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A Special St. Nicholas Day Message from the Metropolis of Atlanta

December 6, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I greet you all with love on this day where we commemorate St. Nicholas. Through his donation of time and treasures, St. Nicholas changed the lives of many, and among those were three young women who might have been a similar age to many of our sons and daughters. In honor of his memory, I challenge us all to look at serving the generation of young adults in our communities that are in dire need of spiritual assistance.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA released a report this week on “Young Adults and Young Adult Ministries in American Orthodox Christian Parishes.” The report was conducted by Alexei Krindatch, the Assembly’s Research Coordinator. It discusses several statistical points about young adults in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and in the other jurisdictions as well. Through the data, several strategies for increased young adult engagement are revealed. The report can be found here in full and here in summary form.

I encourage you all to read it, as it presents a picture that our young adults will continue to fall away from our faith if we do not intervene. Young adults in the report are defined as those aged 18-34. If you think of your own communities and your own lives, this is a time of dramatic change and movement in one’s life.

I challenge you this holiday season to reach out to a young adult in your community and show them the kindness that St. Nicholas showed: offer a ride to church, invite them to share a meal with you, reach out and ask how they are doing. The study shows that a majority of clergy abstain from engaging young adults as a specific group because they believe that the young adults have no interest. This is disturbing because perhaps the young adults have lessened interest because they think we have given up on them. This work seems difficult but it really is quite simple. If you extend your hand and offer to pull up the young adults in your community by supporting them spiritually, you show that you believe in them and that will make the biggest difference.

Praying for a blessed Nativity Fast and fruitful holiday season,
+ Very Rev. Fr. George Tsahakis