Church, Communion, and Community

We are all aware of the importance of maintaining our church’s building. However, the real Church is not the building in which we gather, but the gathering itself. And while it is important to maintain the church building, it is even more important to maintain the bonds of friendship between each other. How? By acknowledging and strengthening our common ground as Orthodox Christians.

This common ground is none other than Christ. In St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he explains to a factious and broken community that he himself has laid the foundation, and that “no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 3:11). While we are called to build up the Church, we must take care to build properly. We begin by building upon the proper foundation: frequently worshipping Christ together and receiving his Body and Blood in Holy Communion. The Corinthians, at the time of St. Paul’s letter, had failed at this. When they came together to discuss spiritual things and worship, they argued with one another and boasted about their abilities, creating deep divisions. Furthermore, these divisions continued even after the Corinthians received the Eucharist together. For, rather than eating together afterwards, as was the custom at the time, they ate in their own groups, divided by their opinions and their social status. And so, rather than binding their community together, the Corinthians divided themselves to the point that they were unworthy of receiving the Eucharist. St. Paul even goes so far as to diagnose their unworthy communing as the “reason many are weak and sick among you” (11:30).

So how can we learn from the Corinthians? How can we avoid their mistakes? Many of us at Holy Cross are relatives or old friends. Yet there are many more who are newer to the community, whom we might not know as well. Let us continue to strengthen our old ties, while also creating new ones.  Let us foster a community of love, one that proclaims Christ with genuine fervor. Let us make it priority to come and worship, commune, and eat together. Set aside your Sunday morning (and early afternoon) as time sanctified to God and your parish family. Let your prayers for one another lead you to Holy Communion, and let Communion lead you to community at coffee hour.

Please come next door for coffee hour on Sundays and enjoy the fellowship of your fellow parishioners. If you are able, please consider offering coffee hour once a year (or more). If doing so alone is daunting (either for time or money reasons), you can always co-sponsor, and perhaps get to know another person or family a little better in the process. If you are willing to offer, please contact the office (412-833-3355) to schedule a Sunday that works for you. The Corinthians did not share their blessings with their community; they chose to be divided rather than to eat together. Let us listen to the admonitions of St. Paul and build up our Church with worship, Holy Communion, community fellowship, and friendship.

A few housekeeping items:

  1. Sponsoring the Coffee Hour has been and is always done on a voluntary basis. We kindly ask all families to participate in whatever capacity they are able. This is NOT meant to be a financial burden. Please keep the menu simple (please see suggestions below).
  2. Please limit the number of families co-hosting a particular Sunday to 4 or 5. This will allow us to cover more Sundays and there will be fewer gaps in the calendar.
  3. Please encourage one another. This is an offering we make to help our community grow closer together. Encourage one another to attend coffee hour, invite someone you do not know to join you in coming over to the coffee hour, and learn who they are. Our community is blessed with many newer families. We would like to get to know ALL OF YOU!!!! Please make the time and effort to be there.
  4. We will be asking our groups, e.g. Philoptochos, GOYA, and GAPA, to sponsor a coffee hour once every three months or as needed.

We have asked each family to sign up for ONE Sunday. Your participation and stewardship is greatly appreciated! Please contact the office to sign up.

What to do:

  • We anticipate approximately 200 people at the Coffee Hour. This will vary from week to week. Do not worry about left-over food. FOCUS Pittsburgh has agreed to receive whatever food is left over and it will be distributed that week. Nothing will be wasted.
  • Please label what you make — if your baking or cooking contains any allergy foods such as nuts, dairy, etc. Please label so that everyone will be aware of the ingredients.
  • Keep it simple. Keep it healthy. SUGGESTIONS – Vegetables and Fresh Fruit are never out of season and are always Lenten. Bagels, Donuts (not Lenten), humus, dips and spreads, olives, salads of all kinds, bread, crackers, cookies, potatoes in any shape or form, cake, etc.
  • Please bring juice (2 gallons at least) for the children.
  • Plates, napkins, plastic-ware, cups, coffee (will be made) and tea will be provided by the Philoptochos.

What if I need to change the date/Sunday of my service? No worries. Look at the list and contact another family on the date you are available, and switch.

What if I have a memorial? If you have a memorial on a particular Sunday, join in with the families already signed up and let them know what you are bringing.

Is there money collected? There will be a basket for donations. If someone wishes to give money toward the coffee hour, it will be given to the Philoptochos who is providing the paper products and coffee for all the coffee hours.

Occasionally organizations will hold luncheons for fundraisers. On these particular Sundays, please support the efforts of these parish groups and attend the luncheon. An example, March 22nd, 2020 will be the Greek School Program and Luncheon.

If you have other questions or concerns, please contact the Church Office. We thank you in advance for your help! We look forward to seeing all of you, after the Divine Liturgy, with your entire family, at the Coffee Hour.