St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Merrick, New York
General Assembly Minutes
Sunday, November 20, 2011

41 Members Present

I. Opening Prayer: The President of the Parish Council, Mr. Peter Skenderis, called the General Assembly to order at 11:45 am. Father Nikiforos offered the opening prayer.

II. Selection of the Chairperson: Mr. Skenderis opened the floor for nominations for a Chairperson of the Assembly. Mr. Peter Louca nominated Mr. Kostas Tsakos as chairperson, seconded by Mrs. Theoni Anagnostou, Mr. Tsakos accepted.

III. Selection of Secretary: The Chairperson, Mr. Kostas Tsakos, opened the floor for nominations for a secretary. Mr. Peter Skenderis nominated Mrs. Theoni Anagnostou, seconded by Mr. Kostas Tsakos, Mrs. Anagnostou accepted.

IV. Reading of the Minutes: The minutes from the June 2, 2011 General Assembly were read in English. The chairman, Mr. Tsakos, asked for any corrections in the minutes and none were made. A motion to accept the minutes in English was made by Mr. Thomas Zervas seconded by Mr. Athanasios Pragias. The minutes in English were passed. A motion to forego the reading of the minutes in Greek was made by Connie Fountas seconded by Mr. Thomas Zervas. The motion passed unanimously.

V. Pastor’s Presentation: Father Nikiforos gave his presentation from the pulpit during liturgy in an effort to save time, and Father Nikiforos had a baptism sacrament to perform at 1:00 pm. He updated everyone on all the services and events since the last General Assembly Meeting in May, 2011. He gave an update on stewardship (listed below). He commended on the excellent work of Mrs. Irene Georgiou and Mrs. Georgia Pavlou in the office. He is extremely happy with the performance of our chanters and he welcomed Yiannis Spanos, a young, extremely talented and knowledgeable Byzantine chanter. He also urged all to visit our website, which contains a great wealth of information, theological instruction, Parish news and other significant articles on the progress of our Community.

Father Nikiforos mentioned that we must all work together for our Community Center. He stated that a Community Center is needed because our Community is growing and we need space in the near future for our children. Statistics indicate that in the year 2011 we had 42 baptisms. In 2006, we had 41 baptisms, which is reflected in this year’s Greek School K class registration, with 39 students enrolled (two children were baptized here but reside out of State). Since then, we have had 233 baptisms, which indicates that in the next 5 years, Greek School and Church School enrollment will increase to reachmore than 200-250 students subtracting the graduating classes). The most optimistic report would indicate that with a Community Center in place, our School attendance can reach even 300 students. Added benefits will be the growth of youth programs, the direct participation of more families into the Church ministries and the geometric increase of Church attendance, membership and stewardship. The Community Center is a necessity, not a luxury; we are accountable to God and to all future generations if we do not make every possible effort to erect this structure in the near future.

In the last year, we also had 6 new-to-the-faith Orthodox adults join our Church, 15 weddings and unfortunately, 16 funerals. All Sunday Church services were attended well, we have received the services of an amazing and extremely talented young Chanter and the spiritual benefit of participating in religious services is supreme. Many thanks to all Parishioners who volunteer for the Festivals, the Picnics, the Luncheons, the maintenance and the beautification of our Church and Schools. We are also indebted to our supporters and donors for all events and charities. This year, we celebrated the 50th years anniversary since the inception of the Parish, with renowned artists Alkistis Protopsalti and Stefanos Korkolis performing; the Journal will also be presented soon, as well as the Calendar (many thanks to President Peter Skenderis who covers the printing expenses, along with his many other generous donations) and the Christmas Card. Father wished all a festive and fulfilling Advent season.

VI. President’s Report: The Parish Council President, Mr. Peter Skenderis spoke about the following:

Festival: Mr. Skenderis thanked everyone for a very successful festival. He thanked the community for their donations, time, and energy and he hopes the tradition continues in the years to come.
Panaghia’s: The service, once again this year was beautiful and spiritual and Mr. Skenderis thanked all those who donated and made the event very joyous.

Mr. Skenderis reported that the Greek School, Sunday School, Golden Years, YAL, GOYA, JOY and Little Angels registration is complete and everyone has started the new year smoothly.

Mr. Skenderis reported that Archbishop Demetrios joined our parish for liturgy and it was a beautiful service. Metropolitan-elect Savas joined us for the Feast Day of St. Demetrios as his last visit before assuming his new responsibilities as Metropolitan of Pittsburg this coming December 2011.

Mr. Skenderis reported that our annual dinner dance celebrating the 50th anniversary of our Community featuring performances by Protopsalti and Korkolis
was not as successful as we anticipated. The event was beautiful and very well planned, but did not have a strong turnout from the community.

The annual Journal is being prepared and the President urged all to place their ads in as soon as possible. The annual Christmas Card and Community Calendar is soon approaching and the President asked that everyone please support both by contacting a Parish Council member or the church office.

Finally, the president wished everyone a happy and healthy upcoming holiday season.

VII. Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Peter Skenderis, provided the report that was prepared by the treasurer, Mr. Vasili Messados, annexed hereto as Schedule “A”. The President asked if there were any questions, and there were none. Mr. Peter Louca made a motion to accept the financial report, seconded by Mr. Andreas
Pavlou. The motion passed.

Audit Committee: Mr. Peter Matthews and Mr. Tom Arianas reported that the audit was done in May 2011 and everything is okay and in perfect order. They recommended the acquiring of a CPA, who will also be in position to offer a professional opinion on these matters.

