This is a festive time of the year as the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord approaches. We think of parties, shopping, caroling, decorating the tree and simply having fun. Surely, our Lord finds contentment in His children seeking joy. Through all these festivities, however, we must take some time to remember the significance of His birth and remember that this is truly a time for giving.
The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch celebrates 32 years of “touching people’s lives” by distributing over $20 million dollars since its inception. The Order’s goal is to provide a financial foundation for our Church’s future in America and
throughout the world. Members of The Order are men and women from all walks of life: secretaries, factory workers, business entrepreneurs, executives, young adults, and grandparents who commit to a lifetime of annual giving. Members are people like you and me who believe that when we combine our gifts miracles can happen because we can do more collectively than any one individual can do alone. This is what The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch is all about.
The Order embodies four principles: humanitarianism, fellowship in Christ, love of the Orthodox Christian faith, and commitment to the Antiochian Archdiocese. Combined, these four principles equip us for the work of ministry. In its own uniquely effective way, the Order mobilizes the laity of this God-protected Archdiocese to accomplish vital ministry none can do alone.
Imagine the endless possibilities that can be accomplished when we, as ordinary people, combine our resources and change our gifts into something that is both meaningful and helpful to others who have need. Money is not necessarily the “root of all evil” for money in the right hands can be a tremendous source of good. There are many good reasons for EVERY Antiochian Orthodox to join. The following are just a few:
- If WE don’t, who will? If Antiochian Orthodox Christians do not put their faith first, no one is going to do it for them. Do the various secular charities we all support share with our Orthodox community as we share with them? If we do not accept the call to action can we be certain our Orthodox youth will maintain the faith or will they fall prey to the many outside influences drawing our children away from the Church?
- America needs Orthodoxy now more than ever before. The Orthodox faith is the candle that Christ lit 2,000 years ago. It is a beacon of stability, steadfastness, and strength. Our Missions and Evangelism Department works diligently to bring Orthodoxy to America. The Order helps to fund this department.
- At least 70% of annual distributions are returned to the parishes via contributions to the various departments serving our Archdiocese such as Youth and Campus Ministry, Parish Development, Christian Education, and Summer Camp Scholarships. The Order helps to fund these important aspects of Archdiocese life.
- Our clergy should retire in dignity. The Order donates $200,000 annually to support our retired clergy and their wives. And as more and more of our clergy retire the need will become greater to provide a decent retirement to those who have served the Church so faithfully.
- The Order funds annual distributions to major projects outside our Archdiocese such as Project Mexico, Prison Ministry, IOCC, Teen Special Olympics, and Tree House Ministries (program in Wichita sponsored by St. George Cathedral to support unwed mothers who choose life rather than abortion).
- Support of the annual College Conference where our young adults gather for a week of prayer, learning, fellowship, and witness to Christ as Orthodox Christians. It began with 27 students. This year over 500 will participate.
First and foremost, The Order of St. Ignatius is a SPIRITUAL movement of action by doing good works in the name of the Lord as we embrace a lifetime commitment to God. The Lord Himself challenges us to give not from our surplus but from our need. Jesus honored the poor widow who gave her last two pennies because she gave from her poverty. She gave what she could not afford. We in America can afford much and have much to be thankful for.
The Order of St. Ignatius welcomes all who are faithful to the Orthodox Church, at least 18 years old, and a member in good standing in their local parish. Currently, there are over 3,000 active members in The Order. Individual membership is granted with a minimum annual gift of $500 or $1,000. Dues donations can be made through the electronic funds transfer system where $41.67 or $83.34 is deducted from a checking account on a monthly basis. A Life Member is one who wishes to make a gift of at least $15,000 in full or in 3 equal and consecutive annual donations. Life Membership has a special nuance in that the principal is kept in an endowment and never spent; only the interest is used annually. Thus, a Life member’s gift will continue in perpetuity.
What’s in it for you: An opportunity to participate in making a difference in others’ lives. You change as a human being because of your commitment to Christ. You benefit because your Archdiocese is strengthened to serve you better. You benefit because your spiritual commitment grows stronger. Young people learn at an early age that adults put their money where their hearts are.
So be an example to our children that the Church is a good investment.
Giving to someone we know is our responsibility.
Giving to someone we don’t know is our choice.
Give yourself and others a Christmas gift and make The Order of St.
Ignatius of Antioch your choice. You will be glad you did.