Adhering to our Orthodox Christian roots, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Little Rock continually searches for ways to better serve the needs of the Annunciation Church family as well as the wider community. To that end, this parish is always striving to improve and expand its ministries as well as pursue ever-broader ways to share the love of Jesus Christ and His Church to everyone. Because ministry is a gift from God manifested with and through His people, all of our ministries depend on faithful parishioners to answer God’s calling. An Orthodox Christian may not be able to do everything, but every Orthodox Christian member of the Annunciation should do something to the glory of God at the Annunciation.
JOY - (Junior Orthodox Youth):
The Annunciation JOY ministry is designed to provide our parish’s young people, in an age-appropriate way, the opportunity to learn more about themselves and their Orthodox Christian faith as well as expand the bonds of love and fellowship within the safety of the Church. Girded in the guidelines of the Archdiocese, the Annunciation JOY centers around four basic elements: Liturgy, Worship, Service and Witness. These elements are the cornerstone of all JOY activities whether religious, athletic or social. This youth ministry under the direction of Fr. Nicholas along with the assistance of advisors and parents, plan a wide variety of age-appropriate activities and projects throughout the year to enrich and edify the life of the Annunciation’s young people.
Annunciation Ladies Philoptochos (Friends of the Poor):
An organization of Orthodox Christian women at the Annunciation in Little Rock dedicated to witnessing to Christ by helping the parish as well as groups in need. The Philoptochos works to aid the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the handicapped and the victims of disasters through fundraising efforts. It also works to promote the charitable, benevolent and philanthropic purposes of the Annunciation as well as to preserve and perpetuate Orthodox Christian concepts and the Orthodox Christian Family, and through them, to promote the Orthodox Faith. Much of the philanthropic and benevolent work associated with the this parish falls under the umbrella of our Philoptochos chapter. The local chapter of the Philoptochos is part of the National Philoptochos Society which today is one of the largest Christian association of women in the United States. From scholarships to family assistance, parish beautification and rejuvenation projects, outreach and international philanthropy, the Annunciation Ladies Philoptochos Society sets the standard.
Orthodox Bible Study Class:
An educational program intended to broaden our understanding of the Orthodox Christian faith and life. Classes are intended for young and old, those considering converting and life-long parishioners alike. Through the faithful study of Scripture, Religious Topics and open discussion, the men and women of the Annunciation can enhance their understanding of their Orthodox Christian faith. Typically the class utilizes a portion from Scriptures as the basis of study, but questions and discussions are not limited, but are as broad as those who are in attendance want it to be.
Parents of JOY-age children are encouraged to make this youth ministry a priority within the home and enable as much as possible their children to be active members of JOY. Finally, this critical ministry of the Annunciation always needs the parents of the children in JOY to be willing to offer their time and talent to this endeavor. One need only see Fr. Nicholas or an advisor to help make the Annunciation JOY soar to the glory of God.
This ministry is open to boys and girls between the ages 7 and to 10 whose parents are members of the Annunciation. In order to keep the lines of communication open and current, parents are asked to register their children for JOY annually.
GOYA – (Greek Orthodox Youth of America):
The Annunciation GOYA ministry is designed to provide our parish’s young people an atmosphere whereby they may learn more about themselves and their Orthodox Christian faith as well as expand the bonds of love and fellowship in the safety of the Church. Girded in the guidelines of the Archdiocese, the Annunciation GOYA centers around four basic elements: Liturgy, Worship, Service and Witness. These elements are the cornerstone of all GOYA activities whether religious, athletic or social. This youth ministry under the direction of Fr. Nicholas, along with the assistance of advisors and parents, plans a wide variety of activities and projects throughout the year to enrich and edify the life of the Annunciation’s young people. While participation in the social and athletic activities of GOYA is optional, for the sake of their spiritual growth and development, GOYA members are required to attend two annual retreats (one in the Fall and one on Good Friday) as well as to participate in the charitable projects that the Annunciation GOYA organizes.
Parents of GOYA members are encouraged to make this youth ministry a priority within the home and enable their young people to be active members. Finally, this critical ministry of the Annunciation always needs the parents of GOYAns to offer their time and talent to this endeavor. One need only see Fr. Nicholas or an advisor to help make the Annunciation GOYA soar to the glory of God.
Open to all Annunciation youth between the ages of 13 and 18 whose parents are members of the Annunciation. Active membership in the Annunciation GOYA ministry whereby a young person at the very least attends the retreats and participates in the charitable projects of the GOYA is one of the qualifying requirements for the Annunciation Scholarship. In order to keep the lines of communication open and current, young people must register for GOYA annually.
Sunday School Program for Youth:
Students are instructed in the teachings and traditions of Orthodox Christianity at an age appropriate level. This vital ministry seeks to cultivate within our children an Orthodox Christian way of life along with Orthodox Christian spirituality. The classes offer opportunities for learning that supplement and complement the Holy Wisdom being offered in the Divine Liturgy. Each class follows a particular curriculum and participates in special projects that enhance the learning process. Ultimately, the Annunciation Sunday School program seeks to educate the youth and provide opportunities for Christian growth rooted in the principles and teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church. The success of the Annunciation’s Sunday School program hinges on parents enrolling their children in the program and striving to further explore the lessons that takes place in the classroom within the home. Furthermore, the Sunday School program is always keenly interested in committed parishioners willing to offer a portion of their time and talent to help teach our youth the religious, moral and holy principles of the Orthodox Christian way of life.
