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Advocacy: An Attribute of a Fully Developed Governing Parish Council

“But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ.” (I John 2:1)

One of the six attributes of a fully developed governing parish council is advocacy, which is defined as “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.” So advocacy for our purpose is visible support of the mission of the parish.

Here are examples of ways to advocate for the parish to fellow parishioners:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest including the very appearance of a conflict of interest

  • Be able to recite the parish’s mission, values, vision and programs with confidence

  • Volunteer for service within the parish, making it an integral part of your stewardship(giving of time, talent and treasure)

  • Serve on the parish council with diligence

  • Provide the parish with connections to potential donors

  • Invite friends, relatives and neighbors to parish events

  • Call the priest, ask how you can be of service – make his day

  • Call the parish council chairperson, ask how you can be of service – make her day also

  • If you have a special talent, place it at the service of the Lord in the parish

  • Identify visitors, welcome them, get their contact information, invite them to coffee hour

Here are ways to advocate for the parish before the larger community:

  • Ensure the parish is financially well managed – a financial scandal that gets covered in the newspaper tarnishes the reputation of the parish

  • Volunteer with nonprofits in your community whose mission is consistent with the gospel – identify yourself as a member of your parish and that your parish encourages members to volunteer

  • Personally regard every person you meet or work with as representing Jesus and as someone precious in the eyes of God, a person for whom He gave His life

  • Take advantage of turning points, current events and media trends to draw attention to the parish

  • Seek opportunities for press releases and newspaper articles that demonstrate parish service to the larger community

  • Sponsor community activities and ministries beyond the parish such as health fairs, providing 12-Step organization meeting space, a food bank, voting location, etc.

  • When divine providence places a former parishioner or uninvolved Orthodox Christian or a seeker of truth within your sphere of influence, do not hesitate to invite them for coffee or invite them to church, give them a book to read or suggest a program that is sponsored by the parish that may be of interest to them, put them together with the priest


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