Dear Parish Faithful,
"He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water'." (Jn. 7:38)
This is the beginning of what we hope will be a series coming from our Oaks of Mamre Ministry. The chair of that committee is Kevin Rains, and what Kevin writes below is a fine explanation of the work and goal of that ministry. Briefly stated here, it is about parish hospitality as a key component on assisting visitors and inquirers to experience the fulness of life offered in an Orthodox Christian community.
- Fr. Steven
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Hi. This is Kevin Rains. I lead the Oaks of Mamre ministry for Christ the Savior/Holy Spirit.
The title of our ministry may be a little obscure to some but it’s based on a story told in The Book of Genesis (ch. 18) and further enlarged in a famous icon about Abraham providing hospitality to three strangers. The three strangers, it turns out represent God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Our ministry is one of hospitality and welcoming people into our community of faith. We want to provide on-ramps for people who visit us. People visit us for many different reasons. Some are simply curious about the Orthodox Faith. Others have become convinced already that the Orthodox Church represents the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” and they come looking for a local expression of that Church to align with. Others come become they are taking Fr. Steven’s class at Xavier and are required to be there for one of the assignments.
Whatever the reason may be for the visit, we want to be a warm, welcoming community to any and all who may visit us. Oaks of Mamre Ministry exists to do that and to aid others in doing that as well...
New Oaks of Mamre reflections are posted periodically. Explore them all here...
The gospel reading from this week is all about fishing.
Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4.18-19)
What an invitation! Peter and Andrew are being invited by God Himself on an incredible adventure. Jesus knew how to speak to their heart and how to elevate their vision. Basically, he’s saying “You guys know a thing or two about how to catch fish, but I’m inviting you on a mission to actually catch people.” And Jesus is saying he will train and prepare them on how to do this. In just a few short years, this was fulfilled in dramatic fashion when on the Day of Pentecost Peter preached and thousands came to Christ and joined the Church. Tradition also tells us that Andrew went on to plant the Church in distant lands and also led thousands to Christ...