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Vicariate (GOA) in the USA

The Ministries of St. Lawrence Orthodox Christian Church

The primary, most important ministry of any Orthodox church is its worship. The word used for a eucharistic service in the Orthodox Church is "liturgy," from the Greek leitourgia, which means "the work of the people." Our work, that for which we were ultimately created, is to worship God. We do not worship to make ourselves feel good, to receive some kind of spiritual booster shot, or to earn "brownie points" with God; we worship because He commanded us to, and because it is the natural response of a grateful heart to the immense, indescribable love shown to us by our Creator.

The daily services offered at St. Lawrence Church are, however, a ministry to people as well as to God. As a side effect or bonus of our worship, we do often receive spiritual strength and consolation, and through the daily services these are available to all whenever they are needed.

A second and related vital ministry of St. Lawrence Church is catechism-religious instruction offered on a regular basis to all those interested in learning more about the Orthodox faith. These classes are attended by everyone from inquirers to parish members who want a refresher course in Orthodox doctrine. Call the church office, 335-0300, for the current class schedule.

In addition to basic catechism, the church schedules more in-depth teachings on Orthodox topics by guest instructors from time to time. See the parish calendar for upcoming guest speakers. You may also visit our Homilies & Teaching section and listen to recent recordings.

Ministry to the Needy
St. Lawrence Church also participates in several types of outreach ministry to the needy, both locally and elsewhere. The giving of alms is an essential aspect of Orthodox piety, along with prayer and fasting. According to the words of Jesus Himself, in giving to the poor, we are actually giving to Christ (Matthew 25:31-46). St. John the Evangelist exhorts us, "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:17, 18).

In addition to contributing financially to ministries such as the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) and parish members are actively involved in the supporting following organizations:

Valley Churches United Missions (VCUM)
Pregnancy Resource Center of Santa Cruz
Project Mexico

In addition, many parish members regularly visit and contribute both money and labor to nearby monasteries.

Valley Churches United Missions (VCUM)
St. Lawrence has been cooperating with VCUM for a number of years. The mission of VCUM is to provide for the material needs of needy people and disaster victims in the San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley. St. Lawrence contributes in the following ways:

* Individual donations of time, money, and goods (such as holiday food bags)
* Assistance with seasonal projects by the youth group or St. Lawrence Academy classes
* Cosponsoring of the Senior Dinners
* Support of VCUM through The Abbot's Thrift. VCUM issues vouchers to needy people for clothing, household goods, etc., which can be redeemed for merchandise at Abbot's Thrift.

Valley Churches United Missions can be found on the web at www.vcum.org.