2 THE SHEPHERD • SEPTEMBER 2020 • SAINT SPYRIDON GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SAN DIEGO Like many, I have COVID fatigue. I am tired of COVID being the opener for every con- versation and yet here I am starting this let- ter with a COVID update. is month usual- ly marks the return of so many to the church a er a summer away. e pews are lled with our families and the kids are joyful as they return to Sunday School and their friends. e Hall is lled with the chatter of people catching up a er the summer months. is Fall is anything but usual as our world is still shrouded in uncertainty. San Diego County has recently been removed from the Watch List, yet as I write this letter, it is undeter- mined what that means for businesses and houses of worship. In light of the continuing uncertainty, our people have been preparing for the con- tingency that the quarantine persists. Julie Dennis, our new Sunday School Director, and the Sunday School Teachers are work- ing on a virtual platform for Sunday School. Greek School is also working to provide on- line classes. Father and Deacon Michael are working on a virtual Bible Study. Women of the Word and our other ministries are work- ing on ways to keep us connected and en- gaged while we are apart. So when will we reopen again? Let me clar- ify some misconceptions that some people have about our closure. e decision to close houses of worship and/or limit occupancy was made by State and County Authorities, not Father Andrew or the Parish Council. e shutdown of our Sanctuary following the reopening in June was part of the global shut done due to the COVID spikes in the State and County. e numbers are falling and it appears the State and County are going to loosen the restrictions in the coming weeks. Once we are allowed to reopen, our plan is to do so in compliance with the guidelines. In a recent survey, we asked our parishioners about their attitude toward returning to Di- vine Liturgy once we are allowed to reopen. We had 140 responses; 38% of respondents indicated that they would return at the rst opportunity, while 27% responded they would wait and see; and 14% said it might be quite a while before they would return. A majority of the people who responded indi- cated that they would be very likely to attend outdoor services if o ered. e survey re- ects a wide array of views and attitudes to- ward the COVID situation. We truly appre- ciate and thank you for your responses. Your responses will help us make adjustments as we can continue to plan for a return to the live services. Let me leave you with a ray of hope. Perhaps the hardest things about this period has been the experiences of losing our loved ones. We were not able to gather, to mourn, and to cel- ebrate their lives as we normally do. During the services, families spoke of having a cele- bration of life at a later time when we could gather together. My hope is that when it is safe and we are allowed to gather that we can all come together as a community for a Cel- ebration of Life gathering. We can embrace, break bread, and celebrate the lives of those we have lost and the many blessings we re- ceive each day. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families, 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 Because of the present Covid-19 situation, at least for now our Women of the Word group will meet through video teleconferencing. At the time of writing and submitting this arti- cle we have not yet set a speci c start date, but it will most likely be during the second or third week of September. As soon as our plans have been nalized, they will be posted in the weekly bulletin. Whether we are together in person or inter- acting from afar we still have a responsibility in one way or another to maintain the work of our ministry. And one of our main pur- poses as a ministry of our St. Spyridon parish is still the same - that is, to do our part in building up the Body of Christ and continue growing in our faith through talking, read- ing, and sharing around the Word of God “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro… but, speaking the truth in love,… grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (Eph.4:14,15) It is our hope this year that through our upcoming online meetings we will continue to maintain and build our relationships, to learn from one an- other and promote our spiritual growth to a new level. Over the past few months, many of us have been reading a lot of very helpful books about our Orthodox faith, and also with so much extra time at home, we have had extra time for prayer and for reexamining our spiritual lives. So, instead of selecting only one book to read and discuss, this year we will build our study around a variety of sources – each week we will discuss a topic or question of- fered by someone in the group based on a speci c passage from a book, a daily reading from Holy Scripture, a speci c Psalm or one of our many daily or occasional prayers. We hope that one of the things we will gain from this sharing is to build a knowledge of many resources that support growth in our faith. Always with this reminder from St. Paul: “Let all things be done for edi cation…so that all may learn and all be encouraged…” and that through our learning together we may arrive at the assurance that our “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Cor 14:26,31,33) If you would like to learn more about our group, contact (call or text) Susan Miserlis at 619-243-9864 or email susanmiserlis@gmail. com + e Women of the Word Bible Study Group SUNDAY SCHOOL Saint Spyridon Sunday School will begin the school year virtually on September 13, 2020 . We will have 5 classes: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and Adult Sunday School. Youth will meet via Zoom each Sunday from 11:30am – 12:00pm, and Adult Sunday School will meet Sunday a ernoons twice per month. Although we will be meeting virtually through the fall, our teachers are busy planning engaging and fun lessons that will continue Sunday School’s goals of teaching foundational knowledge of our Orthodox faith. We appreciate your help in getting your children and teens set up to join our virtual Sunday School classes. We are also asking that all new and returning students of all ages complete a Sunday School Registration Form, https:// forms.gle/egvBs5CFUB58JX116. e form can also be printed from the St. Spyridon Website under the Sunday School Ministries heading, http://stspyridon.org/ministries/ sunday-school. We are so very thankful for all of the active families in our parish and are excited to meet once again to study with your children. If you have questions, please feel free to call Julie Dennis, Sunday School Director, at 619-618-5116, or email sundayschool. stspyridon@gmail.com. Sunday School Team