Celebrating Anniversaries in the Parish

By Jennifer Moros

In April of 1994, Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church of Wayne, NJ, celebrated the significant events of the Bicentennial of Orthodox Christianity in North America and thirty years of parish life by having an “Open House” for the community at large. In conjunction with the Open House, two other community projects were undertaken: a set of one hundred books on Orthodox subjects was donated to the town library, and three parishioners were awarded scouting honors. In this article, the chairman of the celebration, Jennifer Moros, presents—with samples of the literature generated in connection with the event—an outline of what happened and what needed to be done.


An “Open House” commemorating the celebration of 200 years of Orthodoxy in North America and the 30th Anniversary of Holy Resurrection parish in Wayne, New Jersey.

DATE Sunday afternoon (4:00 p.m.), April 10, 1994

The program lasted about one hour. Approximately 150 people attended the event, forty-five of them non-Orthodox.


1) Service of Thanksgiving: A service commemorating the Bicentennial of Orthodox Christianity in North America was celebrated.

2) Children’s Choir: The children sang the hymn “A New Commandment I Give To You.”

3) Scouting Awards: Chi Rho and Alpha Omega awards were presented to three young parishioners.

4) Historian Award: A large Bicentennial icon and a dozen roses were presented to a woman in the parish who had kept a “history” of the parish over the past 30 years.

5) Library Presentation: A Bicentennial crystal box was presented to the Wayne Township Public Library’s Acquisition Librarian in appreciation of her help in facilitating the parish’s donation of 100 books on Orthodoxy, church history, art, etc. to the library.

6) Greetings from the Mayor of Wayne, NJ: The Mayor greeted those gathered and then was presented by the parish with a Bicentennial crystal box.

7) Bicentennial Explanation: Two parishioners, using the Bicentennial Icon of All Saints of North America as the core element in their presentation, spoke about the beginnings of Orthodoxy in North America.

After a brief explanation of the general use of icons and their place in the church, they presented the Bicentennial Icon, speaking about the reason it was commissioned and about the saints depicted on it. (Visitors had been given a copy of the icon and an outline of the saints depicted on it to refer to as they entered the church for the Open House.)

8) Many Years: The Senior Choir sang “Many Years” to all gathered.

9) Refreshments: Refreshments were served in the church hall. Fr. Paul Kucynda, the parish’s pastor, and several knowledgeable parishioners remained in the church to answer any questions the guests who were touring the church might have.


1) Booklet of the Service of Thanksgiving commemorating the Bicentennial of Orthodox Christianity in North America. (Text provided by the OCA chancery.)

2) Commemorative Bicentennial Icon (4.5” x 5” print)

3) “Welcome to Our Church” brochure


The entire Committee for the event consisted of 15 persons. The group was broken down into various sub-committees of one to three persons. Each sub-committee handled a specific aspect of the event.


a. Raised money ($1,000) from parishioners to purchase two sets of one hundred books each from St. Vladimir’s Bookstore: one set for use in the newly renovated church library; the other set for presentation as a gift to the Wayne Township Public Library for educational/informational purposes.

b. Purchased the books.

c. Created, reproduced, and affixed book plates on all two hundred books. The official Bicentennial logo was chosen by the Committee to be used on the book plates.

d. Worked with the Acquisitions Librarian from the town library.*

e. Presented one set of the books to the library. Took photos of the presentation for use in press releases and other promotional materials for the Open House.

f. Put the second set of books on display in the church hall.


a. Wrote up long and short press releases. The press releases tied together the Bicentennial, the library book donation, and the Open House. (See sample)

b. Sent press releases and photos with written captions to the editors of approximately twenty area newspapers.


a. Wrote, edited and made copies of flyers announcing the Open House. Two hundred of the one-page flyers were copied onto bright, assorted-colored paper. The flyers were distributed by the Youth Group. About a week and a half before the event, the young people went door-to-door to immediate neighbors of the parish, and placed some with local merchants.

b. Prepared two hundred booklets of the Thanksgiving Service. These service books were placed in the pews of the church just before the Open House began.

c. Prepared an Open House brochure. A picture of Holy Resurrection Church was scanned electronically into the computer and printed out on the brochure.

The brochure was first written in order to invite people to the Open House. It described the program, the parish, the parish’s history and the hours of services. Five hundred copies of this edition were printed and inserted in the weekly parish bulletin for two weeks prior to the Open House. Extra copies were placed at the candle desk, and some were distributed with the flyers in the neighborhood.

The brochure was then rewritten and made into a “Welcome” brochure for the Open House, describing “Today’s Events.” The brochure included an insert page that had the outlines of the saints on the Bicentennial icon. The saints were numbered and named on those outlines. A full-color print of the Bicentennial icon was also included in the booklet. These items were distributed to the people as they entered the church.


Prepared placards. These placards were 8.5” x 11” sheets of paper, mounted on a foam core, on which were printed explanations of the themes of the stain glass windows (depicting the twelve major feast days of the Church) in Holy Resurrection Church. Once prepared, these placards were put up next to each window so that visitors could take a walking tour around the church’s interior, read the placards, and thereby understand what they were viewing.


a. Wrote letters of invitation, addressing three main audiences:

1. The mayor and civic leaders
2. Neighboring churches
3. The scout masters, den mothers, and troops of the boys receiving the awards.

