Philoptochos members recently delivered warm blankets, socks, t-shirts and underwear to the Lowell Transitional Living Center. Some of the proceeds from the 60th Anniversary Tea were used to purchase these supplies so greatly needed as we approach another winter season.
Pictured with Center residents and Philoptochos members, Pat Mahoney, Olivia Sintros and Soula Spaziani is Director of the Lowell Transitional Living Center, David McCloskey (2nd from the left). Philoptochos will remain in close communication with the Center to identify upcoming needs and offer our continual support.
It is with great pleasure that we honor Arthur and Christine Faneros as the 2014 recipients of the Metropolis of Boston Ministry Award. They have been lifelong, faithful members of our Transfiguration Church in Lowell. Arthur and Christine were born and raised at the Transfiguration and were married there in 1971. They have two sons, John and Jason.
Arthur has served the church in many capacities, including Parish Council President and Vice President, as well as many years as a council member. He also served as co-chairman of the Building Committee, which led to the dedication of our Family Life Center in 2003. A fervent Grecian Festival volunteer, Arthur has served as food chairman, raffle chairman, and general festival chairman. He is best known for his tireless fundraising efforts on behalf of the parish, whether it be selling raffle tickets, raising upfront festival money, raising money to build the building and yes, raising money to pay off the mortgage. No one can say no to Arthur.
Christine has been a quiet, dedicated volunteer in many aspects of parish life. She has been a choir member for many years and has taught Sunday School for over twenty five years. Christine participates in Bible Study Ministry and has been a dedicated Philoptochos sister. Whether baking for a festival, selling pastry, decorating the Kouvouklion, serving as Corresponding Secretary of the Philoptochos Board or coordinating the Visiting Angels Ministry, Christine's sincere, compassionate nature makes her the model of a true Christian.
We thank Arthur and Christine for their love and service to our parish.
On, Sunday, November 17, the Transfiguration parish family gathered after Liturgy for the annual Stewardship Appreciation Luncheon. This year, the festivities also included an historic milestone - the burning of the mortgage of our beloved Family Life Center.
Thanks to the generosity and support of many parish families and individuals, our $1.2 million mortgage was officially retired as of December 18, 2012. During his remarks, Fr. Tom gratefully acknowledged the hard work and dedication of members of the original Building and Mortgage Elimination committees, many of whom were in attendance, and all who worked diligently to achieve this goal. He then assisted Christian Zouzas, Sam Zouzas and Arthur Faneros in igniting the mortgage document as the crowd of parishioners enthusiastically applauded.
Following a delicious lunch, which was provided by the Exarhopulos family and their team, Greg Floor and Jeff Dinopoulos took to the stage to lead a brief presentation about the true meaning of Orthodox Christian stewardship. Using the fictitious "Roolf" family as an example, Greg illustrated how easy it is for us to overlook the value that our church provides to us and to instead spend our money on items that will do nothing to ensure our ultimate salvation. When we find ourselves allocating more money toward our cable, car, or student loan bills than we do to our church, we should take time out to rethink our priorities and endeavor to shift our focus back to Christ and His Church.
Greg and Jeff calculated that an average pledge of just $68 per month would be enough to cover our entire $285,000 operating budget for 2014. They estimated that each steward who is able need only to increase his pledge by 10% next year in order for our parish to attain this goal.
Stewardship pledge cards for 2014 are now available. Please see Fr. Tom, Olivia Sintros or a member of the Parish Council for more information.
Photos by Nicolaos Tzetzis
On Sunday, September 22, 2013, John Vaporis was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston. Fr. Ted Barbas and Fr. Stephen Lawrence were also in attendance. Dn. John will now serve at our parish alongside Fr. Tom Chininis during Sunday Orthros and Divine Liturgy.
You can listen to clips from the ordination service by clicking on the links below:
View more photos on our Facebook page >>
Nicholas and Susan Pappas were honored as this year's recipients of the parish's Ministry Award at the Metropolis of Boston's 27th Annual Ministry Awards Banquet on June 9th. Nick and Susan have served the Transfiguration community for more than 30 years and are the connsumate example of true and faithful stewards.
Nick and Susan were married at Transfiguration in 1977 and spent the early years of their marriage living in Connecticut. When they returned to Lowell in 1982, they became stewards of the parish, where both of their grandfathers are listed among the original founding members.
Nick has served on the Parish Council for 21 years, and has been referred to as the "voice of reason." He served the parish as president, treasurer and secretary for four, three, and two terms, respectively. A lifelong newspaper man, Nick edited the monthly Trans-A-Gram newsletter for eight years. Since the 1980s, he has been publicity chairman of the Grecian Festival and a member of the finance team. Nick has served on the Stewardship Ministry Team and has coordinated the Sunday Fellowship Hour with wife Susan for more than 20 years.
