Holy Protection
Orthodox Christian Church
UOC of the USA-Ecumenical Patriarchate
3820 Moores Lake Road Dover FL 33527
/ About Us / Our Purpose and What We are About
What We are About
What We are About

As a Parish Church of God’s Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church, Holy Protection’s purpose and roles are the following, in accordance with the Sacred Apostolic Tradition given by God through the Apostles in the Church to all generations for the propagation of God’s Kingdom and the salvation of human persons…

 

Holy Protection’s Purpose:

To be and make disciples of Christ unto eternal life by observing all things that Christ has commanded us (Matt. 28.20), to live a life of repentance, forgiveness, and accountability, and above all to “continue steadfastly in the Teaching of the Apostles, and in the Communion of the breaking of the Bread, and in the Prayers” (Acts 2.42). [1]  To be a community where all who abide by the precepts of Christ can “work out your own salvation in awe and reverence” and love for the Lord, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to accomplish His good purpose” (Phil. 2.12-13). 

Holy Protection’s Mission: 

That we may, full of faith, hope, reverence, and the love of God and neighbor prepare ourselves and others for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come, and to live that life in Christ now as much as possible in the life-giving commandments of our Lord, experiencing God’s Kingdom which has no end even now, as much as possible on this side of the Resurrection of the Dead, in the Mysteries (Sacraments), Services, and the life in Christ of the Church as His Body.

Holy Protection’s Vocation as a Parish: 

1).  To be an authentic continuation of Christ’s Church locally planted, to operate and to live our lives Biblically according to the will of God, walking the path of salvation that He has given us, and bring others into the life in Christ that we might have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, living and abiding within us and among us both in this age and in the age to come.   

2). To be God’s Sacred Kingdom--His Royal Priesthood--as His Church, and to continuously build this Kingdom by adhering to the values of the Gospel of Christ and welcoming new families and people and raising new generations up in love and reverence for the Lord and the love of His good ways, to make the world around us a better place.  

3). To propagate the soul-saving Orthodox Faith of Christ; to make disciples from believers of all nationalities, baptizing those who believe and adhere to Christ and His Faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, giving them the Gift of the Holy Spirit; and with them building up ourselves in the Mysteries of the Church; to follow the Commandments of the Lord and to repent when we have failed to do so.  

4).  To make the world a better place by God-centered work and prayer.    

 

Holy Protection’s Vision:  

To make the world around us a better place by being faithful to God in what we do, coming together as Christ’s Church on His Day (Sunday) and feast days when possible, and prayerfully and consciously doing good as His disciples at home, at work, and wherever we go.

As Christ’s Church, we willfully continue to be God’s sacred brotherhood in Christ, together repelling the ongoing machinations of the powers of hell together in their attempt to destroy humanity and goodness in the world, by engaging in the services of the Church and by our prayers elsewhere which are also prayers of the Church, and consequently by being good spouses and parents and children and coworkers and friends and neighbors pointing all to God by our behaviors, habits, and practices when we are together and when we are by ourselves. 

We seek to increasingly become God-focused and decreasingly “me-focused.”  This is the precept given by the greatest of the Prophets, St. John the Baptist and Forerunner of Christ: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3.30

As Fr. Andrew Damick writes:  “What must I do to be saved? This is a popular question—and an important one—but it is not the Gospel. It is a response to the Gospel. For many the Gospel has often been reduced to a sales pitch of what Jesus can do for you. But the Gospel isn’t about what Jesus can do for you. The Gospel is a declaration of what Jesus has done, solving the three biggest problems facing mankind—defeating death, sin and domination by demons.” 

To realize that Church is not about me and what I want.  The Church is not about you and what you want.  The Church is about God and what HE wants, because He alone knows what is best for us and alone has unselfish motives for what is beneficial to us in big (eternal) picture.  This means we must base our lives and our Church operation on what He reveals in Scripture and Sacred Tradition (2 Thess. 2.15), the latter being the actual source of the canon of Scripture.  

The Church is not a place to “satisfy my needs” and certainly not to “satisfy my wants,” but a place to offer myself to God as His tabernacle, and for us all to do that together.  “Me-focused” churches die.  There is no exception.  We come humbly before the throne of God first establishing our communion with Him, and glorifying Him, for He first glorified us as His people.  Then we ask for what we think are our needs, but knowing that He knows better what we want, ultimately petitioning:  “not my will, but Your will be done,” as even Christ in His humanity did, and as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer:  “Thy will be done.” 

When churches focus on who gets the credit for what is done, they die, or at best stay “level” if they are balanced by positive things that counterbalance this.  That is just statistics.  And this follows the Bible beginning with Cain and Abel, where Abel was not looking for credit for his offering because it was a sacrifice to God, but Cain made his offering no longer a sacrifice because he wanted credit for himself and something in return from God for doing it.  Then one winds up dead and this “church of two” dies on earth as only one remained, and the one that remained, for having killed his brother, excommunicated himself from this brotherhood.  So God, in his goodness, having Abel the righteous on the other side of the grave, brought forth another through Adam and Eve, namely Seth, to regenerate this brotherhood through whom would come the Savior of the world, to deliver us from our selfishness and sinfulness.         

