By George Schira
SOUTHGATE, Mich. – Three new memberships from the Metropolis of Detroit were added to Leadership 100 in fall 2015 with the decision of St. George Church, to join at its Parish General Assembly on Nov. 15.
Parish council President Stavros Dionyssopoulos and Fr. Anthony Cook (center) present check for Leadership 100 membership to Theodore Zampetis, Leadership 100 Membership Chairman. Others in front row (from left) Parish Council members Tom Volzikos and Bill Colovos, Leadership 100 Members Sam Galanis and Lazaros Kircos and (far right) parish council member Kosta Grias. Back row (from left) parish council members Mike Liakos, Chris Kontos, Nicholas Minton, George Kotronis, Pete Makarounas (Photo: Leadership 100).
The total membership is now 980, close to the goal of 1,000 members by the Annual Conference in February, according to Theodore K. Zampetis, Leadership 100 Membership Committee chairman.
Fr. Anthony J. Cook, St. George’s priest, spoke passionately about the scholarship assistance Leadership 100 had provided to him and to his brother, Fr. Timothy Cook, while they were seminarians at Holy Cross School of Theology. Fr. Timothy was recently ordained and began his first assignment serving at St Demetrios Church in Saginaw, Mich., a year ago.
“Without Leadership 100, I doubt that I could have become a priest,” said Fr. Anthony. “I felt a calling to the priesthood, but I didn’t know how I would pay for it. I fear that without the help of Leadership 100, I would not have made it. I am grateful for the help that Leadership 100 gave to my brother and to me, and I’m very happy that we are now helping others become priests through the scholarships given by Leadership100”.
Zampetis was on hand to accept the initial membership payment. “Membership in Leadership 100 isn’t just for individuals” Ted noted. “There are now five parishes across the country that are members of Leadership 100. We pray that others will join as well to help fund the future of our faith.” In September, the Zampetis Family Foundation enrolled Metropolitan Nicholas of the Metropolis of Detroit as a member of Leadership 100. “His Eminence was almost speechless as the emotionalism of his gratitude welled up inside him,” said Zampetis.
“His Eminence is a strong believer in the power of Leadership 100 to support our faith”.
A third recent new membership from the Metropolis of Detroit was that of Christopher and Katherine Rongos of Holy Trinity Church, Fort Wayne, Ind., earlier in November. The couple, business owners, who joined after hearing more about Leadership 100 and the ministries it supports at the Metropolis of Detroit Clergy-Laity Conference in October, said they believed that joining Leadership 100 was an excellent way to support the Orthodox Faith and help others for years to come.
In joining Leadership 100, St. George Church chose to honor the memories of Fr. Henry and Pani (Carpatho-Russian for wife of priest) Irene Yakima, and Robert and Betty Carlton. The Yakimas and Carltons were significant benefactors to the parish, with large bequests made through their estates and the parish felt it was appropriate to honor their memory in this lasting way. Fr. Henry Yakima, who once served as assistant priest at St. George, felt strongly about helping HCHC as the institution that produces our priests and the Yakima’s son, John, believes that his parents would also want to support the St Nicholas Greek Orthodox National Shrine, both of which are strongly supported by Leadership 100.
The Carltons had previously funded a full scholarship for a seminarian at Hellenic College/Holy Cross. At the time of joining L100, St George had three individual members – the late Dr. William Athens, who passed away on Nov. 30, 2015, Sam Galanis, and Lazaros Kircos.
Article originally published in the Orthodox Observer issue of January 2016 under the title "Michigan Parish Joins L-100" and reproduced by permission.