Susan coordinates the Fellowship Ministry Team, is known for her trademark note taking at events, has been Philoptochos president for three terms, served on the Parish Council for four terms, and is a member of the Stewardship Ministry Team. She has worked tirelessly at every Grecian Festival and can often be found cleaning and organizing the church on Fridays, her day off. Susan also recently began a Prosphoro Baking Ministry.
The Pappas family is a sterling example, dedicating their life to the church and living the words of Christ in Matthew 20:28: "I came not to be served, but to serve." Daughter Stephanie is married to Fr. Conan Gill, who serves at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Daughter Melanie is a talented graphic designer who designed the Transfiguration website and often creates posters, flyers and event programs for the parish. She is also a member of the Philoptochos Board, a choir member and a chanter. Nick and Susan are also proud grandparents of Nikolaos and Andreas Gill.
Congratulations, Nick and Susan!
It's official! As of December 19, 2012, the mortgage for the Transfiguration Family Life Center has been paid off! Thank you to the 41 generous individuals and families who came forward during our final drive, and to the many parishioners who have supported our Mortgage Elimination program since 2004. Your love for our community and continued support have enabled us to make this wonderful gift to Christ and our parish. Thanks also to GOYAns Dean McCann, Stephanie Gulezian and Athena Kalabokis for making the beautiful presentation.
Mommy and Me is a new ministry of our Transﬁguration Church Community for families with young children ages 40 days old to 3 years old. This group is meant to provide interaction opportunities for the very smallest members of our parish, as well as for their parents or caretakers. The children do a variety of activities that promote faith, fellowship and fun.
Our Sunday School class will provide diverse engaging activities such as read-aloud stories that teach about our faith, learning and singing songs, snacks, crafts, playtime and much more! Don't forget fellowship for the adults! We meet after Communion in the Mommy and Me room.
Please Note: The parent/caregiver MUST be present for the child to participate in Mommy and Me. We look forward to meeting your little one and being a part of their introduction to their Christian faith! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Cassandra Floor at 978–455–3231 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mommy and Me was started last year by Presbytera Kelley Lawrence; God willing, under the direction of Cassandra Floor and Amanda Apostolou, this ministry will continue to grow. Even though it's called "Mommy and Me," everyone is welcome! It can be Yiayia and Me, Papou and Me, Nouna and Me, or Uncle and Me. We look forward to a great year of learning and growing in our faith.
We're happy to announce that His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios has officially assigned the Rev. Father Thomas F. Chininis to serve our beloved parish beginning September 1, 2012. Fr. Tom was installed as our new priest on Sunday, August 5th during the Great Vespers service for the Feast of the Transfiguration. Please join us in welcoming Fr. Tom to the Transfiguration community!
by Fr. Stephen Lawrence
I have had many conversations over the past weeks about my coming depar ture from the parish. And, as so often happens, the story which puts my leaving into the proper perspective came not from me, but from one of you. During one conversation, Greg Floor told of Fr. Dan Suciu, a priest much beloved by his parish. On his departure, a parishioner approached him and declared that no priest could ever fill his shoes, that he couldn't be replaced. Now, every priest hopes to make that sort of impact, and I must confess that I do hope I'll be missed. But, we priests also fear getting in the way of Christ, of allowing our personality to take center stage and of being remembered for who we are instead of who Christ is. As if it is our shoes which need to be filled in a parish, rather than teaching parishioners to follow not in our footsteps, but in our Lord's footsteps. So Fr. Dan's response, filled with humility and wisdom, was edifying and encouraging to me. and I hope it is to you as well.
Fr. Dan (with what I imagine was a voice colored by a smile and filled with gentle love) insistently told his parishioner that she was wrong. A priest, he explained, is like a stained glass window. Each stained glass window, though just a combination of colored panes, is beautiful in its own right and unique in its design. But it merely tints the light which is already streaming into the church. And often times it takes many stained glass windows to properly adorn a church – though each tells its own story, it is the combination of stories which truly reflect the eternal Beauty of our God. It is never a priest's place to replace another or to fill another's shoes. It is the priest's place to let the Light of Christ into the parish, colored by his own personality and talents, offering the beauty of his story to adorn the Church. So Fr. Dan recognized that his departure, rather than being a tragedy, was in fact an opportunity for the parish to be further adorned with the beauty of another stained glass window.