Pre-school through high school classes begin in September and conclude in May. Faithful Sunday School attendance is a requirement of the Annunciation Scholarship. Faculty and staff meet regularly.
The Annunciation Scholarship Foundation:
The Annunciation Scholarship Foundation raises funds and maintains a spiritual scholarship for all the youth of the parish who are actively involved in the life of the Church by attending Sunday School, participating in the GOYA ministry and maintain appropriate academic grades who plan to attend college or other higher education. The Scholarship is made possible because of the Christian love of our parishioners for its youth with the hope of perpetuating into adulthood the young people’s active participation in the life of the Orthodox Church.
All Parish members in good standing are members of the Foundation. Members of the Scholarship Foundation Board are either elected or appointed as a function of their respective position such as the Parish Council, Sunday School director, etc.
The Annunciation Choir:
The Choir is an integral facet of the Orthodox worship service. Service in the Choir is yet another very important way for Orthodox Christian lay men and women of all ages to offer a critical form of stewardship to the Annunciation in the form of music. The Choir provides the Church with the important service of liturgical musical accompaniment as it leads the Annunciation family in the singing of ancient hymns and praises to Almighty God as well as enhances the overall beauty of the Liturgical services of the Church. It is anticipated that when a person joins the choir, he or she will attend Divine Liturgy promptly and regularly, and whenever possible, all of the other services that are celebrated at the Annunciation. The Choir is open to the men and women of the Annunciation family of all ages who as a part of their stewardship to the Annunciation are willing to help the entire parish sing praises to God.
Young Adult League:
The Young Adult League is a ministry of the Annunciation created to encourage fellowship and help Young Adults grow mentally, socially and spiritually. Members both single and married range from 18 to 35 years old. The mission of Young Adult Ministry is to cultivate and educate young adults, building the bonds of friendship, leading them to the fullness of the Faith and likeness of God by integrating young adults into the life of the Church, enabling them to become active members of the body of Christ.
A ministry geared to our more experienced members and typically retired members of our Church family to meet, explore and enjoy fellowship with one another. The senior members of our parish are welcomed to participate. There is a gathering and or outing once a month. Growing in Christ together, praying together, supporting one another and exploring interesting topics and places throughout Arkansas, we build bonds of love and stay forever young.
Friends of St. Stephen:
It is the mission of the parish to better support one another and help extend God's mercies when an illness arises within our Church family. With St. Stephen being one of the first saints to specialize in this kind of care, we hope to emulate his special ministry within our Church family. The Friends of St. Stephen are a group of parishioners that help coordinate prayer, visits and even perhaps meals when illness strikes someone in our Church family. All together we strive to find ways to be instruments of the Lord's healing touch!
International Greek Food Festival:
An annual festival of food, cultural and fellowship, that serves as a major fundraising and outreach endeavor of the Annunciation. The annual Festival is not only an important fundraiser for the parish to meet needs and pursue lofty goals, but every year the parish selects a number of local Little Rock charities that will be sponsored by the Festival. Parishioners of all ages who want to serve the needs of the parish as well as positively impact the local community work on this major endeavor. For more than thirty years, our Church family’s annual International Greek Food Festival has not only strengthened the parish, but has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Little Rock charities. By every definition, the Festival is a labor of love that shines when our Church family members commit a portion of their time and talent to this Church-wide endeavor.
Annual Pastry Baking Project:
In striving to strengthen and expand the financial abilities of the parish as well as enjoy fellowship together as part of a team of merry “bakers,” our parish is blessed to uses its culinary talents in fruitful ways. Every year volunteers come together at the parish to carefully prepare and bake handmade ethnic pastries. Working together in this endeavor, our Church family has the opportunity to learn how to bake some wonderful traditional delicacies, enjoy a host Christian fellowship and use these talents (and pastries) to help the work of the parish and local charities during the annual International Greek Food Festival.
Orthodoxy 101 Class:
Novices & experienced alike are invited to explore more of our Orthodox Christian faith. Discovering books and topics together in order to understand and appreciate the Orthodox Christian faith. This regular gathering is a nice opportunity to meet, discuss and enjoy fellowship while delving into the understanding, practice and experience of Orthodox Christianity.
Orthodox Christian Catechism Program:
This program is conducted on an individual basis by appointment, for those who are considering becoming Orthodox Christians and a part of the Annunciation Church family. Those interested in learning more about the Orthodox Church and perhaps converting, should contact the Church Office to schedule a series of meetings with Fr. Nicholas in order to initiate the process.
Luncheon Discussions on the Faith:
This educational activity is scheduled throughout the course of the year to provide parishioners of all ages to discuss and explore the Orthodox Christian Faith with Fr. Nicholas. The Luncheon Discussion take place on Sundays after the Divine Liturgy and are desigined to be opportunities for fellowship and exploration of the faith. During set periods of time, an opportunity is provided for people to write down inquiries about any aspect of the faith, morality, etc. that they have always wanted to have an opportunity to ask and have a priest answer. This provides people with an opportunity to better get to know one another by enjoying lunch together as well as discover a little bit more about the Orthodox Christian faith.