Recession and Letters and Opinion and Economy and Volunteers and Churches and Philanthropy

Recession toughens faith communities

June 1, 2009

I enjoyed speaking to your reporter, Kathleen McLaughlin. However, her article ["Building on a prayer," in the May 25 issue] contains an error that requires correction.

The statement that "Holy Trinity Greek Christian Orthodox Church proceeded with its northward migration from 40th and Pennsylvania streets to western Carmel even though it isn't necessarily growing"—is not correct. At no time during our phone interview did I say or imply that Holy Trinity is not growing. Growth was one of the reasons for the move.

This past Lent and Holy Week saw all manner of new faces coming through our doors. If anything, we now have the additional welcome challenge of managing this growth—since expanding our outreach is what our faith is about. And, to be sure, the contributions made by these new "faces" have helped bolster our finances, too.

Another unanticipated bright spot has also been an explosion of volunteerism within our parish. Perhaps this never would have happened if the economic downturn had not made it necessary to consider this alternative option. So, contrary to the somewhat grim picture painted by McLaughlin, I predict that these challenges will be an opportunity for spiritual renewal and rededication to the values of family, church and community.

Holy Trinity was founded by a small group of immigrants in 1910. It and its people have weathered discrimination, war, economic depression and more--and have always come through with flying colors. And lest we forget, Christianity has always thrived best during time of adversity and even outright persecution.

Father Anastasios Gounaris

Pastor

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

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