worship.

The generous offerings of the faithful in the diocese to the Mission’s Fund are a great blessing to us. The amount we received quadrupled our checking account. For the first time St. John’s will be able to open a small savings account. We’|l also be able to address some rather important needs. Among the first are a couple of liturgical items: an artophorion for pre-sanctified lambs and a rantisterion. We’ve already added the Concilliar Press literature rack. By your prayer we’ll continue to nurture and grow the mission.

Again Sayidna, we’re deeply moved by the paternal love, care, and concern Your Grace has for us. Sometimes a little mission on the frontier can feel a little isolated. It means a great deal to us to know that we’re not alone. I bend the knee before you. l’m humbled. We love you. Thank you for your kindness. Please convey our appreciation to the members of the Mission’s Committee. I ask only that Your Grace continue remembering the faithful at St. John the Theologian in your God-pleasing prayers.

Kissing the right hand of Your Grace,

Fr. Daniel Morton

St. Mary of Egypt Mission in Greenwood, Indiana:

Bless Master!

Your Grace, it is with great thankfulness to God that the mission of St. Mary of Egypt, in Greenwood, Indiana has received this most generous gift from the Office of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest.  We know how your heart has desired this funding for all of the missions.  To know that we have such a bishop who cares about the "least of these my brethren, is inspirational to all of us here at St. Mary's, " We also know that, because of this gift, we have a grave responsibility before God in the work of the mission.

God has blessed us in a small but significant growth since the inception of the mission in April of 2007. We began with seven souls and now have had added to us by the Lord twenty one more.

We have begun midweek vespers followed by a study class, Saturday Vespers, and now Orthros before the Divine Liturgy.  It is our hope and prayer that these additional services put aside for the worship of the Lord will shower us from on high with His blessings.

In a time where there is great hunger and thirsting for righteousness by mankind, even though he may not know it, may this funding assist us in proclaiming to all the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and to clothe all in the baptismal robe of Christ.

Please forgive me for sending this by e-mail and keep the unworthy presbyter Athanasius along with the flock you have been pleased to allow him to serve.

Your obedient son, Fr. Athanasius Wilson

St. Ananias Mission in Evansville, Indiana:

Your Grace,

Christ is in our midst! Master Bless.

We at Saint Ananias Orthodox Mission would like to thank you for your evangelistic heart. As a new ministry, the diocesan mission fund has been a great blessing. Furthermore, your direction and encouragement are invaluable to us as well as we seek to be an Orthodox witness in our community.

So far our work (which began on the Feast of the Nativity in December of 2009) has been blessed with some forty souls who call Saint Ananias Mission home. May God use this new branch of the Vine, and these gifts to multiply His work among us. As the Apostle Paul says, “One plants, one waters and God gives the increase”.

Our prayer for you is that your Episcopal ministry would continue to bear fruit “an hundred fold”.

Glory to Jesus Christ!

An unworthy Priest,

Fr. Daniel Hackney

St. Ananias Orthodox Mission

Holy Cross in Dorr, Michigan:

Your Grace,

May God give you strength as you seek to serve him in our God-protected Diocese!

A week or so ago we received another generous check from the Diocesan Mission Fund. At this time, when our regular support from the fund is drawing to a close, it seems fitting to express a word of thanks to you and to all those who generously donated their support.

We at Holy Cross thank God for you and for the donors, for all that you have meant to our mission. A few years ago we were newly-chrismated Orthodox Christians, having made the journey from Protestantism to the Church. From the beginning of our mission, your wise counsel and the Mission Fund’s practical support have encouraged us in the task of founding a parish. That counsel and those gifts have not come for naught.

By the grace of God, we now worship in our own structure and are serving the needs of many new parishioners and the surrounding community. We have beautified our temple with a lovely ceramic icon of our patronal feast. A large cross is affixed to the roof, and the sound of hells invites those who are weary to find their rest in Christ. Each Saturday evening we continue the STICKs program with instruction for all ages, from infants to older folk. Lives are being touched; hearts are being changed. None of this would be possible without the help shown us by you and the Mission Fund.

I know that sometimes, when someone writes a check to support a mission, he or she may wonder, “What practical good does this accomplish?” Let them come and see what has happened in Dorr thanks no such gifts, and they will know.

May the Lord continue to encourage your heart, Sayedna, and may he bless all those who have so generously given to us and to so many others!

Your unworthy son in Christ,

Fr. Gregory Hogg