2 THE SHEPHERD • APRIL 2020 • SAINT SPYRIDON GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SAN DIEGO When I was a young boy growing up in Wy- oming people would talk of the March winds roaring in like a lion. These unprecedented times have reminded me of the March winds as the appearance of the COVID-19 virus has roared into our lives. We have been asked to work remotely, our kids have been sent home from school and are being taught online, and there are long lines at the grocery stores. Public officials and the news have warned us 24/7 about the pandemic. Even our church experience has changed. We have been asked to cancel all non-liturgical gatherings. The Holy Eparchial Synod advised us not to be exposed in places of public assembly (in- cluding attending church) but encouraged us to participate in the experience of sacred worship from home using multimedia plat- forms. During this time, when we have been asked to isolate ourselves, I hope we can still find ways to be connected and be there in spir- it for one another. Last month at the Cler- gy Laity Conference at St. Nicholas Ranch, we heard the Family Wellness ministry. The guest speakers, George Papageorge, shared a great story about his youth. He told us of his family’s weekend trips from San Francisco to their little farm in Sonoma. One weekend, as they were heading back to San Francisco in the family station wagon, his father saw friends, another Greek family, walking along the country road. They rolled down the win- dows and greeted one another: “Hello, how are you?” “Fine, fine, and you?” Then he ob- served his father call the other man to the car window and as the man leaned in, George overheard his father say “How are you re- ally?” And the man replied “Not so good!” George asked us to reflect on this story in our daily lives; how often do we pass one anoth- er say “Hello, how are you” and hear the re- ply “Good” without really listening? George stressed that we need to start “leaning in” and really listening to one another. While we keep our “social distance” we can still “really listen” to one another. Father An- drew has reassured us that our Faith will get us through this period and that our Church is here for us. As a boy, I also observed that the March winds were always followed by the flowers of Spring. I am confident that like the winter winds this too shall pass and I look forward to the time when we will once again congregate together and rejoice the new life of Spring. Many Blessings, Jim Gilpin Parish Council President Yes, the storage dungeon is fewweeknights and aweeken adjacent to the Kitchen. Reno anddisposalofallcabinetsand walls were prepped and RFP open, and brighter room via u lighting, aswell as heavy duty have a few finishing touches t nextcoupleofweeks. Special thanks for theirhardwo somewell-deserved breaks) fo JimLeventis,CoreyLeventis, a request forall topleasemakea cleanandorganized,whilealso that youmay“forget”behind. Πιστεύουμε ότι θα σας αρέσε στην Κουζίνα. Όλη η ομάδα π διατηρήσουμε και μελλοντικά καθαριότητα αυτού τού χώρο μας! Regards, Vlassiand theTeam FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL PRESIDENT WOMEN WORD OF THE In last month’s newsletter we focused on the Epistles of John and what it means to be followers of Christ “in truth and deed.” The apostle John truly challenges and reminds us of Christ’s commandment “that you love one another; as I have loved you…By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13:34-35) So, our discussions this past month have been most- ly about what is this special type of love? How is it different from anything else people generally call “love?” How does it go beyond the usual ways that we are accustomed to be- have? What is expected of us as Christians? We know that in Greek there are a number of different words for love, so specifically we have talked about how the word that Christ uses – agape [αγάπη] – goes beyond “philia” [φιλία] friendship and “storge” [στοργή] the love family members may have for one an- other. The love that Christ talks about and, more importantly, demonstrates through His every action is an empathetic, compas- sionate, and universal love that applies to ev- eryone and does not discriminate. And even more than the definitions, we have tried to focus on the actions , because Christ’s love is not just an idea or a theology but actually a way of being and doing and living in the world that has the power to transform our hearts and minds and our relationships with one another. As some of us were reading Genesis in our daily Lenten readings at the same time we were discussing St. John’s epistles on love in our group, we also realized that this means not being like Cain who killed his brother, but truly being our brother’s keeper by be- ing responsible for one another. This means “bearing one another’s burdens,” (Gal. 6:2) by listening patiently or being attentive to one another’s needs. It also means praying for those who are experiencing some challenge; or being a comforting presence and compan- ion for someone who is sick; forgiving those who have offended us; finding gentle ways to diffuse an argument; or offering a calming word for someone who is anxious. And, as we look to Christ as the measure of such a love, we can see that there are no limits to exercising mercy and compassion. As St. Augustine of Hippo says, “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. continues 5 IMPORTANT UPDATE Greek Festi v aL san dieGo’s oriGinaL Dearest St. Spyridon Family, As we continue to navigate the many challenges presented by COVID-19, we find ourselves making difficult choices for the benefit and protection of our community, our friends, and our families. We do so in good faith, because it is the right thing to do, and pray with humility that our decisions will serve the greater good. Given the nature of this pandemic and the uncertainty that we face at this time, the Parish Council has soberly decided to cancel this year’s Greek Festival. The decision was made after much thought and deliberation and did not come easily. Even if the pandemic were to pass in the coming weeks, the challenges facing the successful execution of our festival would be many and difficult to ignore. The Festival Steering Committee would like to thank you all for your understanding and we pray that God grants us all continued health and protection. Any of you who made donations toward the 2020 Festival will be receiving a refund in the coming weeks. Our Greek Festival is a very special event that shares our culture, heritage, and faith with the San Diego community and rest assured, we will be back in 2021! Many Blessings, Ben De La Riva, Festival Chair