Knowing that the next priest will further adorn this parish with his love and with his talents makes it easier to say goodbye, but my heart still aches. It is hard to say goodbye. Not so much because I don't want to go, but because I don't want to leave. I know that the road ahead is the path that our Lord has chosen for me, but that does nothing to ease the sorrow that I feel now that our paths are parting. And so I stand at this fork in the road and think about you all. I want so much to say so many things. But as I reflect on what message I want to leave, what treasure I want to offer you, I realize that I long ago gave you the only thing of value that I have. All I've ever wanted to accomplish here is to walk with you on the journey toward understanding the Mystery of our God's love for us.
The thing is, though, that the Mystery of God's love was here in the parish long before I arrived and will be here long after I've left. Far from me offering you anything of real value, it is you all who have embraced me as I joined you along this leg of your journey to the Kingdom. So rather than trying to offer you some trite, passing wisdom, I'm left in the rather happy position of simply saying thank you. Thank you for sharing your lives with me. Thank you for sharing my family's life. Thank you for your patience as I've learned to be a more faithful shepherd of our Lord's flock. Thank you for your encouragement as I've developed my talents and for your forgiveness as I've learned to repent of my deficiencies. Thank you for your courage in facing life's suffering and for your joy in celebrating life's successes. It has been a privilege to worship with you and to minister to you. Thank you for all of it. You are an extraordinary parish, an inspiring gathering of God's people.
I pray that, through God's grace, I have adorned this parish with some beauty. I pray that our Lord Jesus' Light has somehow ﬁltered through me, reﬂected and refracted, and brought some small part of His Kingdom into your midst. I pray you can all forgive me for the things I didn't do, but should have; and for the things I shouldn't have done, but did. I pray that you have learned alongside me that our God doesn't want us to pretend to be perfect but rather to learn to recognize our weakness and to turn to Him for healing. And I hope that you know how much I love you, this Transﬁguration parish family. You will always be in my heart, and I hope I have found some small place in yours.
So I leave you with nothing more than you already had when I arrived – a faithful community of God's children, loving, learning, and living together. Be gentle with your new father and know that he will adorn this parish with another window into the eternal Kingdom of our God. Revel in his strengths, protect him from his weaknesses, and love him as you loved me. Let our Christ Jesus – God and King – rule over this parish in love and mercy. And that, my beloved spiritual children, is as it should be.
by Olivia Sintros, Karen Mitropoulis and Toula Sparages
On Monday, June 11, 500 students from the Abraham Lincoln School in Lowell took, in their own words, "the best field trip ever" to the Transfiguration Church to receive new books and book bags. The students were hosted by the Philoptochos Society, who began the book distribution project five years ago for the students of Lowell, for their summer reading program. The project has been growing and is stronger than ever.
Upon entering the church, the children were led into the nave, where Fr. Stephen and Olivia Sintros welcomed each class and gave a brief description and explanation of our church. The older classes also had a brief lesson in mosaics by their art teacher. She was able to give each student a first–hand look at the mosaic icons of our church and relate them to their art projects.
As each student left the nave, Soula Spaziani and Karen Mitropoulis gave them a tote bag and bookmark provided by Fablevision Studios, whose motto is "Stories that matter, stories that move." They proceeded downstairs to the church foyer, where they had an opportunity to select four books of their very own — to KEEP! They were then treated to some milk and cookies in the church hall.
As the children enjoyed their snacks, Literacy Program Co-Chairman Karen Mitropoulis spoke with many of the children. She asked one young boy what his favorite book was. "'The Dot,' by Peter H. Reynolds," he said, "and he signed it, too!"
When asked what her favorite part of the day was, Jennifer said, "The mosaics!" She continued, "This is my favorite field trip ever. Can we come back next year?"
As one busload of students lined up to leave the church, another one arrived. It was a very well organized day that the students will long remember.
On behalf of the children, we thank all parishioners and friends who have donated books to the Literacy Project.
Michael Eliopoulos was honored as this year's recipient of the parish's Ministry Award at the Metropolis of Boston's 26th Annual Ministry Awards Banquet on June 10th. Michael was voted this year's winner by the Parish Council at its April 4 meeting. The council has been nominating a parishioner for this award since the late Helen Georges was named the ﬁrst recipient in 1994.
The son of Peter and Diamondo Eliopoulos, Michael was baptized at Transﬁguration, one of 13 children to be raised at the church. After serving as an altar boy, he would grow up to play a leadership role in the parish, initially becoming involved as a dedicated volunteer to the parish's Grecian Festivals during the 1980s and '90s.
In 1992, he was elected to the Parish Council and went on to be a key contributor to the Building Committee and later co–chaired the Capital Campaign Committee when the parish embarked on the planning and construction of its Family Life Center, which opened in June 2003.
Through it all, Michael has served as a model of true Christian stewardship for his children and grandchildren, many of whom can be found in the pews each and every Sunday.