Exhortation of His Grace, Bishop Paul regarding Midwest Family Life initiative
CHICAGO, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — In a letter posted to all rectors, deans and priests-in-charge of the Diocese, His Grace Bishop Paul reviews the history of the Diocesan Midwest Family Life Website since its establishment in January of 2017, and offers suggestions on how the clergy of the Diocese can aid in promoting the website among the faithful. The website is a forum to offer encouragement and advice to families struggling to raise their children in the Orthodox Faith in modern society.
The text of the letter reads as follows.
Letter of His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest
November 20, 2019
Ven. Gregory the Decapolite and St. Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople
To all Rectors, Deans, and Priests-in-Charge in the Diocese of the Midwest
Dear Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers,
Christ is in our midst!
In January of 2017, as part of my encyclical “On Family Life,” I outlined a vision for a website which would “provide resources that detail what kinds of things should be happening in the home in order to provide a positive foundation for Orthodox Christian formation.” This effort has begun to take shape as the Midwest Family Life website (https://midwestfamily.org/) which launched in April 2018.
Through weekly reflections and occasional live-streams, I have been able to connect directly with a small but growing number of families in our diocese who seem to be encouraged to hear their bishop directly address many of the issues affecting them. We have also published a handful of valuable articles from well-respected Orthodox writers. As we continue to grow the content of the site, I am asking you to help spread the word about this resource in your parishes. Please encourage them to read and interact with the content and offer suggestions for the kinds of topics they would like to see addressed.
As you know, there are countless websites, blogs, and social media pages with information about family life, including some that are Orthodox. My hope is to provide some clarity for the faithful of the Midwest Diocese about Orthodox teaching, to encourage discussion and the sharing of ideas, and to give all our families the sense that they are not alone in their struggles. There is much help and there are many struggling alongside them. This project is a new journey for me in uncharted waters, but as we continue to grow and develop, I ask that you share this resource with your flocks.
Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Keep up with the blog yourself. Use it as a resource when talking to parishioners or talking about family issues in sermons, etc.
- If you don’t find it useful as a resource, let me know how the site can be improved/made more useful.
- Include a link to the website (midwestfamily.org) on your parish webpage and weekly bulletins
- Once per year, at the beginning of the school year, send a special e-mail to your parish encouraging them to sign up for the e-mail list. (provide link)
- Announce livestreams to your congregations as they come up. If you send out regular emails to your parish, attach the livestream flyers.
- If you or one of your parishioners are willing and able to contribute a guest article on a topic relevant to family life, please let me know. I want to see more of our clergy and qualified laity contribute to this effort.
Thank you for your attention and consideration. The blessing of the Lord be upon you.
Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest