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Parish Update
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Holy Week is around the corner and the Raising of Lazarus will be celebrated with a Divine Liturgy this Saturday.  We relive the drama of this incredible miracle these days as Mary and Martha (the sisters of Lazarus) send for Jesus, saying, "Lord, the one whom you love (Lazarus) is ill."  But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it" (John 11:3-4).   

We see from this exchange that God has a way of doing things in His own time, for His own reasons.  It would be four days later that Jesus would arrive in Bethany, and Lazarus's exasperated sister, Martha, would say to Him: "Lord, if You had been here (earlier), my brother would not have died" (John 11:21).   It makes sense.  Martha knew Jesus had the power to heal Lazarus; if only He would have come earlier her brother would have been well.  

In the same way, we know our Lord has the power to end this pandemic at any moment He wishes, and yet people are sick and dying all over the world and we are about to enter a Holy Week that will be different from any Holy Week we, our parents, or grandparents have ever experienced before.  But God is waiting, and there must be a reason -- just like there was a reason for why He waited to come to Bethany and raise Lazarus from the dead.  He is not waiting in order to harm us, but to help us -- to save us.  Not necessarily to prolong our lives, but to save our eternal souls. 

Let us not be exasperated like Martha was.  Let us not question with disdain in our hearts.  Let us not grumble and complain about things we have no control over.  Rather, let us humble ourselves, let us enter more deeply into the Passion of Christ through our quiet time and prayer, and let us experience Pascha with a more intense gratitude than ever for all the blessings we have perhaps not noticed before in our lives.  

There are many important parish announcements and updates which are listed below, including a new online giving platform which has been added to our new parish websiteLearn more about our new online giving platform, which provides a more convenient way for giving to the church and fulfilling your pledge during this time of isolation.  Of course, if you have lost your job or are experiencing a reduction in your income, the Church is here to support you and your family with prayer and in any way we can.  Reach out to us so that we may pray for you and offer support.  

We are all disappointed that we cannot celebrate Holy Week and Pascha together in our church, but I encourage you to stay up to date with our services listed on the parish calendar and follow along on our Annunciation YouTube Page Livestream and (as of April 7) on our Annunciation Facebook Page.  We will stay connected through our joint payers, fasting, and the LiveStream.  


God is in control.  Let us walk with Him through His Passion as He carried His Cross, so that we may be strengthened by His grace as we go through our own difficulties and carry our own crosses with hope in His mercy and gift of eternal blessings.  

With love in Christ, 
Fr. Hector 
Online Giving
Go to our Annunciation Parish Website to learn more about our new online giving platform which enables us to donate easily, quickly, and securely to our Annunciation Church. 

On the Annunciation Online Donation Page you can create your own personal account with your email address and a password to set up recurring donations and to track your giving history to the church.  All gifts will be automatically logged into our church's database system, Servant-keeper.  

You can also download the "Give Plus" mobile app from the "Apple App Store" or "Google Play" to link up with your personal account and give to the church from your phone or mobile device.  
Family Holy Week Selfies Wanted!

During Holy Week as your family is praying and following the services online, please take pictures of your family watching the Livestream so that we can share and remind ourselves that we are not going through Holy Week alone! 
Spiritual Care Packages Postponed
Due to the most recent directives from our Bishops, we are not able to deliver the Spiritual Care Packages we have been assembling for those who have signed up.  We will keep you up to date and will make arrangements to distribute the care packages when we are permitted to do so.  

However, this will not prevent us from responding to the needs of our parishioners and neighbors by delivering groceries and medicines as needed, and also sending greeting cards to our shut-ins as a reminder that they are not forgotten.  It is also a good idea, while are children are home from school, to write personalized cards which may be sent to our homebound parishioners listed in the April Annunciator.  
OCMC Coin Boxes

Although we will not be collecting coin boxes on Palm Sunday this year, please instruct your Sunday School children to continue collecting money for their boxes which will be brought to the church at a later time to be determined.  All proceeds will support the holy work of our overseas missionaries.   
Thank you and God bless you!  
Holy Week Resources for the Family
 
Please check the "Resources" tab on the parish website throughout Holy Week for educational resources and ideas to make Holy Week more engaging for the entire family.  If you come across good resources, please don't hesitate to send them to frhector@agochurch.com so that we may pass them onto others for their spiritual edification.
Responding to Those in Need During this Crisis

If you have a need or can offer help:

http://www.annunciationorthodox.org/contact/parish-office
Upcoming Zoom Meetings and Ministries
Zoom Collaboration Service Available at UF | University of Florida ...
  • Virtual Coffee Fellowship with Fr. Hector 
    • Sunday, April 12, at 11:30 AM
    • Join URL: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/145465504?pwd=Szk2Z1c0RVZwcXlzazJ6eXB5WmVHZz09
    • Meeting ID: 145-465-504
    • Password: PalmSunday
(Please note that next meeting will require a password to join)
On a lighter note.....

(Translation: Lazarus!  Stay inside!)
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