On Being Elected President of the National Sr ACRY
I was elected President of the National ACRY at the 71st National Convention in Binghamton, NY this past Labor Day weekend. As my predecessors mentioned in their inaugural addresses, the full weight of what had occurred did not immediately set in until much later. It was not until I sent out my first email to the newly elected board that I realized how much responsibility had been entrusted to me. With your cooperation, I intend to continue on the path set before us, growing our God-saved organization to the levels of membership and attendance that the ACRY experienced decades ago.
The ACRY has done a lot of good over the years. This past year, our Advent Mission Project helped raise funds for mission parishes in the Diocese that do not have the same resources as established churches. This year, our Advent Mission Project will support St. John’s Orthodox Church in Perth Amboy’s Fr Michael Rosco Habitat for Humanity Memorial Building Project. We will join St John’s parish in honoring their former pastor, +Protopresbyter Michael Rosco by building a Habitat for Humanity home in New Orleans. This project was very near and dear to Fr. Rosco, so it was decided that this would be a great way to honor his legacy by completing this task. Not only will we be raising funds to help pay for the construction costs, but we will also be encouraging ACRY members to volunteer to be a part of the construction crew. When the time comes, please be generous in supporting the Advent Mission Project to help the dream become a reality.
Throughout its history, the ACRY has had a huge impact on the life of the Diocese, and its membership. On a personal level, isn’t it fantastic that so many of us can attribute meeting our spouses or our closest friends to the ACRY? I know that I can personally thank the 2010 Convention hosted by our parish in Potomac, MD for meeting my wife. Together, we have one amazing son who made his public debut at the 2014 Convention in Phoenixville, PA. We are so blessed and we have the ACRY to thank for everything that we have together, because without the ACRY, I would never have met my wife, nor would we have such a wonderful son who is truly a gift from God.
Because of this and similar personal experiences throughout our organization, I propose we revisit what President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do you for you, but what you can do for your country.” Therefore, let us not ask what the ACRY can do for us, but what we can do for our ACRY.
We have recently witnessed a growing trend in membership, but more can be done. If you have a friend in your church that is not a member, reach out and invite them to your monthly meeting and show them the great things our organization does. If you have family that lives far away, encourage them to either start a chapter or join the At-Large chapter. If our numbers continue to grow, we can spread Christ’s word further and to more people. Also, the more people we have engaged in our mission, the more work we can do to support our Diocesan youth and grow the membership of the Jr. ACRY. The more children we have, the more vibrant the future of our organization and the Diocese will become. As His Grace Bishop Gregory says, we must protect our children and keep them in the Church. Too many of them are lost when they go off to college, but by that point the damage may already be done. If children have a solid foundation within the Church from a young age, it will be harder for the world to take away our children when they grow up. For the sake of our children and our future vitality, please reach out to everyone you know that are not members and show them by your love for our God and our Church why they should join in the good works and fun of the ACRY.
In closing, I look forward to working with our new board in the coming year and we hope to accomplish many great things. I thank you for your confidence and your prayers. Together, we can continue to grow our organization and Diocese. Let us start on the most personal and basic level, by reaching out to others.
Kevin Coffman, National Sr. ACRY President
October 5, 2015