Below is the email sent on Novemer 13, 2015.
The purpose of a new church is not merely bricks and mortar, but about the children of God gathering together in increasing communion with God and each other.
Holy Cross is the only OCA Orthodox Church in the Triad, and while beautifully culturally diverse, offers services entirely in the language that most people who live here understand, contributing to our growth. A new church building will accommodate the growth we have already experienced and will enable us to welcome those who are called by God and who hunger for the one true Faith.
Our children are surrounded by a seductive secular culture that would draw them away from the Way of Christ. To help ground them in the Faith, we want to continue to offer them education, and indeed, provide education for all ages. Parishioners have identified making space for this as a priority.
Fellowship is essential to building and strengthening our church family; our current close quarters make gathering together a challenge. A new fellowship hall will give us the space we need without having to spend time setting up tables and rearranging chairs. We will be better able to properly greet newcomers and spend time getting to know and encourage each other. Again, parishioners have spoken clearly about longing for community space where we can partake of shared meals and enjoy celebrations.
There is sometimes a difficult balance in the stewardship of the resources God has given us between the direct giving of alms and investing in the beauty of the church. We must remember and reach out to those in need, and a church that looks pretty but fails to care for God's children is an empty house. But Orthodox Christians understand the iconic nature of the beauty of God's house. We know, of course, that God is as present in the grocery store as in church, but everything we experience in Orthodox worship—the fragrance of incense, the beauty of singing voices, the light of flickering candles, the “cloud of witnesses” in the surrounding icons, the symbolism and beauty of the architecture—all of these things help us grasp in a direct, deep way that, in church, we have moved a few steps out of this temporal world and into a heavenly reality. The beauty of Orthodox worship iconically represents a window into the beauty of the celestial worship. We temporarily join the saints and angels when we participate in the divine services. This is actually part of Orthodox evangelism: many people have been drawn to the Orthodox Church by the beauty of her services. God calls us not to hide our light under a bushel, but to be a City on a Hill. We aspire to build a church that will shine with the glory of God and proclaim to this secular world that something different is here, something beautiful and precious. Come, taste and see! Let us worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Part of evangelism is sharing what we have, and we cannot share with others what we do not have ourselves. St. Seraphim of Sarov said, “Acquire the spirit of peace, and thousands around you will be saved.” The more we are a community of peace, united in love, the more we have something precious to share with others. And the more we are filled with joy as we gather together to participate in divine services in a beautiful temple with room for all, the more free we will be to invite others to share that beauty, that peace, and that joy.