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Question 251

Hello Father. Hope you are well. I was just wondering why our church doesn't do more to help the local community and those less fortunate. I go to a local playgroup at a church and the church does so much for the local community. They arrange a regular food bank, homework club, free advice to those who are struggling, collections for disasters around the world, a playgroup and much more that I can't even remember. The church clearly has limited funds and the priest really does work hard to make the little money last. The community are all connected to the church in some way. I think it's amazing. Why can't we do the same? We need to reach out to people more than ever as times are tough. What do you think Father?    


Answer to Question 251


I don’t know if and how the Orthodox Church in England is involved with community work, but I do know of what we do in Limassol. Here the Church runs a few food kitchens. We have one in my parish of Apostolos Andreas in Mesa Geitonia. The food is prepared in the kitchens of the Metropolis church (Katholiki) and delivered to the parishes who participate in the effort of providing food to those in need. The church also had food stores that provide not only food, but many items like washing up liquid and powder, shampoos, soap, nappies etc.  The church also provides sandwiches and drinks for school children whose families can’t afford to give them money to buy something from the school canteen.  The Church also gives out a small but weekly sum to hundreds of people who are truly in need. Of course this is not done arbitrarily, they are screened before they receive this help, because there are also many drug addicts who would take advantage of this help. The church also gives yearly grants to university students whose families have economical difficulties. Also the church provides free lunches for students studying at the Limassol university.  The church runs many youth clubs and offers high school students free tuition with extra curriculum lessons. 


Each parish also has a Woman’s Committee whose main concern is to raise money for charity works. Each year at Christmas and Easter, the money is divided to many families in need to help out with extra costs of the feasts. The list is endless and that is without even mentioning the spiritual and emotional support the church gives. Thus the church is very active in providing for the community and especially the poor. And she does this with the money she doesn’t have. 


A lot of people think that the church just takes and takes without giving back, but that is because the church doesn’t advertise her good works. The church works in silence fulfilling what Christ said: “when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” (Matth. 6:3)