Evangelism and Outreach Service Group
Just in time for the Paschal season, the Evangelization & Outreach group will debut a new welcome packet for visitors. We'll be providing several general brochures about Eastern Orthodoxy for those inquiring about our faith and for newcomers to our church. Later in the year, we hope to put together a similar packet for new parish members and catechumens that will include more specific materials about our particular parish. We will also be adding outdoor brochure holders next to our front door, and at the shrine, to provide off-hours visitors information about our parish, service times and an appropriate prayer for the icon at the shrine. Later in Spring, we are planning a local outreach event in Nelson County (Wintergreen area) to introduce the Orthodox to our local community.
God calls us, His people to share His grace and love with others, through His Church. While every person is called to imitate Christ and offer His love in his or her personal life, our Service group coordinates the larger evangelism efforts for St. Nicholas parish, reaching out to share the treasures of the Orthodox Christianity with our neighbors in love.
Our parish has several ongoing means of outreach, including informative radio and newspaper notices. Listen for them on local Charlottesville radio stations, and look for our printed ad in the Crozet Gazette. We host an annual golf outing to create an enjoyable opportunity for fellowship and as an avenue to allow individuals in the Charlottesville area to get to know our parish members and discover our ministries offered in service of Christ. We also look for special opportunities to share Orthodox Christianity in a variety of ways. These initiatives include:
- Educational events – such as the sponsorship of a speaker at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville
- ‘Come and See’ evenings for those who would like to learn about the Orthodox Faith
- Utilization of electronic media – including the podcast of our pastor’s Sunday homilies
- Hosting groups (church groups, confirmation classes, interreligious fellowships, etc.) to share the unique perspective of Orthodoxy in today’s world
- Invitations to attend our annual parish and college student retreats
- Arts and Crafts events, like iconography or pysanky (Ukrainian Easter egg) workshops.
- Social events that allow for fellowship with parish members – like our Wine and Cheese evenings on Saturday evenings.
- Choral concerts sharing the beauty of Orthodox liturgical music
- Cooperative efforts with other local churches and events, such as annual Thanksgiving service hosted by the Western Albemarle Ministerial Association
- Visiting speakers on special topics like iconography, Church history, literature or moral issues.
- Public interviews and responses to local media on contemporary or controversial matters.
- Supplying Orthodox books to local libraries, and providing free literature to visitors. Cooperative efforts with local universities and campus ministries.
- Support for the establishment of new Orthodox parishes, and Christian mission work in Virginia and beyond
Those in our Greeting Ministry welcome visitors to the parish and address any individual needs that people have when they attend. This may include addressing practical needs (do you have a service book?) to helping visitors answer their questions about their experience in an Orthodox service (what is an icon?). Those who wish to further inquire about the Faith are invited to regular Inquirer Discussions held on specific Sundays after Liturgy. Those who wish to further explore the faith are invited to do so in the course of more formal Convert Instructions.
The patron saint of the Evangelism and Outreach service group is St. Photini, the “Woman at the well”, whose story is reported inSt. John’s Gospel (Chapter 4, Verses 5-42). Christ gently led her to come to know Him personally, to reveal to her how her brokenness and sins were crippling her spiritual life, to experience divine forgiveness and to hear a personal call to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. Orthodox Christianity kept track of the lives of many of the saints of the New Testament. According to ancient Church tradition, St. Photini, did not simply live a quiet Christian life, but instead became a traveling missionary, determined to spread her newly discovered Good News – that Jesus is Lord and was risen from the dead. She is often referred to as ‘equal to the apostles’ because of her work. Even while being tortured extensively, St. Photini was able to share Christ’s love with those around her and allowed more people to experience God’s grace. The Evangelism and Outreach Service group at St. Nicholas is inspired by St. Photini’s perseverance and passion to offer the Christian faith and endeavors to follow her example through our work in central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.
If you are personally interested in finding more information about Orthodoxy, or would like to have a visit by an Orthodox speaker or set up a group visit to the parish, please contact our pastor You can also submit a request for help for the Inquiry process.
Our Service Group meets monthly to seek new opportunities and address challenges to reach out with the saving grace of the Gospel to others. We invite you to further deepen your faith in Christ, and join in the mission of our Service Group to share His life and love with others.