“Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ”
“…That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Th 1:12
On December 6th, 1986, occurred a historic event for the American Western Diocese. His Grace, Dr. Sava, Bishop of the Western American Diocese and surrogate Bishop of the Midwestern Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, invited two delegates from each parish to meet with him at the Diocesan offices at St. Steven’s Cathedral in Alhambra, CA. The purpose of this meeting was to create a Circle of Serbian Sisters of the Western American Diocese, a federation of all the women’s auxiliaries, mother’s clubs and Circle of Serbian Sisters throughout the diocese. The goal of this organization was to provide support for individual groups as well as the Diocese. The delegates unanimously voted to form a Diocesan Sister’s Organization, they elected a board of officers and temporary by-laws were adopted.
With this historic event, our Serbian Orthodox women were unified through their acts of charity and this offered an opportunity to achieve their salvation. Although we all know: “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephes. 2:8. As we understand that a Christian is saved through grace, which is a gift of God and not a reward for good works, however, the good works and dedication of our sisters manifest the effect of our Lord’s grace. Our sisters are growing in our Orthodox faith for the glory of God. Since 1986 until today, many sisters from approximately twelve parish kolos were involved in works and deeds of this organization. Some of the good works of our sisters involve: attending Annual Meetings, addressing all points of agenda and successfully completing them; organizing the Annual Lenten Women’s Retreat on the weekend of the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent with many sisters faithfully attending, with a guest speaker on different religious topics; making charitable contribution ; sending proceeds to monasteries to Kosovo and Metohija as well as helping our St. Herman Men’s Monastery in northern California and St. Paisius Women’s Monastery in Arizona; holding fundraisers for our Summer Camp in Jackson and volunteering their time and work during the camp season; taking care of our children and teaching them our Orthodox faith and importance of the unity in the Orthodox Church, unity in the Church as an essence of Christian life. Christ established the Church, which is His Body, and we, as Christians become parts of His Body. We live and work together as the body of Christ. All our sisters show love towards their Church, they put effort and hard work on order to make the Kolo function as the Body of Christ. Constant dedication, love towards each other and service that sisters provide for each other, means service and love towards our awesome God. Many temptation s are continually thrown insidiously at us, but we know that we can overcome them by the grace of our God. We also humble ourselves in many occasions. As we remember: “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of us be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Pet. 5:5
There is no need to emphasize how much our sisters work for the church. If they are not in the kitchen preparing hospitality, you can find them teaching in the Sunday School, singing in the Church choir, organizing different charitable events and so on. All our sisters work very, very hard. There is nothing more treasured on the earth that can be compared with the virtues of a good woman. “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understanding all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I can remove mountains, but have no love, I am nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:2. By the grace of our God, our sisters accomplished a lot with love; with love for the Church, towards their spiritual fathers and love amongst each other. Finally, let this love lead us and guide us all in growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ.
“So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 5:21