“For you know how generous our Lord Jesus Christ has been:
he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich.”
(2 Corinthians 8:9)
The tradition of giving, building and supporting has a long history in our Church, and the ethos of giving and supporting is deeply ingrained in our cultural fabric. Our Cathedral community has demonstrated over a century–long tradition of outstanding giving – both to the church and to those in need. During the Great Depression, the Chicago Tribune reported that only two buildings were being built in the city of Chicago: a Post Office built by the Federal Government, and the Serbian Orthodox Church on Schiller Street built by the people of our community. As historical circumstances presented various challenges, our community responded with generosity and decisiveness. Whether by sending soldiers from our community back to fight in WWI – with the help of Circle of Serbian Sisters; receiving displaced persons after WWII; or helping during the wars of the 1990s – our people always found it in their hearts to give. During the fifteen years of my service at our Cathedral, I witnessed many outstanding acts of kindness, giving and donating, and inspiring acts of love.
A few years ago, a parishioner of mine walked into my office and asked to forward some funds through the church to Serbia in order to help a family of two, a father and daughter. They were Serbs from Kosovo. The mother had died of illness while the other child (a girl) was killed during the Kosovo conflict. The daughter was helping our parishioner on his property to pick plums and in one of their conversations told him that she really liked computers. He decided that he would buy her a computer, and that same afternoon took her to took her to a computer store and presented her. To his surprise, she started pushing back and declining the gift. He insisted and bought the computer. They drove back to her residence but once they arrived he realized that she and her father lived in the hay loft and had no electricity. Hence she could not really use the computer, but was too ashamed to tell him the whole story. Eventually, our parishioner decided to buy and gift them a property, a house and some land, in central Serbia. A remarkable example!
Endowment funds would serve to institutionalize and memorialize similar acts of selfless love and kindness. They provide a very meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one by establishing a fund in his or her name, and teaches other by such examples on how to give. Furthermore, they enable the giver(s) to support and improve programs or ministries of their choice and conviction. Additionally, the funds serve as an incentive to donors from any geographic location to contribute in honor of a person in whose name the fund is established. These funds give a certain financial stability and provide a meaningful financial reserve, since the principal amount remains untouched forever. They enable church leadership to do meaningful budgeting and financial planning. For all these reasons, and many more, on behalf of our clergy and community, I invite you to support and participate in our endowment program.
In Christ, V. Rev. Darko Spasojević, PhD