St. Louis, MO
2009 Annual Banquet
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church
October 18, 2009
Sponsored by the St. Louis Metropolitan IOCC Committee
Our 2009 seventh annual IOCC Banquet was the most successful ever. We managed to raise over $46,000 from 185 guests and 122 generous donors. The banquet was held Sunday, October 18 at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, hosted by Father Joseph Strzeleski, beginning with vespers with 13 clergy from the metropolitan area participating. It was an inspiring beginning to a beautiful evening. The tables were decorated with fall flowers on a backdrop of maroon and gold linens. The Becari orchestra added to the ambience of the evening with lovely Mediterranean melodies.
We were blessed with two special speakers. His Grace Bishop Peter Loukianoff, Bishop of Cleveland and Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid America Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, eloquently spoke on "The Struggle of Daily Life in the Holy Land." He emphasized the diminishing Christian minorities in Jerusalem with the situation currently getting worse. Our second speaker, Dirk Lackovich-Van Gorp, a staff member of IOCC, recently completed a two-year assignment as Country Representative for the IOCC program in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. Dirk not only outlined the huge scope of IOCC's mission but also reminded us of the spiritual component behind our humanitarian efforts. We are blessed to have him working on our behalf.
Co-chair Mary Angelides presented the speakers with a picture of the Gateway Arch by local artist John Pils. It was to be reminder of the Arch's historic meaning as a gateway to the West and the promise of a new life. Hopefully, in the days to come, when they look at the Arch, they will think of the promise of a new life and hope they are giving to the many people who will benefit from their work and that they will remember the generosity and love of their St. Louis family.
John Surgant from our committee did a great job as master of ceremonies. A special thanks to our banquet co-chairs Greg and Janice Kanteres; Kathrine Sharos on the publicity and program; Malon Argint on reservations; Teddy Hart as treasurer. But none of this would have happened without the tireless efforts of our President, Christina Lemakis, whose hand print was on every phase. Nor could we accomplish this very important work without the guidance of Fr. Achilles Karathanos, our Spiritual Advisor. Many blessings and thank you to the entire committee and the members of the Assumption Church.