 

Holy Protection’s Values   Holy Protection Orthodox Church, as a parish of God’s Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, is a parish family of God’s faithful dedicated to put God and what He wants before ourselves and what we want, because God alone has unselfish motives and wants what is best for us with regard to the one thing needful, eternal life.  Holy Protection, therefore, has resolved to put God-given principles first and practice Christianity as delivered by God in Scripture and the living deposit of faith given to the Church both as individuals and together as a church.    [Epitome:  to live Biblically as faithful and to operate Biblically as a Church]. More particularly, we have the following: 

Parish Values: 

  1. To live biblically and to run the church biblically. The Church is to run like a church, not like a local chapter of Rotary International.  The Parish membership takes responsibility for paying all the bills [including paying the priest, who as the Bible says “is worthy of his wages”] through proper biblical stewardship, not through fundraising.  Fundraising is used for the parish to give outwardly to others, not to pay the bills that we are all called to pay.
  2. That our parish is accessible to all peoples, and not focused on one ethnicity, thereby truly expressing the catholic and apostolic nature of the Orthodox Church.
  3. That we have one common language, which is the language of the land and the language that we all have in common. There are other languages “sprinkled” when there is repetition but even there, reflecting that this is the local manifestation of the worldwide church.
  4. That we look not just to the priest and clergy as spiritual fathers, but to each other as spiritual brothers and sisters, and that we look to help with each other’s spiritual needs.
  5. That an environment is created where all are not only encouraged to participate but able to participate. (The priest has worked hard to have books and handouts for many services—very rare because it is very time-intensive and stressful.  For this reason Natalie has taken on assistance with printing books when they need printed, which is an immense help).  Handouts shouldn’t take it for granted—most priests don’t do that and most parishes don’t have that because is very labor intensive and is tedious (is tedious to go through and reformat and resize and try to fit the pages and proofread and correct spelling and grammar mistakes) 
  6. Regular but prepared attendance and reception of the Sacred Mystery of Holy Communion.
  7. That children are not just the future of the Church, but the present. This is one difference of the Orthodox Church from all other churches and religious organizations, that we see even the smallest child who has been brought into the Church as a full member.  Not just rights but responsibilities beginning in the home but extending to the church.
  8. That we are here not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10.40-45). That we are here not to go and get individual needs met from Church or from God, but to come and offer something to God in Church together, and to let him bless us together and help us grow in course unto eternal life.     
  9. To commit ourselves, and each other, and our whole life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  10. We “come to church” not to be served, but to serve and to offer ourselves to God as his living tabernacle.
  11. We strive to live out the remainder of our lives in His peace and in our repentance, repenting of our sins, which means confessing them to the person we have sinned against, when possible, and to make reparations for our sin as much as possible. It also means to regularly, at least once a year, to confess to God before a priest (and that includes priests and bishops must do the same). 
  12. To strive for a Christian completion to our lives
  13. To live a life of repentance, and baptize believers and give them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and urge others to be saved from the condemnation of this perverse generation (Acts 2.40)
  14. Turn away from materialistic consumerism and entitlement and each “take ownership” of the parish as a gift given to all of us.
  15. In terms of events, the things that go on in the church, above all being with Christ in the liturgical services, is the most important thing—the social hall is not. What goes on in the social hall is nice, but is not the only “one thing necessary” (Luke 10.42).  We can’t lose sight of the one thing needful.  We remember that St. Martha was concerned about social hour and people helping there and thought that St. Mary was not concerned enough about it.  Jesus firmly corrected her reminding her that it was St. Mary who was concerned about the one thing necessary—communing with Him.  There is usually no need to choose between the two, but an unhealthiness comes when far more work and effort go into fellowship and supplementary activities than goes into liturgical service—the . 
  16. We as Orthodox Christians are to be careful not to be too lazy with our time nor to waste it. We are “look carefully” how we walk in life, “not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph. 5.16-17)  
  17. Whenever we do something for the Church, we are doing it not as a favor to the church nor to the priest nor to God, but as a thanksgiving to God for what He has already done: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you receive as a reward the inheritance from the Lord.  You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3.23-24). 
  18. On the other hand, we must be vigilant not to take too much on so that we burn ourselves out and then blame others for not helping when they would have otherwise been willing to help. I would not be mentioning the latter part if it weren’t a perpetual problem.  People burn out and then quit.  It is better to spread the work out, pay professionals outside the church to do professional work when needed (especially when we need licensed work done, we really have no choice per insurance and liability), and have a big happy family.  We are a BODY the Body of Christ manifested locally.  A body is cooperating members. 
  19. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Cor. 14.40). 

 

 

[1] The purpose of the Church is set forth in the Great Commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19, 20). In another place Christ commanded: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every living creature” (Mark 16:15). In yet another place Christ said “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). At his ascension Jesus told his disciples, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).The pattern of evangelism was established by the first church. “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42). As those early Christians believed everyone without Christ was lost, they felt the need to present the gospel to everyone. Before long their critics accused them of having saturated their town with the gospel (Acts 5:28). Later others recognized their influence upon the world (Acts 17:10).

 

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