The most difficult transitions for people serving on Parish Councils are reaching understandings about their place in the parish and the place of the Parish in the Church. Orthodox Christians who have the honor and privilege of serving the Church of Christ through service on Parish Councils hold a special trust that involves both understandings. These matters are the foundations for the Council’s support of the Priest in his role as the Bishop’s representative to the Parish and for the continuation of the Faith.
In the first instance, the place of the Council and the Council members in the Parish is to preserve the Apostolic Tradition that is represented by the Holy Orders transmitted to the Priest through ordination and to exemplify Christian service through humility and patience, honoring faith above politics. We are both receivers and conservators of this awesome treasure. This responsibility should produce a strong sense of humility. If it does not, then we do not comprehend our Holy Inheritance. Membership on the Parish Council is first and foremost a lay ministry of the Church under the guidance of the Clergy.
In the second instance, the place of the Parish in the Church, the Council’s role is to educate themselves and the community that the Parish exists as one branch of a tree with heavenly roots; that the Parish can not live without getting sustenance from and giving support to the tree, that is the Church on earth, nor without the roots that are the Holy Trinity. Seminaries, missions, bishops are all earthly instruments for the Faith, giving context to the ongoing life of the Parish. The Parish can not thrive without them and vice-versa.