Budget Approval: The budget remained the same for 2012 as it was in 2011. Mr. Tom Arianas made a motion to accept the Budget for 2012, seconded by Mr. Thomas Zervas. The motion passed.
Stewardship Report: Father mentioned that Stewardship last year brought in $128,304 with 320 families supporting our Church. Many thanks to our stewards and supporters; there are still some families that choose to enjoy the blessings of our Church without contributing to its growth and sustaining.
Please, reach out to them and invite them to become active and engaged Parishioners. We all love our Community and want the best for Saint Demetrios
and for the future of our faith. On average, each family contributes $401 for the stewardship program, which is certainly better than other years, but still
lacking compared to what other denominations and faiths give.
VIII. Old Business:

1. Community Center: Chairperson, Mr. Demitri Fillas, met with the architect, and they have proceeded with the new amended plans for a smaller Community Center building and they are ready to submit the plans to the building department for a permit/license and variance.

2. Archdiocese Commitment: The St. Demetrios Community has been going back and forth to the Archdiocese regarding the Archdiocese commitment. $66,000.00-$68,000.00 is the current commitment the Archdiocese is requesting we are making payments of approximately $4,300.00 per month averaging approximately $53,000.00 annually, which is well above and beyond what we can afford. At the last meeting with the Archdiocese, Father Nikiforos, the President, Mr. Skenderis, and Mr. Fillas attempted to find a resolution. The Archdiocese suggested that if we pay a lump sum of $16,000.00 by March, we will wipe the slate clean for payments in arrears. Our community has also requested the 2012 commitment amount. The Archdiocese said they would respond within one week and they have not responded and we are still awaiting a response. A parishioner at the General Assembly meeting asked how the Archdiocese comes up with the commitment amount. The President responded that the Archdiocese requests a list of expenses from each community. The expenses tallied together and a percentage is figured to cover their expenses. Last year we gave approximately $60,000 and this year the best we can do is around $50,000, since funds in our accounts are depleted. Ten years ago, we used to pay $18,000, which increased immediately to $36,000 and then even to $70,000. The $68,000 was announced to us at the last meeting and at the current rate, we will always be in debt as far as the Archdiocese commitment is concerned, since there is not possible way to cover such a huge expense. A Parishioner mentioned what Hicksville, Whitestone and Babylon pay and how come their amount is so much lower than ours. The president replied that he is new to this process and he is awaiting a response since no reply has been sent to his last two e-mails. We are all volunteers, we really want to support our beloved Archdiocese, but we need to also ensure that our expenses are covered as well, because it takes great effort to raise funds and considering the maintenance issues in the Church, the heating for the winter and all other expenses, we simply do not have enough…

IX. New Business:
1. Festival 2012: The President, Mr. Skenderis asked for volunteers to chair the upcoming festival. No one volunteered. The President, Mr. Skenderis offered to
co-chair with someone. Mr. Kostas Tsakos and Mr. Peter Louca offered to co-chair with the President and to form separate committees and to break up the festival duties.


X. Committees Selection:

1. Selection of the Audit Committee: Mr. Gus Koumourdas nominated Mr. Tom Arianas, Mr. Peter Matthews and Mr. John Katsigiorgis to the Audit Committee, seconded by Mr. Dino Cochikas. All accepted.

2. Selection of the Election Committee: Mr. Demetris Fillas nominated Mr. Jim Golding, Mr. Bill Gatsiadis, and Mr. John Mallios to the Election Committee seconded by Mr. Tom Arianas. All accepted.
3. Nominations for the Parish Council: There are 9 positions available for election. This includes the seven seats up for election and two additional resignations.

Nominations are as follow:
Mr. Andreas Pavlou nominated by Mr. Peter Louca, seconded by Mrs. Irene Matthews;

Mr. Dinitrios Bozirikidis nominated by Mr. Athanasios Pragias seconded by Mrs. Theoni Anagnostou;

Mrs. Theoni Anagnostou nominated by Mr. Athanasios Pragias seconded by Mr. Peter Louca;

Mr. Gus Koumourdas nominated by Mr. Nick Stathopoulos seconded by Mr. Demetris Fillas;

Mr. Jim Kardiasmenos nominated by Mrs. Theoni Anagnostou seconded by Mr. AthanasiosPragias;

Mr. George Folias nominated by Mr. Demetris Fillas seconded by Mr. Thomas Zervas;

Mr. Anthony Michaels nominated by Mr. Demetris FIllas seconded by Mr. Peter Louca.

All elections are to take place on Sunday, December 11, 2011 after church. All absentee ballots are due by December 9, 2011.

Mr. Peter Louca made a motion to accept the nominations, seconded by Mr. Nick Stathopoulos. The motion passed unanimously.

Philoptochos: There were nominations to fill the vacant executive board seats of St. Barbara’s Philoptochos:

President: Mrs. Patty Lafkas was nominated by Mr. Demetris Fillas, seconded by Mr. Gus Lafkas;

Vice President: Mrs. Stephany Margaronis was nominated by Mr. Peter Skenderis, seconded by Mrs. Irene Matthews;
Treasurer: Mrs. Barbara Skenderis was nominated by Mrs. Theoni Anagnostou seconded by Mr. Peter Matthews; and, Secretary: Mrs. Silvana Karatensislis was nominated by Mrs. Patty Lafkas and seconded by Mrs. Barbara Skenderis.
Mr. Tom Arianas made a motion to accept the nominations, seconded by Mr. Thomas Zervas. The motion passed unanimously and the new board will be in effect as of January 1, 2012.
Mr. Gus Koumourdas made a motion to end the meeting at 12:35 pm seconded by Mr. Peter Matthews.

XI. Closing Prayer: Father Nikiforos offered the closing prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Theoni Anagnostou, General Assembly Secretary