The flyers mentioned above were added to the letters going out to the neighboring churches. We requested that the recipients of the letters pass the information on to their parishioners.

b. Kept track of the responses to the invitations, and counted the number of people actually in attendance.


Rehearsed and sang the hymn “A New Commandment.” Their director was included as a member of the committee for the event.


Researched the history of Orthodoxy in North America, the meaning of icons, their place and purpose in the church, and the lives of the saints on the Bicentennial icon.

These two persons then developed a presentation that was subsequently edited by the parish priest. (Useful book: Portrait of American Saints, by Father George Gray and Jan Bear, 1994, available from St. Nicholas Church, 2210 SW Dolph Crt., Portland, OR, 97219. Price $6, including sh/h. Make check to: Diocese of the West.).


a. Solicited cookies, beverages, etc. approximately two weeks prior to the event.

b. Set up tables and prepared refreshments after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning. The tablecloths, flowers, plates and napkins were all color-coordinated to give a more pleasing look for the visitors. (Do not leave this task for the last minute.)

c. Requested and organized volunteers to help during the refreshment hour and to clean up afterwards.


Sang the responses to the Service of Thanksgiving. A rehearsal was held after the Divine Liturgy the Sunday prior to the Sunday of the Open House, specifically to go over the troparia for the new Saints.


1) Choose committee members with special skills that help in their particular task, e.g. we had a professional proof reader, a computer specialist, an artist.

2) Include a youth group representative if you want the help of the youth group.

3) Have short committee meetings and only hold them when necessary. Have the meetings after church services, when possible, so that people will not have to make special trips during the week.

4) Set deadlines for work to be done, especially the press releases. Call the newspapers for submission approval and to know their publications deadlines. Allow plenty of time if editing will be done by a person other than the writer.

5) Start the first meeting of the full organizational committee with a definite outline of the work to be done and the areas to be covered. Such a concrete outline helps to get the ball rolling.

Bicentennial icons and gift items can be purchased from the Orthodox Christian Publications Center, PO Box 588, Wayne, NJ, 07474, (201) 694-5782, fax: (201) 305-1478.

For more information about donating Orthodox books to public libraries, see Resource Handbook articles, “Operation Library,” by K. & S. Sivulich, “A Follow-Up To Operation Library” by K. Sivulich, and “Orthodox Christian Library Outreach,” By L. Westerberg, in Volume I, under Witness and Mission.


April 4, 1994 Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church
FOR IMMEDIATE 285 French Hill Road
RELEASE Wayne, NJ 07470
Contact: Fr. Paul Kucynda
(201) 696-6572

Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Wayne is inviting the general public to attend an open house on Sunday, April 10, at 4:00pm. The open house will celebrate two very important milestones: the 200th anniversary of Orthodox Christianity in North America and the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Holy Resurrection Church as a parish community.

Orthodox Christianity in North America traces its origins to 1794, when eight Russian Orthodox missionaries arrived in Alaska. Their work, coupled with the arrival of thousands of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean during the early part of this century, contributed to the growth and establishment of the Orthodox Church in America as a major faith which today numbers more than 6 million.

The Orthodox Church in America is made up of Alaskan Aleut, Eskimo and Tlingit Indians, and descendents of diverse ethnic groups from Greece, Lebanon, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Albania, and Bulgaria. Orthodoxy in recent years has been attracting Americans of all backgrounds. Interestingly, a large percentage of the bishops and clergy are adult converts.

The open house will be an opportunity for interested people of all religions in the greater Wayne area to learn about the oldest expression of the Christian faith in the world.

The April 10th event will include a service of thanksgiving, a presentation of scouting awards to children of the parish, and the recognition of the parish historian for her thirty years of service. It will also include a brief explanation of Orthodox Christianity on this continent, and its specially commissioned Bicentennial Icon depicting a panorama of North American saints, followed by a fellowship hour with refreshments. All guests will receive a print of the commemorative icon.

Holy Resurrection Parish is located at 285 French Hill Road, Wayne. For more information or for direction to the church call the parish rectory at 696-6572.


April 4, 1994 Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church
FOR IMMEDIATE 285 French Hill Road
RELEASE Wayne, NJ 07470
Contact: Fr. Paul Kucynda
(201) 696-6572

Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, 285 French Hill Road, Wayne, is cordially inviting the general public to attend an open house on Sunday, April 10th, at 4:00pm. The open house will celebrate 200 years of Orthodox Christianity in North America and the 30th anniversary of the founding of Holy Resurrection Church. The event will include a service of thanksgiving, a brief historical explanation of Orthodox Christianity on this continent and its specially commissioned bicentennial icon depicting a panorama of North American saints, followed by a fellowship hour with refreshments. All guests will receive a print of the commemorative icon. For more information or for directions to the church, call the rectory at 696-6572.

Jennifer Moros works as a financial analyst and is a member of the Holy Resurrection Parish, Wayne, NJ